To help elucidate specific factors in skin aging, a 2015 study of humans and mice in Aging Cell examined “reductions in cell proliferation, collagen synthesis, extracellular matrix remodelling, and altered epidermal morphology.” And while acknowledging the role of hormones and external influences on skin health, researchers proposed that the drivers of aging skin cells are “reduced energy metabolism, higher mitochondrial oxidative stress and pronounced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) deletions.” In short, the “mitochondrial free radical theory of aging.”
What are free radicals?
Free radicals (FR) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) such as superoxide and hydrogen peroxide are oxygen-containing molecules with unpaired electrons. These unpaired electrons react easily with other molecules in the body in a processed called oxidation (loss of electrons). Oxidation is normal and necessary, ROS and FR are natural by-products of cellular respiration and infection. They are neutralized by “an antioxidant defensive system based mainly on enzymatic components, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx).” Nature is filled with antioxidants, including vitamins like ascorbic acid, vitamins E and D, and thousands of phytomedicines in the plant world. These antioxidants allow living things to repair damage caused by injury, infection, aging and decay in nature.
When there is an imbalance between free radical activity and antioxidant activity, oxidative stress occurs. Specific enzymes, vitamins, and metabolic pathways can be disrupted by the sensitivities and stressors in vial testing kits, and all effective treatment ultimately improves antioxidant function in the body by decreasing local and generalized stress.
“Oxidative stress is a phenomenon caused by an imbalance between production and accumulation of oxygen reactive species (ROS) in cells and tissues and the ability of a biological system to detoxify these reactive products. ROS can play, and in fact they do it, several physiological roles (i.e., cell signaling), and they are normally generated as by-products of oxygen metabolism; despite this, environmental stressors (i.e., UV, ionizing radiations, pollutants, and heavy metals) and xenobiotics (i.e., antiblastic drugs) contribute to greatly increase ROS production, therefore causing the imbalance that leads to cell and tissue damage (oxidative stress)."