It’s summertime again … and time to talk about that all important skin issue of sun exposure.  It is a well-established fact that solar radiation (both UVA and UVB rays) creates skin damage and brings on premature skin aging.  This is true even of indirect solar rays (shade), as well as direct exposure.  The usual recommended solution is to use a sunscreen (chemical or mineral) with an SPF rating of 32 or more.  These sunscreens provide an external layer on the surface of the skin to block UV rays from penetrating.  They provide a compromised solution for avoiding sun damage which is often not very effective.  They are easily washed off or wiped off with perspiration.  The synthetic chemical sunscreen formulas are not recommended by the FDA and are suspect regarding skin health.  The mineral sunscreen formulas are natural, but are easily wiped off, or washed off.  These surface layer sunscreens often give a false sense of security, thinking they are protecting when they are no longer present.

At Stemology we recommend a different approach to sun protection … antioxidants … natures highly developed plant protection system from sun damage for millennia.  New research on this subject confirms this concept. 

Research published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science assessed the photoprotection provided by organic sunscreens incorporating antioxidants against the combined effects of visible light (VL) and UVA1. These results were compared with those of a commercially available tinted sunscreen.  Ten adult subjects were treated with the antioxidant test sunscreen and commercial tinted sunscreen. Measurements were made at baseline, immediately after irradiation, after 24 hours, and after 7 days.  Sites treated with the commercial sunscreen showed significantly less skin pigmentation than untreated sites at all time points. However, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy demonstrated the antioxidant-enriched sunscreen performed comparably or better than all sunscreens tested, with relatively lower dyschromia, delayed erythema and pigmentation.

Reduction of UV radiation can be accomplished with various sunscreen products, but as mentioned, these do not totally prevent free radical damage, and obviously, do not begin to address dealing with free radicals from causes other than sunlight exposure.  Thus, there is great need for additional means to neutralize free radicals in the skin.  Nature has provided us the solution – antioxidants.

What Are Antioxidants and How Do They Work?

An antioxidant is a unique type of molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation reactions, stimulated by UV radiation as well as other factors, produce free radicals. In turn, these undesired radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell.  Antioxidants terminate these chain reactions by “quenching” the free radicals through “capture,” and changing them into a harmless molecule.  Some antioxidants are produced within the human body such as Alpha Lipoic acid, and Coenzyme Q10.  Each of these has special functions in quenching and repairing ROS damage.  With age our production of these substances within the body slows down and supplementation is often necessary.  All Stemology treatment products include both Alpha Lipoic acid and COQ10 (Ubiquinone) in their formulation to supplement the body’s production.

Plant Antioxidants – Nature’s Gift

Over vast ages of survival adaptation, plants have developed complex antioxidant protective systems to help them survive and even thrive in harsh external environments; thus, many botanical sources are rich in antioxidant protection.  Usually, the harsher the environment a plant thrives in, the more powerful the antioxidants it has intrinsically developed over time.  We make use of these powerful plants to provide sources of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), polyphenolic acids, tocopherols (vitamin E), carotenoids, and flavonoids.  These are the general categories for the various types of plant antioxidants.  Fortunately, though the antioxidants were developed by plants, they are effective across genetic boundaries and are usable as antioxidants for our human body as well.  When these botanical antioxidants are orally consumed, those that survive the digestive process are delivered to all tissues; our skin only receives a very small amount.  For skin health, applying antioxidants topically is the most effective.  Our skin receives much more when delivered directly, provided that good techniques are employed in the topical formulation to effectively protect the antioxidants from destruction and carry them into the skin.

Protecting Our Skin From Sun With Antioxidants

The very best free radical protection is provided when a full spectrum of antioxidant components is included in a topical application.  This should include Ubiquinone (COQ10), Alpha Lipoic acid, plus a rich suite of ingredients that provide sources of ascorbic acid, polyphenolic acids, tocopherols, carotenoids and flavonoids.  Learning from the plant world, Stemology skin science has developed a complex of antioxidants designed to provide this full spectrum of sun protection for the skin that penetrates into the skin and does not wash off.  This includes COQ10, Alpha Lipoic acid, as well as a complex of natural plant ingredients selected to provide rich concentrations of ascorbic acid, polyphenolic acids, tocopherols, carotenoids, and flavonoids.  Stemology treatment serums contain these antioxidants.  Our daytime moisturizers … Moisture Complete and Natural Radiance Tinted Moisturizer … contain rich concentrations of antioxidants for daytime sun protection.  You can apply these in the morning and be confident of daytime protection.  If you are looking for a healthy tan, Stemology Natural Tanning Gel is a perfect solution for a natural tan appearance without the worry of sun damage.  Enjoy your summer fun and protect your skin with Stemology!