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How to protect and repair the skin: a new paradigm. ROS* and antioxidants.

Answer: We understand the seriousness of the problem and we face it differently.

The key concept is that the skin is alive and quite capable of doing its job, until it isn’t. What has changed?  The skin ages, or is damaged, or the environment changes and overwhelms the defenses.

Our answer: we replenish the skin’s natural defenses, by carefully following the established antioxidant system already at work in our skin.  We don’t innovate in the sense that we don’t build from scratch, we only refresh, “top-up” the natural order. We can achieve this because we understand how the skin functions:  its anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology.  Amazing scientific advances in the last few decades have made this possible and we have the means.

The problem:

To protect your body, the skin has to withstand a constant bombardment by reactive oxygen species, ROS*, from the outside (delivered to the skin by the environment) and generated within the skin itself, either as a response to incident UV radiation or formed when our (amazing but imperfect) mitochondria respire.

The antioxidant system in our own cells is very complex, as shown in the following figure.  I include it in a large size so that you can appreciate the complexity of the system.  The top part shows what happens in the epidermis, the bottom part describes the events in the dermis. You can see the external  (UV, urban particulate matter, noxious chemicals) and internal (imperfect respiration) factors that contribute ROS* and how they damage the cell and the skin. On the left, the damaged macromolecules: DNA (think mutations and cancer), proteins (wrinkles, pigmentation disorders), lipids (cell death). In black, contributors to ROS*. In blue, the systems capable of disarming ROS*.


Figure 1.  From Rinnerhaler, M., Bischof, J., Streubel, M.K., Trost, A. and Richter, K. (2015) Oxidative Stress in Aging Human Skin. Biomolecules, 5, 545-589. Interplay between different ROS* sources and the anti-oxidative systems in the skin.   This figure shows you that our body has antioxidant systems capable of disarming ROS*. What is not shown here (but is discussed extensively in the paper) is how these defenses can be insufficient to deal with real life, especially in a polluted environment.


And here is a figure that shows you that our bodies may be unable to cope with ROS* as it relates to the situation in the lining of the lungs (there is no equivalent in the literature showing how it is for the skin). I include it here not to scare you but to show how the intrinsic capacity of the body to deal with ROS* can be completely overwhelmed in polluted cities, and it means that people in Pune, Beijing, New Delhi and Indonesia (and many others) are exposed to more ROS* that their lungs (and probably skin) can cope with.

Figure 2.  From Lakey, P. S. J., Berkemeier, T., Tong, H., Arangio, A. M., Lucas, K., Pöschl, U., & Shiraiwa, M. (2016). Chemical exposure-response relationship between air pollutants and reactive oxygen species in the human respiratory tract. Scientific Reports,  6: 32916. . doi:10.1038/srep32916.      Total ROS concentration in the epithelial lining fluid after two hours of inhalation and deposition of ambient PM2.5  (fine particular matter). In panel (C), the green-striped horizontal bar indicates the ROS level characteristic for healthy humans (~100 nmol L−1), and the gray envelope represents the range of aerosol-induced ROS concentrations obtained with the approximate upper and lower limit mass fractions of redox-active components typically observed in ambient PM2.5. Total water-soluble fractions of iron and copper can range from ~5–25% and ~20–60%, respectively, in a wide range of different environments, which are represented by the error bars.1.  Amazon (before recent intentional and intensive destruction by fire and Bolsonaro)  2. Edinburgh 3. Toronto 4. Tokyo 5. Budapest 6. Hong Kong 7. Milan 8. Guangzhou 9. Pune 10. Beijing 11. New Delhi 12. Indonesia.

How come our lungs and skin defenses are insufficient? Can’t our body cope with anything or everything? Of course not, otherwise we would not fall ill and our skin would remain smooth and healthy always.

The Skin Actives  (a very Scientific) approach

The SAS approach is now possible because of the extraordinary advances in biochemistry and molecular biology realized by scientists in the last few decades (HNS was there too, at the bench).

The past

In the very near past (before SAS) the only option was to apply to the skin whatever antioxidants were available, (see the streetlight effect). This does not mean that the antioxidants available in the past were no good because most of them were and still are; they simply were not enough!

Low molecular weight antioxidants are present in plants and in animals and are readily available as skin care ingredients. From the point of view of their chemistry, low molecular weight antioxidants can donate electrons to a ROS*, disarming them. The antioxidant, in turn, oxidizes into a chemical that is not noxious to the plant or the animal. Some examples: polyphenols (phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, lignans and stilbenes), carotenoids (xanthophylls and carotenes) and vitamins (vitamin E and C).

Some very nice low molecular weight, natural and synthetic, antioxidants in the pre-SAS era are also included in our serum, like magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (a vitamin C derivative), ferulic acid and many curcuminoid derivatives, green tea EGCG, lycopene, astaxanthin, fucoxanthin. Glutathione, a peptide, is key to antioxidant system, and has been also available for a while.

Also available were enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, but as a raw plant or animal extracts with low specific activity, either because they were very impure and/or activity had been lost during the purification process or even after because of storage conditions. Most enzymes are proteins and can be denatured readily.


We added a few low molecular weight antioxidants, some of them very special. But what is unique about our antioxidant serum is that is that we added proteins required to replenish the natural human skin antioxidant systems. Although others may have access to the technology, we at Skin Actives specialize in the production of high purity, high specific activity, antioxidant proteins developed to match human skin requirements.

What is in the SAS Antioxidant serum?

The new paradigm in skin care, defending our skin from ROS*: ROS* BioNet, which comprises three synthetic human proteins, Thioredoxin, Glutaredoxin (GRX)), and Superoxide Dismutase, to reinforce our skin natural defenses. Together with glutathione, a crucial antioxidant peptide, they will reinforce the glutathione system section of the skin anti-ROS* natural armamentarium.

Ingredients: Water, Sea Kelp (Lactobacillus/Kelp Ferment Filtrate) Bioferment, Sodium PCA, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid), Ferulic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Epigallocatechin Gallate, Niacinamide, Carnosine, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Carnitine, Tetrahydrodiferuloylmethane (and) Tetrahydrodemethoxydiferuloylmethane (and) Tetrahydrobisdemethoxydiferuloylmethane, Sorghum Bicolor Leaf/Stem Extract, Lycopene, Astaxanthin, Fucoxanthin, Porphyridium Polysaccharide, Glutathione, sh-Polypeptide-2, sh-Polypeptide-77 (Glutaredoxin (GRX)), Superoxide Dismutase, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol (and) Diazolidinyl Urea (and) Methylparaben (and) Propylparaben.

Actives by property

Anti-inflammatory: sea kelp bioferment, Porphyridium polysaccharide,

Low molecular weight antioxidants: green tea EGCG, hyaluronic acid, hesperidin methyl chalcone, tetrahydrocurcuminoids, Sorghum bicolor extract, lycopene, astaxanthin, fucoxanthin, Porphyridium polysaccharide.

Antioxidants from the glutathione system: glutathione, thioredoxin (TRX, sH-polypeptide 2),  sh-Polypeptide-77 (Glutaredoxin (GRX)), Superoxide Dismutase,

Energy production: carnitine (transports fatty acids to the mitochondria for better energy production).

Glycans: sea kelp bioferment, Porphyridium polysaccharide, Aloe barbadensis extract.

Prebiotics: sea kelp bioferment,

Protein structure protection: carnosine (plus all antioxidants)


DISCLAIMER: These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent any disease.