Antioxidants. A rather long, scientific-sounding word that not many people are familiar with, but should they be?
Every culture as far back as recorded history can go has at least partially tied their standard of beauty in with youth. Thus, there are numerous stories of the search for eternal youth.
Today, with all of our treatments and cures that claim to be carriers of youth serum, it is difficult to know what can truly help and what is just another coat on the face.
Learning about antioxidants, though, isn’t a waste of your time. Instead, it could be a natural cure to so many of our dermatology problems.
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants, as defined by Medical News Today, “are substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.”
To put it in simpler terms, antioxidants are molecules. They fight free radicals that are in your body, causing harm if their levels begin to increase too much. Free radicals have been tied to cause, or increase risk of, multiple illnesses. These include diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, so nothing that anyone wants to mess around with if they have the option.
Free radicals are molecules in the body that contain oxygen but are unbalanced, in a sense. They have an uneven number of total electrons that make it easy for them to wreak havoc.
Antioxidants form an integral part of survival for any living being. So, of course, some antioxidants are natural, and you can find them in foods or inside plants. Over the last several decades, they have started to work on producing them synthetically to harness their benefits.
Another term that is helpful to understand as you read through the rest of the article is “oxidative stress.” It is a form of stress that occurs inside the body when an imbalance occurs between free radical compounds and the antioxidants in your system. The free radicals begin to react with other molecules that they shouldn’t and put stresses on specific areas of the body, often causing inflammation.
What Antioxidants Can Do for the Skin
There are so many different antioxidants, so it can be confusing when you try to apply this information to your skincare routine. What is going to help, and what is going just to be extra? Take a look at this list of the main benefits antioxidants can reap for the health of your skin.
Antioxidants can be a significant player in the battle against inflammation across any part of your body. Free radicals, and anywhere they are in excess, are heavily connected to inflammation because of damage and further interference they cause in natural bodily processes.
By fighting against free radicals, antioxidants are also fighting against inflammation. They soothe redness and can help to treat flakiness and other areas where the skin has become inflamed.
This point goes hand-in-hand with our last one since one of the major players in acne, especially difficult cases, is inflammation.
People that are prone to suffering from acne typically show signs of increased systemic oxidative stress. These signs include lower blood levels of important antioxidants vitamins A and E.
The stresses are also the cause of some new ways of acne. Since antioxidants help to combat oxidative stress, more and more studies and the proof is coming out that they are effective in some people’s battle against acne and clogged pores.
Help the Skin Repair Itself
When considering the first two points, the fact that antioxidants can help the skin more effectively repair itself might seem like a duh sort of statement. However, it is still valuable to point out since some people might not associate antioxidants to a healthier organ, the skin.
They do this through their charge against inflammation, clearing it to allow the skin the time and backup it needs to worth through its rejuvenation process.
Aid in Treating Rosacea
Rosacea is a skin condition that is caused by inflammation in the skin. It brings up all sorts of other problems, including blemishes, visible blood vessels, sensitive skin that tends to be quite dry, and facial redness.
This skin condition is caused by sun damage, harmful UV rays. It is also linked to increased oxidative stress. Since antioxidants are so good at reducing the harmful effects of oxidative stress and protecting from UV rays, it explains why they are useful in treating Rosacea.
Add Moisture to Your Skin
Not all antioxidants are capable of adding much-needed moisture back into the skin, but there are some that seem to specialize in it.
Vitamin E, as well as niacinamide, can be used to add some moisture into a skincare routine. They can even supplement the skin’s natural protective moisture barrier.
Prevent and Correct Signs of Aging
Oxidative stress is a major player in the process of aging. We know, oxidative stress again? What doesn’t this terrible stressor harm?
It works to break down collagen, the protein that acts as a building block for the rest of the body. It is what makes up the structure of the ligaments, bones, skin, tendons, and more inside the body.
As people age, their collagen begins to weaken. Increased oxidative stress can speed this process up. It causes wrinkles, age spots, and loose skin. Antioxidants that help to ease oxidative stress throughout the body are, in turn, working against the breakdown of collagen and the process of aging.
Help to Prevent Skin Cancer
Although this is still being substantiated, there are many claiming that antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E contain anti-carcinogenic properties.
By being released into the body, they can work to prevent skin cancer and help support healthier systems.
Stop You from Getting So Sunburnt.
We all know how harmful the sun’s UV rays can be to our skin. Yet many of us still insist on spending long summer hours basking in the glow. Although sun screen is still the most surefire way to go to protect yourself, antioxidants also do their part.
The way that they can help is by putting their anti-inflammatory properties to use. They blunt the automatic inflammatory response the skin has to the UV rays. It stops the skin from reacting to the sun by burning and causing so much pain.
This also helps with aging, since much of the problem with increased wrinkles and loose skin is caused by sun damage after years of overexposure.
Brighten Your Overall Skin Tone
Last but not least, since antioxidants help reduce the amount of photodamage to the skin, they also help foster a more even skin tone. The free radicals paired with overexposure to the sun can cause changes in the melanin production over our bodies.
These changes cause unevenness in the tone of the skin as well as increasingly obvious dark spots the older we are. Antioxidants can work as a tyrosinase to stimulate and balance out melanin production.
How to Incorporate Antioxidants Into Your Skincare Routine
Although many different molecules can be classed as an antioxidant, they do not all accomplish the same things in their fight against the free radicals in our bodies. Depending on the types of things you want to work on while you develop your skincare routine, different antioxidants will be more helpful than others.
Retinol or Vitamin A
Vitamin A comes in various forms, and retinol is one of them. It works to speed up skin cell turnover and boost the production of collagen. As we covered earlier, collagen is essential in supporting a youthful face. It aids in reducing wrinkles and keeping skin firm.
Pay attention as you begin to use it since it causes some amount of irritation and might be paired up with controversial preservatives.
Compounds That Contain Retinol
- Rosehip seed oil
- Algae extract (which you will find in all Lavelier products)
Vitamin C is well-known; one of the most researched antioxidants available since it is one of the more prolific in nature. It effectively fights against free radicals in the body, boosts collagen production, and works to fade dark spots. The issue is that vitamin C can be unstable and quickly lose its potency if it is exposed to air or light, so go for a quality product in good packaging, such as the Lavelier Nourishing Vitamin C Serum.
Compounds That Contain Vitamin C
- Fruits, especially berry extracts
Flavonoids are a common antioxidant that is mostly contained in botanicals. They are primarily found in black and green tea. These are one of those that help to treat rosacea by reducing inflammation and working to prevent oxidative stress. They work to absorb UV light and thus can be beneficial to reduce and delay aging.
Compounds That Contain Flavonoids
- Citrus fruit
- Green and black tea
Ferulic acid does have its own capacity to work against free radicals. However, it is really the most productive when it is paired with other antioxidants since it works best by boosting the effects from other antioxidants.
Ferulic acid helps to eliminate the lines that come with aging. Combined with vitamin C, the two do well at defending against and repairing the sun damage in the skin.
Compounds That Contain Ferulic Acid
- Wheat and other grains
CoenzymeQ10 or Ubiquinone
This enzyme’s presence in the body is what aids in preventing signs of fatigue being shown in the body, especially on the face. However, as people continue to age, the presence of the enzyme decreases and makes it so that the skin is more susceptible to wrinkles and will take damage from the sun harder than before.
Applying this antioxidant topically can help to fight the damage from free radicals and maintain the health of cells on the face. What’s more, it is easy to absorb through the skin and stimulate the production of collagen.
Compounds That Contain CoQ10
- Various muscle meats such as pork, chicken, and beef
- Fatty fish
- Oranges and strawberries
It wouldn’t be a quality list of useful antioxidants if it didn’t include Vitamin E. Everyone needs it to supply the proper processes for the function of organs, including the biggest one, the skin. It is widely known to speed up the healing process and aid in replenishing the skin. It is often an additional ingredient found in many different creams and moisturizers. It has even been shown to reduce stretch marks and keep skin soft, which helps prevent scars.
Compounds That Contain Vitamin E
- Vegetable oils
- Leafy vegetables
Resveratrol is a chemical compound that is found in grapes, berries, tea, and thus wine.
Resveratrol is used by plants to protect themselves from pollution, microbial infection, and intense UV radiation. As an antioxidant, it contains anti-carcinogenic properties. It also helps to prolong the life of cells in the body.
Compounds That Contain Resveratrol
- Red wine
- Green and black teas
EGCG (Epigallocatechin Gallate)
EGCG is not as widely used as some of the other antioxidants touted in the market. It is another plant compound that is found in its highest concentrations in tea. Studies have shown that, like many others, it helps to reduce inflammation, can promote health in the heart and brain, and might even help weight loss.
Compounds That Contain ECGC
- Teas such as green, oolong, white, and black
- Berry fruits
Who knew that wine could be such a positive force when saving your skin from early aging? It contains not only resveratrol, but also polyphenol, another plant-based vitamin. It has the anti-inflammatory properties that some antioxidants do and does a great job of preventing damage done by UV rays.
Polyphenols can be absorbed or ingested, being as they are quite adaptable and the body will be happy to put them to use any way it can. It helps to improve the skin’s defenses against stress and delay aging. There are even studies that show it might prevent skin cancer.
Compounds That Contain Polyphenols
- Green tea (which you will find in the Lavelier Marine Deep Moisturizer)
Which antioxidants are you going to be adding to your skincare routine?