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Oxidation

エイジング"Oxidation" is a phenomenon that occurs when a substance is linked to oxygen. Iron parts of your bicycle you want to use have rusted and turned brown! Cut side of a peeled apple you want to eat has discolored and turned brown!! Wine you have left to drink later tastes somewhat strange!!!—Have you ever had these kinds of experiences? It is troublesome, isn’t it? Did you know that these phenomena, in fact, are related to "oxidation"?

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Iron rusting, apple discoloring, and wine taste change are occurred when substances included in iron, apple, and wine are oxidized by the combination with oxygen and changed into different substances.
Of course, oxygen is essential for us to live. Around us, in the sea and in the air―we have abundant oxygen on Earth. Without oxygen, we could not do even breathing. Not only humans but also other animals and plants could not, of course, maintain their lives without oxygen. However, when this important oxygen is linked with other substances and "oxidizes" them, sometimes it has bad influences on our health.
It is “active oxygen” that is said to be one of the causes of "oxidation". Have you ever heard the term active oxygen? "Active oxygen" is formed when oxygen molecule contained in the atmosphere changes to more reactive compound. In addition, we can also mention "free radical" which is said to be one of the causes of oxidation as it acts like active oxygen. Free radical is not necessarily generated from oxygen. Atoms or molecules with one or more unpaired electrons are referred to as free radicals. Specifically, they are O2·– (superoxide anion), ·OH (hydroxyl radical), LOOH (lipid peroxide), etc. Likewise active oxygen, a large amount of free radicals is generated by ultraviolet light, irritating chemicals (included in e.g. make-up ingredients), stresses, and so on. Because the oxidative stress, such as active oxygen and free radicals, has significantly high reactivity, if generated excessively, it instantaneously attacks and destroys nearby living tissues, and sometimes creates the causes of a variety of skin problems and diseases. If you leave it untreated over the long-term, just as iron rusts and becomes tattered, living tissue will also be altered and possibly becomes irreparable.

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他の分子と反応する活性酸素


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Although "active oxygen and free radicals" have a bad image, these substances also play a very important role, such as killing bacteria and viruses in our body, processing the waste in the cell, and helping the circulation of blood. However, because they damage the cell when generated excessively, it has also been revealed that they are the causes of various diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and rheumatic diseases. Just as drinking and eating too much is not good for your health, too much of active oxygen and free radicals is, after all, also not good for your health. Good balance is important for anything.

Relationship between Skin Oxidation and Aging

エイジングOxidative stresses such as extra active oxygen and free radicals are, of course, natural enemy for your skin. Especially, the skin separates the outside and the inside of the body, and thus receives first the effects of oxidative stresses occurred due to ultraviolet light, stresses, smoking, air pollution, etc. However, our body has active oxygen- and free radical-degradation enzymes and also the active oxygen-neutralization function. Thus, without excessive active oxygen and free radicals, you would not need to worry about it so much. For example, melanin in the skin has a function of protecting skin through absorbing the energy of ultraviolet light directly and removing the generated active oxygen and free radicals. But please be careful about the excessive active oxygen and free radicals!! If exposed to a large amount of ultraviolet light, the amounts of active oxygen and free radicals generated become excessive as well. In order to protect the skin from excessive active oxygen, the production of melanin is promoted. It causes the progress of pigmentation, leading to freckles. Therefore, the part of skin frequently exposed to ultraviolet light is subjected to freckle occurrence. Have you ever felt like you had freckles conspicuously after exposed to abundant ultraviolet light at seaside or mountains?

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Moreover, excessive active oxygen and free radicals oxidize sebum and lipids in the skin cells, causing the generation of a substance called lipid peroxide. It is known to damage the cells and be one of the causes of freckles, wrinkles, inflammation, and conspicuous pores, etc. Functional deterioration of cells occurred due to the oxidation of cell membranes causes skin-color dullness, skin roughness, and skin sag. In addition, it is known that neutrophils generate excessive active oxygen to attack the acne-causing acne bacterium, resulting in acne worsening.
The amounts of cell- and tissue-damages and lipid peroxide accumulated due to oxidative stresses such as active oxygen and free radicals become larger with age, which is one of the causes of skin aging.

Antioxidants to Detoxify Active Oxygen

Oxidative stresses, such as excessive active oxygen and free radicals, damage the skin, and are said to be one of the causes of skin aging.
What should be done to remove excess active oxygen and free radicals that cause skin aging? What becomes dependable is an antioxidant.

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A substance that will prevent oxidation is an antioxidant. It can prevent the increase in peroxide by removing the active oxygen and free radicals, stopping the oxidation reaction, helping the function of other antioxidants, and so on. Our bodies are already equipped with antioxidants. Famous antioxidant enzymes that work in the body include superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase. Since the antioxidant removes the oxidative stress, it is very useful in maintaining health and healthy skin.

レモン、お茶Speaking of antioxidants, the vitamin C contained in citrus fruits, such as lemon, and vitamin E contained in nuts and seeds, such as almonds, are famous. The catechin contained in tea, polyphenols in red wine, plant extracts, fullerenes, etc., are antioxidants.

There are various kinds of antioxidants, and anti-oxidation also works in different ways. Vitamin C and vitamin E, polyphenols such as resveratrol, catechin, and CoQ10 give their own hydrogen to active oxygen and free radicals and then reduce the activity quickly. However, since they are oxidized, they are active oxygen relaxation type antioxidants that lose their anti-oxidative potency. The instantaneous power of anti-oxidation is like that of a sprinter’s, but the drawback is that they don’t have endurance.
Next, a carotenoid, such as astaxanthin or lycopene, can detoxify active oxygen by absorbing the energy of active oxygen and free radicals. But they are active oxygen sedation-type antioxidants that decrease their anti-oxidation potency because they are decomposed. They are much like the desiccant or decaying agents contained in sweets, aren’t they?

Then, fullerene, which is one of the carbon compounds and has a unique form, absorbs or decomposes active oxygen and free radicals by the catalytic function. It is an adsorption and dissolution-type antioxidant for active oxygen, which is hard to change. It sustains its anti-oxidation potency for a long time like a distance runner.

In this way, the antioxidants respectively show anti-oxidation potency by this characteristic mechanism. Even if they are used independently they are effective. It is expected to be a more powerful anti-oxidation potency with the combination of the strong points of each antioxidant and with the antioxidants that have different anti-oxidation mechanism.

It is known that vitamins C and E, which are typical antioxidants, have high reactivity to a particular active oxygen and free radical. On the other hand, it is known that fullerene shows an effect uniformly to typical active oxygen and free radical. There is also data that shows that it is 172 times more effective than vitamin C, thus its high anti-oxidation potency has become one of the features of fullerene.