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Jan 16, 2014 08:55 AM EST

Tiron: Anti-Oxidant Keeps Skin Younger and Protects Against Skin Damage, Study

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Newcastle researchers have found a natural way of protecting skin from harmful Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation and premature aging. Experts say that tiron, an antioxidant, provides 100 percent protection against sun damage and keeps skin younger for a long period of time.

Antioxidants are natural or man-made compounds that prevent certain types of cell damage. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants such as beta carotene, lutein and lycopene.

According to Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA radiation (free radical stress) constitutes 95 per cent of the UV radiation in sunlight. The radiation infiltrates deep into the skin and increases the number of damaging free radicals, especially the reactive oxygen species.  More number of reactive oxygen species damages the DNA within cells, fastens aging, causes wrinkles, harms connective tissue and increases the risk of skin cancer. UVB, another type of radiation, causes sunburns and is also associated with skin cancer.

Antioxidants have been found to neutralize and prevent this damage by targeting the mitochondria or 'the batteries of the skin cells.'

For the study, researchers compared the efficiency of anti-oxidants such as resveratrol (found in red wine) and curcumin (found in curry) with tiron.

First, the skin cells were treated with antioxidants and then exposed them to UVA radiation equivalent to levels an individual would experience on a hot summer day. Then the researchers copied the DNA within the skin cells using a polymerase chain reaction machine to determine the damage.

They found that Tiron (chemical composition- 4, 5-Dihydroxy-1, 3-benzenedisulfonic acid disodium salt monohydrate) provided 100 percent protection against UVA radiation , whereas resveratrol and curcumin offered just 22 percent and 8 percent protection.

"To discover that Tiron offers complete protection against UVA damage is exciting and promising, however, it is early days as Tiron is not a naturally occurring compound and has not yet been tested for toxicity in humans although there have been a few studies on rats," said Mark Birch-Machin, Professor of Molecular Dermatology.

Researchers said that further tests on Tiron are required before using the compound in food or cosmetics. Commercial products could be available in the markets within five years.

The study is published in The FASEB Journal.

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