The Role of Antioxidants in Skincare: Why they're important for healthy skin
The Role of Antioxidants in Skincare
When it comes to maintaining healthy and youthful looking skin, the number one term you are going to come across when talking to dermatologists or professional aestheticians is antioxidants. While this term is thrown around a lot in the skincare world, it is considered an essential component for individuals wanting to combat aging, fight against cell damage and free radicals, and protect against environmental pollutions. Now, as fantastic as it is to provide your skin with antioxidants, it is probably better to know what their role in healthy skin care is. In this article, we are going to take a look at how antioxidants help against aging, free radicals, and what their benefits are.
What Are Antioxidants & What Are They Used For?
The term, antioxidants, describes a group of naturally occurring minerals and vitamins that impede and help the body defend against cell damage, which is caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. They are produced by the body, can be obtained through foods that have them, and are found in topical treatments, like skin care products. The body uses antioxidants to balance out the effects of oxidative stress by neutralizing free radical damage. Here is how.
The Role of Oxidative Stress
When your body is exposed to things like city pollution, cigarette smoke, emotional stress, UV radiation, and a poor diet, your body becomes stressed. If you are not doing things to negate this stress, it becomes oxidative, meaning that there is an imbalance between the body’s ability to counteract the harmful effects of the stress and the number of free radicals being produced. When oxidation occurs, it is responsible for cellular aging, it damages skin cells, and it contributes to cell degeneration.
What Happens At the Cellular Level Though?
When your body has free radicals, which are molecules that cause damage to different areas of your cells (DNA, outer barrier, cell proteins), a chain reaction occurs. A free radical molecule is unstable and highly reactive because it is missing an electron and therefore, attacks the nearest stable molecule to steal an electron from it and use it as a replacement. When the thievery takes place, the free radical will damage the stable cell’s membrane, it’s lipids, its proteins, and its DNA, in an attempt to flee the electron. If the free radical is successful in stealing the electron, the now victimized cell must search out its own replacement, setting off a massive disruption in cell production and growth. Due to this, you end up with some significant cell damage as a result. Cell breakdown and tissue damage can lead to wrinkles, cancer, eye diseases, cardiovascular disease, and even age-related macular degeneration. In short, it can become very serious, very fast.
What Does the Antioxidant Do at the Cellular Level?
The antioxidants seek out free radicals and bind to the unstable electron, stopping it from needing to seek out and pair its electron. This prevents other cells from being damaged and attacked in the process.
So Why Is This Important to Skincare?
The best way to protect yourself from free radical damage is to wear skin care products that have antioxidants in them. Not only does this protect you from UV radiation and premature aging, but it also protects you from forming free radicals as a result of pollution, second-hand smoke, and emotional stress.
What Are The Benefits of Adding Antioxidants to Your Skincare Routine?
• They Provide Pollution Protection. Although you cannot see it, your skin takes quite a beating when it comes to environmental stressors like pollution. When you take on too much damage from harmful environmental impacts like living in the city or taking on too much sunlight, you end up with a dull skin tone, sagging skin, and wrinkles.
• They Can Help Firm the Skin Up. As you age, your skin's ability to generate collagen decreases, which is the substance that provides you with firm skin. Antioxidants can help slow this deterioration down by revitalizing the skin’s surface.
• They Soothe the Skin. A lot of antioxidants will replenish your skin by soothing out red areas or areas that are under stress. Individuals who have rosacea find that they have excellent results with using antioxidants from green tea.
• They Provide a Better Complexion. If you have dull, uneven skin, antioxidants can improve the appearance by brightening it up. Vitamin C is perfect for this.
• They Fight Fine Lines and Wrinkles. Skin care products formulated with antioxidants, specifically Vitamin C and E, can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What Antioxidants Are Best For Your Skin & Why?
1. Vitamin E
This is one of the most well-known antioxidants available as it comes in natural and synthetic forms. It is often found in sunscreens because it defends the skin against stress caused by UV light exposure. It also works well in tandem with Vitamin C and is found in serums and moisturizers.
2. Vitamin C
Is another potent antioxidant that diminishes uneven skin tones, wrinkles, and fine lines. When applied topically, it calms down the skin, hydrates it, and helps the skin stand against free radical impact. Find skin care products that have concentrations between 0.5% and 20% in items like eye creams and lip balms.
Also known as Vitamin A, Retinol has a long-established reputation for being a fantastic skin-restorative ingredient. It can help smooth out rough textures, improve fine lines and wrinkles, and even dilate back enlarged pores and skin bumps. It helps improve the skin’s resilience, creates a healthier appearance, and has anti-aging qualities. If you are looking to minimize wrinkles, uneven skin tones, and fine lines, it can help. It also softens red areas, unclogs congested pores and is found in serums, moisturizers, and body treatments.
This potent antioxidant is found in nuts, red wines, red grapes, and even some fruits like cranberries. When it is applied topically to the skin’s surface, it helps brighten up tired complexions, calms down the skin, minimizes redness, and acts as a protective barrier to negative environmental effects. You will find it commonly in eye creams and moisturizers.
5. Green Tea
While we all know that drinking green tea is incredibly useful for our health and even helps us burn away fat, it also acts as a potent antioxidant when applied topically to the skin. There has been a significant amount of research into green tea that points towards it having anti-aging benefits due to the antioxidant epigallocatechin-3 gallate, also known as EGCG. When this antioxidant is applied topically to the skin, it defends it against harmful environmental factors, soothes out red areas, and has a calming effect. You will find it commonly in moisturizers.
When using antioxidants in your skincare routine, you really can’t go wrong. Beyond being able to prevent damage from free radicals, antioxidants can also help prevent sunburns, improve the skin repair itself by reducing inflammation, correct signs of aging, and even prevent skin cancer. If you are looking to correct or prevent the signs of aging and sun induced damage, try the Vitamin C+ serum. This antioxidant rich cocktail provides superior hydration while evening skin-tone, protecting from environmental exposure, and supporting collagen synthesis.
If you are interested in learning more about how antioxidants in skincare and what specific antioxidants are best for your skin, talk to an Esthetician at our Day Spa in Largo, FL today!