Q & A: The mechanics of multiblade razors and antioxidants

April 1, 2008

Many dermatologists may be wondering how many blades can fit on the head of a razor! This is, indeed, an interesting question, as the number of individual blades, laser-cut and spring-mounted on the newly designed razors, continues to increase.

Key Points

Q. What is the rationale for the new multiblade razors?

A. Many dermatologists may be wondering how many blades can fit on the head of a razor! This is, indeed, an interesting question, as the number of individual blades, laser-cut and spring-mounted on the newly designed razors, continues to increase.

The currently popular razor boasts five blades. The original safety razor was designed with one single blade that had two edges.

This technology was improved with the addition of a glide strip, designed to reduce friction as the blade moved across the skin surface.

Innovations in razor design led to the creation of an accurate blade edge by laser-metal cutting and pivoting blades mounted on springs to better traverse the irregularities of the human face and body.

This is why new technology has resulted in blade inflation. Instead of shaving five times to obtain an increasingly closer shave, you can shave once with five blades to obtain the same result with less skin trauma, or razor burn.

Q. Why are there so many substances claiming to be skin antioxidants?

A. Nature is full of antioxidants, allowing sustainable life in an oxygen-rich environment. The ability to resist oxidative damage is necessary for plant, amphibian, fish, bird, mammal and human life.

In order for a substance to act as an antioxidant, it must possess a free electron that can be donated to a reactive oxygen species.

Many substances contain a free electron. The most important antioxidant in the skin is vitamin E, functioning as a primary antioxidant.

However, once a vitamin E molecule has donated an electron to a reactive oxygen species, it can no longer function as an antioxidant. Vitamin C then steps in to donate an electron to vitamin E to donate to the reactive oxygen species. Since vitamin C is much easier to consume than vitamin E, it is the antioxidant that must be replenished through eating to provide skin antioxidant protection.

Many botanicals can also function as antioxidants, and all spices are antioxidants, since this is actually the mechanism by which they impart food preservation. All plant leaves contain antioxidants to a greater or lesser degree. There is nothing magical about an antioxidant, and they are readily available as raw materials for incorporation into skincare products.

Zoe Diana Draelos, M.D., is a Dermatology Times editorial adviser and investigator, Dermatology Consulting Services, High Point, N.C. Questions may be submitted via e-mail to zdraelos@northstate.net
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