Antioxidants may reduce side effects from light-based procedures, says study

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Applying antioxidant-rich formulations before and during a course of pulsed light therapy can help cut down negative side effects, according to a recent study.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy, along with other less invasive cosmetics procedures, is becoming increasingly popular as consumers attempt to fight the signs of aging.

However, the therapy can cause erythema (skin reddening) and oxidative stress along with blistering, and inflammation in some patients.

Reduce oxidative stress

According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy, applying a polyphenolic antioxidant solution might help reduce the oxidative stress of the procedure and reduce skin dryness often associated with the treatment.

Skin dryness was chosen over skin erythema as the latter is very variable between patients and a large patient population would have been needed to get meaningful results, study author Bruce Freedman told CosmeticsDesign.

In a split face study on 10 volunteers, a polyphenolic antioxidant solution was pneumatically applied (sprayed onto the face under pressure) to half of the face just before the first IPL treatment. It was then reapplied every 7 – 10 days for a total of six applications, during which three full-face IPL treatments were performed.

According to the study, the lipid peroxide concentration (a measure of the oxidative stress associated with the procedure) in IPL-treated skin increased significantly from the pre-treatment value.

However, on the side of the face treated with the antioxidant solution, lipid peroxide concentration was not statistically different from that of the pre-treatment control.

In addition, the skin moisture content of the skin was higher after the IPL treatment on the antioxidant treated side of the face than pre-treatment levels, whereas IPL treatment alone significantly reduced skin moisture content.

Enhances IPL treatment

Freedman concluded that polyphenolic antioxidants may confer a protective effect on facial skin exposed to IPL therapy.

In addition, he said further research would be concentrating on potential enhancements on the IPL treatment that antioxidant application might bring.

“It does appear that the topical antioxidants enhance the clinical effects of the IPL treatment,” ​he said.

Collaborations between cosmetic companies and manufacturers of devices such as the light-based one used in the study are going to become more common, he said.

“Indeed cosmetic companies may become device makers, making home-use miniaturised devices that can be used in conjunction with cosmeceutical ranges”​ he added.

Source: Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy​2009 DOI: 10.1080/14764170902984887Topical polyphenolic antioxidants reduce the adverse effects of intense pulsed light therapy​Bruce M. Freedman

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