Photochemical stability of lipoic acid and its impact on skin ageing

Free Radic Res. 2011 Aug;45(8):918-24. doi: 10.3109/10715762.2011.587420. Epub 2011 Jun 9.


It is well known that α-lipoic acid (LA) functions as an essential co-factor of the mitochondrial multi-enzyme complex and thus plays an important role in energy metabolism. Currently, it is attracting attention as a nutritional supplement because of its unique antioxidant properties and broad spectra of cellular functions. Skin protection from photodamage and ageing is one of the functional applications of LA. Medical and cosmetic application has been widely realized in the world. However, LA has a unique structure bearing a distorted five membered 1, 2-dithiolane ring, making it quite vulnerable to UV radiation. The present article briefly reviews skin ageing from the viewpoint of oxidative stress and sun exposure and analyses the photochemical properties of LA. It also discusses the effect of LA to cellular signalling and its adequate applications to treat skin ageing caused by oxidation. Data presented in this review suggest that LA is a powerful anti-ageing agent under the appropriate usage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Supplements
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Photochemical Processes / drug effects
  • Photochemical Processes / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Thioctic Acid / metabolism*
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology*


  • Thioctic Acid