Skin-Friendly Fern
August 24, 2017
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We are barraged with claims of the astounding benefits of antioxidants, consumed orally and applied to the skin. It is rare for me to open up my email and not see a message from somebody or some company trying to sell me Acai, Mona Vie, or some other antioxidant du jour. While some of the raves might be justified - and I am in the pro-antioxidant camp - the reality is that swallowed antioxidants don't reach the skin in high enough quanitites, and not enough topical antioxidants leak through the epidemris to make much difference. Further, most applied antioxidants degrade rather quickly.

One of the answers to this problems has been the addition of ferulic acid, a chemical derived from a fern. For instance, when Vitamin C or E, antioxidants, as potent as they might be, are applied to the skin they do not do all that much to keep the skin young beyond some degree of sun protection. However, ferulic acid helps stabilize these molecules and even helps them penetrate through the epidermis.

Much of this research has been performed at the dermatology department of Duke University. After stabilizing the molecule, they tested it by applying the cream to subjects' skin. Next they stressed the skin with an ultraviolet B source such as one would receive from the sun. They then determined whether this concoction, with its ferulic acid supplementation, protected the skin better than placebo. They found that the skin treated with the ferulic antioxidant cream had much less redness, fewer damaged skin cells, and significantly less DNA damage in the dermis compared to skin treated with placebo. It may be a good idea to look for this ingredient when you look for an anti-aging regimen.

-Dr. Arnold Oppenheim