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The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin

Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, Center of Applied and Cutaneous Physiology (CCP), Charité University Medicine Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, Berlin 10117, Germany
A. Sygros’ Hospital, Department of Dermatology, University of Athens, Athens 16121, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Molecules 2011, 16(12), 10491-10506;
Received: 17 November 2011 / Revised: 3 December 2011 / Accepted: 8 December 2011 / Published: 16 December 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carotenoids)
PDF [213 KB, uploaded 18 June 2014]


The human skin, as the boundary organ between the human body and the environment, is under the constant influence of free radicals (FR), both from the outside in and from the inside out. Carotenoids are known to be powerful antioxidant substances playing an essential role in the reactions of neutralization of FR (mainly reactive oxygen species ROS). Carotenoid molecules present in the tissue are capable of neutralizing several attacks of FR, especially ROS, and are then destroyed. Human skin contains carotenoids, such as α-, γ-, β-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene and their isomers, which serve the living cells as a protection against oxidation. Recent studies have reported the possibility to investigate carotenoids in human skin quickly and non-invasively by spectroscopic means. Results obtained from in-vivo studies on human skin have shown that carotenoids are vital components of the antioxidative protective system of the human skin and could serve as marker substances for the overall antioxidative status. Reflecting the nutritional and stress situation of volunteers, carotenoids must be administered by means of antioxidant-rich products, e.g., in the form of fruit and vegetables. Carotenoids are degraded by stress factors of any type, inter alia, sun radiation, contact with environmental hazards, illness, etc. The kinetics of the accumulation and degradation of carotenoids in the skin have been investigated. View Full-Text
Keywords: β-carotene; lycopene; antioxidants; free radicals; ageing; fruit; vegetables β-carotene; lycopene; antioxidants; free radicals; ageing; fruit; vegetables

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Darvin, M.E.; Sterry, W.; Lademann, J.; Vergou, T. The Role of Carotenoids in Human Skin. Molecules 2011, 16, 10491-10506.

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