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The word is out: the new component to look for in your skincare is the Environmental Protection Factor, or EPF. The EPF is a new method for measuring the overall oxidative stress protection capacity of antioxidants commonly found in skin care products, including (but not limited to) idebenone, vitamin E, kinetin, and lipoic acid. The EPF is measured on a scale from 1 to 100. Basically, the higher the score of the antioxidant, the higher the oxidative stress reducing potential, and the higher the anti-aging preventative effects.
According to EPF, what are the most effective antioxidants?
Based on a 2006 study by McDaniel et. al, the most effective antioxidants in reducing oxidative stress are (in order from highest to lowest): idebenone, with an EPF of 95; vitamin E (tocopherol), with an EPF of 80; kinetin, with an EPF of 68; ubiquinone, with an EPF of 55; vitamin C (ascorbic acid), with an EPF of 52; and lipoic acid, with an EPF of 41. Unfortunately, as pointed out in the November 2007 issue of Allure magazine, the relative EPFs of potent antioxidants coffee berry and green tea were not included in the study.
How is EPF measured?
According to The Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, EPF is quantified via a multistep sequence of methods. In vitro methods included using UV-induced radical trapping/scavenging capacity measured by photochemiluminescence, pro-oxidative systems (LDL-CuSO4, microsome-NADPH/ADP/Fe3+) with measurement of primary and secondary oxidation products, UVB irradiation of human keratinocytes, and in vivo evaluation, using the human sunburn cell (SBC) assay. Correlation and trends between in vitro and in vivo results were established, and the standardized test protocol was used to quantify oxidative stress protection capacity of antioxidants.
How can I find the actual EPF of the skin care products I use?
According to the November 2007 issue of Allure magazine, EPF ratings are appearing on Priori Bioengineered Skincare ($17.00-$95.00, EssentialDaySpa.com), a line created by one of the chemists who worked on EPF development. However, future research will most likely establish EPF for other ingredients and skin care products on the market.