Benzoyl peroxide (BPO) is a commonly used drug in the treatment of acne vulgaris, but it induces unwanted side effects related to stratum corneum (SC) function. Since it has been recently shown to oxidize SC antioxidants, it was hypothesized that antioxidant supplementation may mitigate the BPO-induced SC changes. To test this, 11 subjects were selected to be topically supplemented with alpha-tocotrienol (5% w/vol) for 7 d on defined regions of the upper back, while the contralateral region was used for vehicle-only controls. Starting on day 8, all test sites were also treated with BPO (10%) for 7 d; the alpha-tocotrienol supplementation was continued throughout the study. A single dose of BPO depleted 93.2% of the total vitamin E. While continuing the BPO exposure for 7 d further depleted vitamin E in both vehicle-only and alpha-tocotrienol-treated sites, significantly more vitamin E remained in the alpha-tocotrienol-treated areas. Seven BPO applications increased lipid peroxidation. Alpha-tocotrienol supplementation significantly mitigated the BPO-induced lipid peroxidation. The transepidermal water loss was increased 1.9-fold by seven BPO applications, while there was no difference between alpha-tocotrienol treatment and controls. The data suggest that alpha-tocotrienol supplementation counteracts the lipid peroxidation but not the barrier perturbation in the SC induced by 10% BPO.
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