Paying extra for exotic vitamins in skin creams that promise to erase fine lines and prevent wrinkles will get you little more than an empty wallet, according to dermatologists. Although many face creams contain vitamins known as antioxidants, very few are actually effective in preventing or reversing skin damage.
"Despite advertising claims, almost all available topical formulations contain very low concentrations of antioxidants that are not well absorbed by the skin," said Karen E. Burke, MD, in a presentation to the American Academy of Dermatology's annual meeting this week in New Orleans. "There are three antioxidants that have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and actually prevent further damage: selenium, vitamin E, and vitamin C."
Antioxidants are known to prevent agents called free radicals from damaging cells in the body and the skin. Free radicals are a result of normal body processes, but they can also be created by exposure to various environmental factors such as smoking or ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and can speed up the aging process.
Burke says the problem with applying antioxidants to the skin to fight aging is that they aren't very well absorbed or only have short-term effects. But new research presented at the dermatology conference suggests more effective formulations to deliver two of these antioxidants directly to the skin that needs it may soon be available.
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