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The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin

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Author(s): Maxim E. Darvin | Wolfram Sterry | Juergen Lademann | Theognosia Vergou

Journal: Molecules
ISSN 1420-3049

Volume: 16;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 10491;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: β-carotene | lycopene | antioxidants | free radicals | ageing | fruit | vegetables

ABSTRACT
The human skin, as the boundary organ between the human body and the environment, is under the constant influence of free radicals (FR), both from the outside in and from the inside out. Carotenoids are known to be powerful antioxidant substances playing an essential role in the reactions of neutralization of FR (mainly reactive oxygen species ROS). Carotenoid molecules present in the tissue are capable of neutralizing several attacks of FR, especially ROS, and are then destroyed. Human skin contains carotenoids, such as α-, γ-, β-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and their isomers, which serve the living cells as a protection against oxidation. Recent studies have reported the possibility to investigate carotenoids in human skin quickly and non-invasively by spectroscopic means. Results obtained from in-vivo studies on human skin have shown that carotenoids are vital components of the antioxidative protective system of the human skin and could serve as marker substances for the overall antioxidative status. Reflecting the nutritional and stress situation of volunteers, carotenoids must be administered by means of antioxidant-rich products, e.g., in the form of fruit and vegetables. Carotenoids are degraded by stress factors of any type, inter alia, sun radiation, contact with environmental hazards, illness, etc. The kinetics of the accumulation and degradation of carotenoids in the skin have been investigated.
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