Almost everyone wants to reduce the impact of stress on body, mind and spirit. Stress influences almost every aspect of our body’s biochemistry – and the skin is no exception. We go about our daily lives with mildly elevated levels of the “stress hormone” cortisol, triggering an ongoing inflammatory response. The long-term impact on our skin is an acceleration of the aging process, triggered, in part, by the release of “reactive oxygen species” (ROS) within cells as they respond to stressful stimuli. External sources add to the assault – including air pollution, blue light and disruption of the microbiome. The skin is an organ of protection, and 21st Century living so often demands that it goes into defence mode.
At the core of our skin’s constant activity to defend itself against this onslaught is a single cellular process: our self-defence mechanism against ROS (free radicals) that play havoc with our cells’ natural equilibrium. To counteract these harmful molecules, we need protective anti-oxidant activity.
Anti-oxidant activity: a must-have
Consumers are now familiar with the term anti-oxidant in many different situations, not least in the context of a healthy diet. We know that the anti-oxidants in fruit and vegetables can protect us from a variety of disease states, from short-term inflammation to life-threatening cancers. Consumers are easily able to make the logical connection between free radicals waging war on our tissues from within, and free radicals from polluted air attacking our skin from the outside. The need for protection is clear, paving the way for a new generation of cosmetic formulations, in which built-in anti-oxidant activity is viewed as a must-have.
We have researched a relevant and cost-effective in vitro test for anti-oxidant activity, since many other methods used to date have been limited to biochemical reactions in a test tube, bearing little resemblance to the dynamic environment of living cells. A direct approach needs to take a more holistic view of cell physiology and take account of all major reactive oxygen species. Our OxiSelect™ test is specifically optimised to measure anti-oxidant activity in human epidermal keratinocytes. This robust test supports formulation and product development activities around the globe.
Find out more about our OxiSelect™ method here.