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  • Protecting Your Skin from the Sun - Chromatography Investigates

Protecting Your Skin from the Sun - Chromatography Investigates

Oct 02 2018 Read 833 Times

Our skin is the largest organ in the body. Not only does it provide a basic shape, holding all the inner bits and pieces together, but it is an important part of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. It is the first line of defence against infections and protects us from the environment – keeping us safe, warm and cool.

But the act of protecting us from the environment is hazardous and can have a big effect on the skin. A recent paper published in the journal Antioxidants - The Effect of Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides L.) Seed Oil on UV-Induced Changes in Lipid Metabolism of Human Skin Cells – reports on how a natural oil could help prevent some of the damage caused by our exposure to UV rays from sunlight.

Skin – keeping the environment at bay

The skin is the first barrier that can protect us from any harmful environments we encounter. This means that it is constantly bombarded by external attacks from pollutants, extreme temperatures and numerous other attackers. One of the most common and most dangerous are the ultraviolet rays in sunlight.

The sun emits ultraviolet radiation in three main bands, UVA, UVB and UVC. The UVC radiation is prevented from reaching the earth’s surface by the ozone layer and oxygen in the atmosphere, the atmosphere also reduces the amount of UVB that reaches us. But there is still enough UVB and UVA that reaches the Earth’s surface to damage the skin – causing skin cancer and other effects that permanently damage the skin and other organs in the body.

Seed oils to the rescue

Cells in the skin that are exposed to ultraviolet light can become depleted in natural antioxidants. Replacing these antioxidants can help to protect the skin from damage by UV radiation. One method of topping up the missing antioxidants involves using seed oils – a natural source of phospholipids and triacylglycerols which can act as solvents for other beneficial agents.

Sea buckthorn is a good source of seed oil having a high concentration of carotenoids, sterols and vitamins C and E. The team used chromatography – both HPLC and GC/MS – to measure the effect of UV radiation on skin cells treated with sea buckthorn oil. The use of chromatography to analyse seed oils is discussed in the article, Blue Jacaranda Seed Oil Analysed Using Comprehensive Two Dimensional Liquid Chromatography with Quadruple Parallel Mass Spectrometry.

The team found that use of sea buckthorn oil significantly stimulated the antioxidant systems in the cells tested. They state:

sea-buckthorn seed oil prevents UV-induced impair in redox systems as well as lipid metabolism disorders in skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes, which makes it a promising natural substance in skin photo-protection.

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