Increase cellular energy production in skin care
Each cell in the human body is as impressive and fascinating as a small universe. No matter its type, function or purpose, each cell will restlessly perform its role in the whole, and for this, every cell needs energy. The energy that powers the cell is adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and is exclusively produced by a cell component called mitochondria. Mitochondria, an organelle that has its own DNA, are literally power plants, responsible for producing the necessary energy for the cell that contains it and over 90% of the total body energy. By being directly involved in the energy metabolism and production of ATP mitochondria is (up to 2000 times) more susceptible to have its DNA damaged by free radicals that are by-products of the ADP (adenosine diphosphate) - ATP process. Once the DNA is damaged the mitochondria evolution is unpredictable: it can mutate and proliferate, lower production or it can shut down causing the containing cell apoptosis (for the cells with 1 or low numbers of mitochondria). No matter the direction, the cell metabolism is affected.
There are basically two ways that we can reduce the mitochondrial damage: either reducing the cell metabolism or boost the energy production. While reducing the mitochondrial metabolism is a very difficult mission that requires lowering the caloric intake and advanced nutrition knowledge with improbable and unpredictable results, boosting the mitochondrial activity can be done by the means of active ingredients with potent antioxidant properties. The antioxidants save and prolong the cell and implicitly the mitochondrial life by tackling and scavenging on the free radicals – the highly aggressive and ionized metabolism residual products.
The skin cell metabolism is affected not only by natural aging but by several other environmental aggressive factors such as UVR, pollution, chemicals, habitual – such as smoking and unhealthy diet or individual – certain acute or chronic disease. Regardless the categories these factors facilitate the apparition of free radicals and increase the exposure to mitochondrial damage and cell death. It is a vicious cycle that starts with the damaged mitochondria producing less energy from ADP-ATP conversion, the cell being more weak and unprotected to aggressors and toxin accumulation that leads to even less energy being produced. At a macro level this translates into aged, wrinkled, soggy and scaly looking skin, since fibroblasts in the dermis and keratinocytes in the epiderrmis - the main two constituents of the skin tissue – become impaired and implicitly produce less.
Not only does the use of certain antioxidants reduce free radicals levels and counteract their effects but they also facilitate the replenishment and overstocking of ADP reserve and implicitly a higher potential for energy production. The main advantage for the skin is that the cell energy boosters can be topically administered, increasing the delivery rate .
Alpha Lipoic Acid (RS-ALA), the universal antioxidant - is a natural occurring animal cofactor that peaks into young adults but decreases with aging. It is best known for its antioxidant properties and traditionally used in OTC oral supplements due to its multi-system, multi-organ efficiency. It is perhaps one of the most potent antioxidants because unlike the majority of antioxidant actives that are either water-soluble or fat-soluble, RS-ALA is both. This means that it penetrates easy through the fat cellular walls and travel fast though its watery content – efficiently reaching the mitochondria where it can fight off free radicals that are endangering it. Studies have revealed that as a free radical scavenger, alpha lipoic acid is superior to vitamin C, vitamin E and their combinations. Another unique fact about RS-ALA is that it doesn’t become inactive once it donates an electron(-) to a free radical (+) to inactivate its activity but remains rather potent as an antioxidant and a key player in boosting other antioxidant molecule – such as coenzyme Q10, vitamin C, vitamin E – levels. .
Carnitine (L-Carnitine) is a natural occurring molecule in the animal tissue, including skin, vital for the glucose and fat metabolisms. At the dermal and epidermal levels is known to prevent DNA damage and boost repair by restoring the glycation processes balance. Carnitine is responsible for transporting rich fatty acids through the cell membrane and into the ATP medabolism. L-Carnitine interacts with the mitochondrial activity by boosting its production and implicitly supporting extra-energy production which is vital, especially in healing impaired patients. For maximum results it is usually mixed with Vitamin C and/or E in topical treatments .
Coenzyme Q10 is a molecule naturally involved in energy metabolism in all human cells, being a key participant in the electron transport system that transforms ADP in ATP in the mitochondria. Among its many benefits the antioxidant properties stand out through their potency. With age, CoQ10 levels decrease and the energy production mechanism is slowed, but fortunately additional coenzyme can be supplied by oral and topical supplementation. Coenzyme Q10 is not only involved in the ATP production but also a strong antioxidant that protects the mitochondrial membrane, its DNA and the transport chain by fighting harmful free radicals. It also supports antioxidants regeneration, especially vitamin E. In skin particularly, CoQ10 has another positive effect by being one of the few active molecules that repel the A spectrum of the UVR radiation and thus, preventing the generation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) that are highly aggressive for the cell and its components .
Creatine (creatine pyruvate) is a molecule synthesized naturally in the human involved in regulating and maintaining energy levels and flow inside the cell. The pyruvate, a more stable and soluble form of creatine has become extensively used in DIY cosmetic especially for its antioxidant properties. Creatine is an actor both UV damage protection and in protecting the cellular structures (especially mitochondria) from. Essentially, creatine is an indirect antioxidant, because it doesn’t counteract free radicals and ROS itself but protects the antioxidants and enzymes that do. Since its main role as a protector, creatine pyruvate is exposed to oxidant damage that is why, in DIY recipes, association with powerful antioxidants such as CoQ10, Vitamins E and C is recommended .
Idebenone is a bioengineered active ingredient with identical structure as Coenzime Q10 can successfully replace its role in topical treatments, having the advantage of considerable higher availability and better solubility. Similar to CoQ10, idebenone is directly involved in the mitochondrial metabolism, prevents and fights oxidation processes and helps maintain a healthy young skin by preventing premature cell aging and apoptosis .
Lactic Acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) is another natural active extensively used in dermatology for its multiple properties such as extracellular matrix components booster, supports ceramides and lipids production, treats hyperpigmentation, mantain and protects barrier function and its acidic ph, exfoliates. Lactic acid naturally occurs in the human body as a by-product in the Krebs cycle – the energy producing metabolism. Even though stable, it is versatile because it can be transformed forward and powers the energy production or back and become a potential energy deposit. Combined with insoluble active ingredients it produces lactates that keep the active properties but become soluble and easily incorporable into a topical mixtures. Its acidic ph is also useful in maintaining the acidic skin barrier – an invisible active boundary that repels viruses and bacteria .
Out of all the organs and systems of the human body, skin is one of the most exposed to environmental and behavioural aggressive factors making it susceptible to premature aging due to lowered energy production. In order to maintain a young, healthy skin, regular care is required. DIY cosmetic provides the opportunity to mix top quality active ingredients with the perfect vehicle, creating an individual solution, ideal for each skin. Including a cell energy booster and antioxidants along other active ingredients is recommended on a daily basis for a vital, healthy and resistant skin.
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