The interaction of free radicals with antioxidants is a topic of increasing interest in the development of prevention strategies against skin ageing. Carotenoids can serve as marker substances for the complete antioxidative network of human skin. Recently, it has become possible to measure the carotenoids non-invasively and online using resonance Raman spectroscopy. This method has been used in various studies to investigate the interaction of carotenoid antioxidants and free radicals in human skin. In this review, the results of the selected studies are summarized and compared. It could be demonstrated that the carotenoid concentration of the skin reflects the lifestyle of individuals. A high level of carotenoids can be achieved with a healthy diet rich, for instance, in fruit and vegetables. Stress factors such as illness, UV and IR radiation of the sun, and smoking and alcohol consumption reduce the concentration of the carotenoids in the skin. It could be demonstrated that premature skin ageing was less in people with a high level of antioxidants in their tissue. Consequently, the furrows and wrinkles were not so deep and dense as in the skin of individuals with a low antioxidant level. The measurements are highly suited for the development of anti-ageing strategies and can be efficiently used in the medical diagnostics and therapy control.
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.