In a recent review article published in the journal Antioxidants, scientists in the United States and South Korea discuss the benefits of topical and dietary blueberry supplementation in preventing environmental stressor-mediated skin damage and preserving skin health.
Environmental stressors, including air pollutants, ozone (O3), and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, are known to damage skin and induce premature skin aging. Excessive exposure to these stressors can lead to the chronic production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which can suppress the cutaneous defense system, as well as induce oxidative stress and premature aging.
Physiology of human skin
Human skin is composed of three main layers, including the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin and acts as the first line of defense against environmental stressors, microorganisms, and physical trauma.
The dermis, which is located directly beneath the epidermis, contains blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, nerves, and several immune cells, including fibroblasts. The hypodermis, which is also known as the subcutaneous layer, is a thick adipose tissue layer that has many important functions, including water storage, absorption of lipophilic compounds, and protection.
The cutaneous defense system consists of several enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants that act in synergy to scavenge ROS, prevent lipid peroxidation, and suppress inflammation.
Catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase are the main enzymatic antioxidants that are present at higher concentrations in the epidermis than in the dermis. Non-enzymatic antioxidants mainly include vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione, uric acid, and ubiquinol, all of which are also present at higher concentrations in the epidermis than in the dermis.
A certain level of UV light exposure to the skin is essential to produce vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure to UV light can lead to severe skin complications, including skin cancer.
Pollutants emitted from power plants, chemical plants, and cars are major sources of O3. Daily exposure to high levels of O3 can lead to cardiorespiratory complications and skin adversities.
Particulate matter (PM) is the major air pollutant produced by industrial waste products, the burning of fossil fuels, volcanoes, dust storms, and forest fires. Ultrafine PM is known to cause skin barrier dysfunction and atopic dermatitis.
The primary mechanisms involved in environmental stressor-mediated skin damage include chronic production of ROS, suppression of cellular antioxidants, induction of oxidative stress, and DNA damage.
Medical News/June 14, 2023