Newcastle University researchers have found that antioxidant Tiron can provide total protection against sun damage and can help the skin stay younger looking and wrinkle free for a longer period of time.
"To discover that Tiron offers complete protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation damage is exciting and promising. This finding provides us with a platform to study an antioxidant - preferably a naturally occurring compound with a similar structure which could then be safely added to food or cosmetics," said Mark Birch-Machin, professor of molecular dermatology at Newcastle University.
The team found that the most potent anti-oxidants were those that targeted the batteries of the skin cells - known as the mitochondria.
They found that the most potent mitochondrial targeted anti-oxidant was Tiron - providing 100 percent protection of the skin cell against UVA sun damage and stress-induced damage, said a new study published in the FASEB Journal.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers treated skin cells exposed to a physiological dose of UVA radiation with a panel of antioxidants.
They used four antioxidants - resveratrol found in red wine, NAC, a frequently used laboratory-based anti-oxidant, curcumin found in turmeric and chemically composed antioxidant Tiron.
They resveratrol was found to protect against 22 percent of both UVA radiation and stress-induced damage, NAC offered 20 percent protection against oxidative stress and 8 percent against UVA.
Curcumin offered 16 percent protection against oxidative stress and 8 percent against UVA.
In comparison, Tiron offered 100 percent protection against UVA radiation and 100 percent protection against oxidative stress, said the study.
While ultraviolet B radiation easily causes sunburn, UVA radiation penetrates deeper, damaging our DNA by generating free radicals which degrades the collagen that gives skin its elastic quality.
Our skin ages due to the constant exposure to sunlight as ultraviolet radiation from the sun penetrates cells and increases the number of damaging free radicals.
Over the time, this can lead to the accumulation of mutations which speed up ageing and destroy the skin's supportive fibres, collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles, concluded the study.