Oxidative stress and skin diseases: possible role of physical activity

Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014;15(2):561-8. doi: 10.7314/apjcp.2014.15.2.561.


The skin is the largest body organ that regulates excretion of metabolic waste products, temperature, and plays an important role in body protection against environmental physical and chemical, as well as biological factors. These include agents that may act as oxidants or catalysts of reactions producing reactive oxygen species (ROS), reactive nitrogen species (RNS), and other oxidants in skin cells. An increased amount of the oxidants, exceeding the antioxidant defense system capacity is called oxidative stress, leading to chronic inflammation, which, in turn, can cause collagen fragmentation and disorganization of collagen fibers and skin cell functions, and thus contribute to skin diseases including cancer. Moreover, research suggests that oxidative stress participates in all stages of carcinogenesis. We report here a summary of the present state of knowledge on the role of oxidative stress in pathogenesis of dermatologic diseases, defensive systems against ROS/RNS, and discuss how physical activity may modulate skin diseases through effects on oxidative stress. The data show duality of physical activity actions: regular moderate activity protects against ROS/RNS damage, and endurance exercise with a lack of training mediates oxidative stress. These findings indicate that the redox balance should be considered in the development of new antioxidant strategies linked to the prevention and therapy of skin diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Skin Diseases / therapy*