Trace elements and vitamins are the primary catalysts of enzyme oxidation-reduction processes. There are about fifteen trace elements currently reputed to be essential to the biological processes of the skin:

Zn, Fe, Co, Mn, Cr, V, Ca, Mo, Cu, Se, As, Sn, F, Si, and I

Trace elements are especially important as enzyme activators (dismutases, phosphatases, kinases) they have an anti-radical activity, they catalyse redox reactions and appear to be stable constituents of metalloenzymes. The compensation capacity of the human organism is as individual as longevity is for each of us. Oxygen radicals are formed in all inflammatory processes, singlet oxygen derives from the arachidonic acid lipo-oxygenation pathway (enzymatic demolition of biomembranes) that trigger the inflammation mediators such as prostaglandins, leukotrienes and thromboxane. An appropriate radical scavenger in these processes is, for example, beta-carotene.

Oxygen radicals are formed physiologically in the haem of the erythrocytes, in macro and micro respiratory bursts by means of the monooxygenases of all somatic cells, in the mitochondrial respiratory chain, in the detoxification of heterologous substances, and in the degradation of the medications and ethanol.

It should be noted that the scavenger enzymes can be significantly disturbed by environmental pollutants, especially toxic ions of heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, etc.). The kidneys are the most important organs for the excretion of trace elements. A simple urine test can be used to evaluate the presence of the markers of oxidative stress, the activity of DNA repair, such as for instance 8OH deoxyguanosine.