We’re big fans of antioxidants at Apothekari because they do so much for skin and while most of us are familiar with ingredients including Vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, green tea or even ferulic acid, ergothioneine (trade name Thiotaine®) has probably slipped under your radar.
Ergothioneine (pronounced er-go-thigh-o-neen) is an antioxidant amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. It is found in high concentrations around cells prone to free radical damage, helping to protect their mitochondria (which aid in energy production). Our bodies can’t synthesize it, so we need to obtain it from foods we eat. Mushrooms are one of the richest natural sources of ergothioneine so you’re in luck if you’re a fan.
While the research to support ergothioneine’s use in skin care is limited, studies have shown that ergothioneine not only prevents oxidative damage but also may enable DNA repair in cells subjected to UV light. In a comparison study against idebenone (Coenzyme Q10), ergothioneine was found to be a faster and more efficient antioxidant in helping to protect against reactive oxygen species (ROS) after exposure to UVA rays.
Why Antioxidants Like Ergothioneine?
When it comes to antioxidants, the more the merrier, despite what you may have come across. There isn’t one miraculous antioxidant and research has shown that our skin does better when we use a wide range of effective antioxidants rather than just one. Antioxidants play very well with sunscreens so it’s a good idea to use them together. While regular sunscreen use is essential to reducing the risk of developing skin cancer and premature skin aging, antioxidants can help to boost your sunscreen’s effectiveness by fighting against the free radical damage from the UV light that passes through sunscreen (no sunscreen can effectively block 100% of UV rays). Even the best sunscreen can use a bit of additional help from an antioxidant.
The easiest way to get optimal protection against free radicals is to apply a sunscreen along with antioxidants every morning. We like using our Bespoke Vitamin C Serum, formulated with L-ascorbic acid, and a host of additional antioxidants along with Apothekari Shade SPF 30 every day. Shade SPF 30 contains zinc oxide, an effective broad spectrum UVA/UVB blocking sun filter, plus additional support from red algae extract (a UV absorbing substance) and ergothioneine. The combination of these two products will help to defend your skin against assault from UV rays, pollution and any other stressor it may encounter during the day.
Let’s hear it for antioxidants like ergothioneine!