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How does the skin sense pollution and how it reacts.

We know that air pollution accelerates skin aging and leads to problems like hyper-pigmentation and inflammation. How?

Cells all over the body are constantly adapting and responding to changes in their micro-environment: diet, bacterial flora and whole body metabolism. Then, they make the proteins that are required to do well in the new circumstances. It’s important to know that although our DNA codes for proteins, which proteins are made at each moment is a process tightly regulated.

DNA–>RNA–> Proteins is a pathway that took many decades to elucidate. But how does the cell “decide” which DNA will be transcribed to RNA and which RNA will be translated into proteins?

Figure: transcription factors are one of the ways the cell regulates which proteins will be made and when. By Kelvin13, Wikimedia commons.

Multiple sensors participate in detecting changes in the cellular environment. One of these sensors is AHR, the ligand-activated transcription factor aryl hydrocarbon receptor. AHR is a member of a superfamily of transcription factors, in which a domain senses both endogenous factors (like oxygen concentration or redox potential) and exogenous factors like environmental toxins.  AHR, and other members of the PAS superfamily that are involved in sensing oxygen levels, redox potential and changes in the circadian rhythm, control adaptation to the cellular environment. AHR, modulates biological processes relevant to the development of pathological conditions like inflammation.

In short, your skin can tell when there is pollution in the air and will take the necessary steps to defend you. You may smoke or live in a polluted city and your skin will “survive” somehow, with the aid of transcription factors.  Still, a lot will still happen despite these adaptive responses.

At the biochemical level, lipids, like squalene in the sebum, will oxidize, concentrations of vitamin E and C will decrease, ATP will decrease and proteins will oxidize. What you will see is  hyperpigmentation, wrinkles in your skin and lips, grey hair. We call it aging, and pollution will accelerate it.

What can you do? Help your skin by decimating pollution before it reaches your skin. You will find several products in Skin Actives, not available anywhere else, that contain our precious antioxidant proteins, in a complex we call ROS* BioNet. You can add it to your DIY mixes, or you will find it in finished products. What is it? ROS BioNet, formally ROS Terminator, is an exclusive Skin Actives formulation of antioxidant enzymes, such as thioredoxin and superoxide dismutase, as well as multiple kelp extracts. These antioxidants help reduce free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Add one tube to 4 oz of your favorite base cream or water based formula to supercharge your skincare routine to help fight oxidative stress. It contains Seakelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment, Astaxanthin, Porphyridium Polysaccharide, Fucoxanthin, Glutathione, sh-Polypeptide-77 (Glutaredoxin), sh-Polypeptide-2 (Thioredoxin) and Superoxide Dismutase.

Ready to use Skin Actives products that contain ROS* BioNet include the following: Collagen serum with ROS BioNet, Vitamin A cream, and eye cream.

Who needs Skin Actives ROS* BioNet? Let’s say that unless you live in an unpolluted island in the middle of the ocean, you will need it.

Read more abour ROS* BioNet here and here,  Read about pollution here.




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Frontiers in Environmental Science, 2: 1-11,    DOI=10.3389/fenvs.2014.00011