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First, it was retinoids. Then, it was antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, and a plethora of others. And then it was all-natural and/or organic ingredients: Think rose petal extract, oatmeal, and more.
Now we’re starting to finally see a synergy of science and nature. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is naturally found in three different forms of the body, and carry zinc, manganese, and copper.
SOD is valuable as an enzyme in the body because it undergoes a process where it essentially neutralizes cell-harming superoxide molecules. Cells naturally produce the enzyme SOD to mitigate the potentially harmful effects like DNA damage. One study showed that this happens to three in every 10,000 cells upon exposure to environmental toxins — making it a pretty sizable problem (Protein Data Bank).
SOD has been proven to have effects in early skin care studies. UV-irradiation has been found to compromise the SOD process for us to 72-hours in murine skin (Journal of Investigative Dermatology). In another study on animals, superoxide dismutase was found to speed up the healing process after wounds sustained from burns (Pharmaceutical Science). A study on human skin after breast cancer treatment found that it helped to return dermal fibroblasts and epidermal cells to normal function and reduce collagen accumulation (The Breast).
The Best Products with Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
Currently, there are two products with superoxide dismutase that stand out in the market for me.
.Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum contains 60% Chaga mushroom extract, which has been proven to fight certain cancers in Russia and Baltic countries for many centuries (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2009). One of its major mechanisms of action is believed to be its antioxidant properties via SOD. While I normally prefer to use concentrated sources of an ingredient — say, 100% SOD rather than mushroom extract as a source of SOD — the concentration of Chaga mushroom extract is high enough in this product where I believe the SOD in the serum would still be potent.
Ingredients in Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum: Inonotus Obliquus (Mushroom) Extract 60%, Water, Glycerin, Diglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Triethylhexanoin, Polyurethane-39, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Sparassis Crispa Extract, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lecithin, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Polyacrylate-13, C12-16 Alcohols, Caramel, Palmitic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyisobutene, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Adenosine, Polysorbate 20, Disodium EDTA, Dipropylene Glycol, Methyldihydrojasmonate.
However, if you are looking for a source of SOD that is more concentrated, then I’m with NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist all the way.
I recommend using NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist as a toner, right after cleansing. It has a really high concentration of superoxide dismutase and a thin-yet-hydrating texture, so wait about 20-30 seconds before applying a serum or moisturizer. There are no ingredients I wouldn’t use in combination with this mist, so go ahead and use your retinoids at night with it, or your vitamin CE serum by day.
Ingredients in NIOD Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist: Aqua (Water), Superoxide Dismutase, Pseudoalteromonas Exopolysaccharides, Mirabilis Jalapa Extract, Arginine, Propanediol, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Salicylate, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Citric Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin
Perhaps it was a little premature to call superoxide dismutase the ingredient of the future (or to imply that it may be so). That said, my main reason for liking superoxide dismutase is because you’re fighting free radicals in a way that is different from antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, and coenzyme Q10. I like the one-two punch against free radicals, so I’m in with using this ingredient together with other proven antioxidants in a daily skin care regimen.