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Recent research that questioned the potential of antioxidants to fight against aging has elicited a number of reactions from the industry, questioning the relevance of the findings to human skin.
Earlier this month researchers, led by Dr. David Gems at the University of London published work that questioned the role of oxidative damage in the aging of C. elegans (nematode worm) by knocking out the genes for superoxide dismutase, an important antioxidant enzyme. Although the research only focused on this one organism, the scientists concluded that when the study’s results are taken in conjunction with similar research, the universal acceptance of the oxidative theory of aging is undermined.
The theory that aging is caused by an accumulation of molecular damage resulting from oxidative damage has, according to Dr. Gems, filled a knowledge gap for more than fifty years. But in his opinion it doesn’t stand up to the evidence. “But there is no clear evidence that dietary antioxidants can slow or prevent aging. There is even less evidence to support the claims of most anti-aging products,” he said.
Science backs up topical antioxidants
Industry insiders and dermatologists, however, have taken issue with these conclusions highlighting a body of evidence that supports the use of both dietary and topically applied antioxidants.