Okay, so here I am 50+, looking at the lovely “senile lentigines” on the back of my wrinkly old hand. A commercial on TV says their cream will fix my old skin and make me look like a teenager again. Could this be true?
First I had to see exactly how the skin breaks down and gets all saggy: UV radiation causes the generation of free radicals (I thought they were all in Washington, DC). Free radicals, otherwise known as ROS, cause increased levels of AP-1 a transcription factor that inhibits collagen production; and decreased levels of transformative growth factor ( TGF). (Transformative growth factor, wow, that sounds really nice! I want a LOT of that stuff!) Skin is constantly being remodeled. The body really doesn’t like stasis, only homeostasis. So it constantly tears things down and builds them back up. I guess when we get older, the body gets a little lazy, and forgets to build up so much.The UV-caused ROS messes up the balance, more collagen being broken down than built up causes an invisible “solar scar”. Repeated UV damage eventually causes a deep scar, otherwise known as a wrinkle, and the skin is less elastic because of insufficient collagen.
Back to the creams: can any of them fix the problem and repair the damage? Maybe a little. It turns out that some studies have shown that creams with antioxidants in them actually do reverse the damage a little. Idebedone, a type of Coenzyme Q 10, and Vitamin C 5% topical actually help to stimulate collagen production, though it can take six months to show an effect. Do you think a paste made up of a Vitamin C tablet would work? Maybe I should go to the store and start peering at cream labels with my dollar store reading glasses and see if any have one of those magic ingredients. It can’t hurt, maybe in six months I’ll look 48 again.
Can you tell we are studying “the integument” this week?