|GD - Online||W. Pittermann: Vitamin E in cosmetics|
Vitamin E as a bioactive agent
in cosmetics Wolfgang Pittermann
The immediate cause is increasing knowledge of the 'stress environment' to which the skin, as the human body's largest organ, is exposed. Stress factors include environmental influences such as ultraviolet radiation and the possibly inadequate intake of certain vitamins as a result of modern lifestyles, etc. The present interest in the common roots of health, nutrition and body care is also changing consumer expectations with regard to the performance characteristics of cosmetic products. This development has temporarily pushed the significance of decorative cosmetics into the background. The focus is now on protection and preventive measures against harmful environmental influences and biological aging processes, as well as the possible repair or regeneration of unwelcome changes in the skin.
Oxidative stress in the skin
The present use of vitamins is an example of the response to these new requirements. One target area is oxidative stress, i.e. the consequences of the creation of reactive forms of oxygen in the skin. The reactive forms that usually undergo physiological metabolization may, under abnormal stress conditions and in the absence of adequate protection by enzymatic and non-enzymatic mechanisms, cause pathophysiological dysfunctions within the skin. Vitamins C and E belong to the non-enzymatic components of the body's own protective system. While vitamin C is the most important water-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E is one of a group of lipid-soluble radical interceptors, localized in the cell membrane (Mayer et al., 1993).
Smoothness and moisture content
As well as providing protection against UV-radiation, topical application of vitamin E has a positive effect on the skin's smoothness and moisture content. Both of these parameters are closely linked to the functionality of the skin barrier. The objective of all long-term skin care must be to maintain, strengthen or regenerate this.
Vitamin E´s natural distribution in the skin
a paper recently published (Thiele et al., 1999) the sebaceous gland secretion
is a major physiologic route of vitamin E delivery to skin. In order to characterize
the frequently used in vitro model of the isolated bovine udder (BUS-model), the
vitamin E content of three different levels (epidermo-dermal = level 1; sebaceous
glands = level 2; hair follicle = level 3) of the skin was evaluated (figure 1).
Approx. 70 % of the total vitamin E content of the skin was found within the level
2 containing the sebaceous glands. The epidermo-dermal level shows about the double
amount (approx. 20 %) of vitamin E than the level 3 (hair follicle).
Vitamin E´s release from the body care products
For vitamin E to be able to
take effect, it has to be released from the body care product. To prove the release
in-vitro studies using the viable skin of the isolated perfused bovine udder (BUS)-model)
were performed in various study designs.
Market products containing vitamin E
1) Blume G., Pittermann W., Waldmann-Laue M., Kietzmann M., Verma D.D.
and C. Johann; Liposomes and Vitamins; IN-COSMETICS 2000 - Conference Proceedings,
pp 131-134 (2000)
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