Powerful antioxidants to add to your skincare routine
We often hear about how beneficial antioxidants are for the skin . In fact they are widely used in cosmetics.
Antioxidants generally protect the skin by limiting the production of free radicals, which can damage it. Using them daily, they can reduce freckles (sun spots), help fight the visible signs of aging and calm skin inflammation.
Several antioxidants provide hydration to the skin and increase moisture retention to help revitalize dull, gray skin .
But what exactly are antioxidants ?
And how do they work? But, above all, what are the most effective antioxidants for facial skin?
What are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules (found in vitamins and minerals) that fight free radicals and prevent oxidative stress in cells .
The body makes some antioxidants of its own, such as glutathione, but the vast majority of antioxidants are obtained from foods or supplements. They are also synthetically replicated as skin care products.
Antioxidants are especially abundant in fresh fruits and vegetables. They are important for the health of the whole body, not just the skin.
Antioxidants and free radicals
To better understand the true power of antioxidants we need to understand the nature of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage cells , causing disease, cancer, inflammation and rapid skin aging. The body also naturally produces free radicals, but these can also come from exposure to various environmental factors such as ultraviolet rays from the sun, pollution, or even from lifestyles such as cigarette smoke and other chemicals.
Free radicals are unstable due to their uneven ratio of electrons to protons: a stable molecule has a uniform amount of electrons and protons. When a molecule splits and is left with an unpaired electron, the molecule becomes unstable.
An unstable molecule will try to balance itself by seeking an extra electron and stealing it from another molecule (in the skin atoms). This creates a chain reaction that damages cells.
An overload of free radicals in our system causes oxidative stress, i.e. an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body's ability to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects.
Antioxidants provide missing electrons to unstable molecules, preventing the need for these molecules to steal an electron from another molecule. This process interrupts the chain reaction, heals cells and prevents damage caused by free radicals.
Antioxidants are found naturally in our bodies and in some of our foods, but are also synthetically replicated as skin care products that benefit the skin. They are also replicated as supplements in some foods and beverages.
Benefits of antioxidants for the skin
We mentioned that antioxidants are abundant in fresh, healthy foods, and many studies suggest eating a diet rich in antioxidants to help prevent aging and stay healthy longer.
However many skin care products incorporate antioxidants into their formulations to deliver their benefits directly to the skin.
What are the benefits of antioxidants for the skin ?
For example, the transformative benefits, which include hydrating and brightening skin, reducing wrinkles , and easing inflammation and rosacea.
Oxidative stress (cell damage caused by free radicals) is one of the main causes of skin aging. The skin undergoes oxidative stress through environmental factors, such as pollution and UV rays from the sun, and through unhealthy habits, such as cigarette smoking and the consumption of processed foods.
By stabilizing free radicals, antioxidants protect the skin from oxidative stress, allowing skin cells to heal and regenerate at a much faster rate. Free radicals are well known to destroy the natural collagen and elasticity of our skin, triggering rapid aging.
Read also: " How to take care of the skin of the face "
5 Big Benefits Of Antioxidants For Skin
Antioxidants have an anti-aging effect . With years of exposure to the sun and pollutants, skin begins to show the effects of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, hinders the skin's natural repair process, and triggers inflammation. The effects translate into wrinkles, loose skin, acne breakouts, and a patchy skin tone.
Skin antioxidants are helpful in fighting this damage by balancing the unstable molecules that reduce natural collagen and elasticity and damage skin tissue.
This stabilizing process helps reduce wrinkles and restore the skin's natural youthfulness.
Skin antioxidants help prevent sun damage . All antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, prevent sunburn and provide greater protection against sun damage and cellular photoaging.
Antioxidants help the skin repair itself . Inflammation impedes the skin cell renewal process. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow the skin to repair itself and correct visible damage.
Antioxidants help brighten skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation . Free radicals and frequent sun exposure can also trigger changes in our skin's melanin production, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone.
Hyperpigmentation, caused by hormonal changes, sun damage, acne and irregular melanin production, can be regulated with antioxidants.
By reducing photodamage, antioxidants can help prevent abnormal skin pigmentation. Some antioxidants (such as vitamin C) also work to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production.
Antioxidants fight acne .
Free radicals are also responsible for acne. These unstable molecules cause inflammation on the skin, which creates clogged pores. The skin reacts to clogged pores with red, swollen patches or pimples .
Since antioxidants diminish the effects of free radicals that lead to acne, antioxidants are an effective anti-acne solution.
The most effective antioxidants for skin care
The following ingredients are some of the most used antioxidants in the skincare routine :
- Vitamin C : It is one of the most widely used skin antioxidants. You may also find it listed as L-ascorbic acid or ester-C. Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production and is also helpful in fading dark spots.
- Vitamin E : Has the ability to speed up the healing process of the skin. It's often found in moisturizers, creams, and lotions formulated to treat dry skin, and in products designed to reduce stretch marks .
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide): Improves skin tone and texture and helps fade dark spots. It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient, great for acne and rosacea, and boosts the performance of other antioxidants.
- Retinol : is a form of vitamin A and is probably the most effective over-the-counter ingredient for reducing wrinkles. It also accelerates cell turnover and smoothes the skin.
- Ferulic Acid : Topical ferulic acid may protect against sun damage. It is most effective when used together with topical vitamins C and E.
- Coenzyme Q10 : is one of the antioxidants produced by the body. It is found naturally in the skin but decreases as we age. It can improve skin elasticity and texture.
- Botanical extracts (phytoextracts): In skin care products, you will find a myriad of botanical extracts, for their antioxidant properties. The most common include green tea or white tea, coffee, calendula and rosemary.
- Curcumin : is a polyphenol present in turmeric, a spice. It has anti-inflammatory and skin lightening properties.
- Resveratrol : This compound found in grapes, berries, red wine and tea helps in UV protection and is anti-inflammatory. It can also increase collagen and elastin .
- Flavonoids . They reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. They also help reduce collagen degradation and delay skin aging.
- Grape Seed Extract . It is included in topical cosmetic formulations for anti-aging products. It comes from Vitis vinifera and is rich in proanthocyanidins, which belong to the flavonoid family. Proanthocyanidins are powerful antioxidants that are involved in the elimination of free radicals. Grapeseed oil is produced from the extract, which in addition to having antioxidant properties is also an emollient and a useful ingredient for dull skin.
- Lycopene . Powerful antioxidant easily absorbed by the skin, it is a cartinoid found in most red vegetables. In addition to fighting free radicals, lycopene promotes collagen production.
Choose a skin care product rich in antioxidants
Today, you will find many skin care products with antioxidant ingredients on the market. You probably already have some at home that you use every day, precisely because they are now very popular ingredients.
But which products to choose among the many on the market?
- What do you want to get from your product? Each cosmetic has its own functions. Do you want to reduce skin spots? Protect it from sun damage? Reduce wrinkles?
- Try different products until you find the right one . You need to feel good about using a skincare product, no matter the brand or trends. Bear in mind that you will need to use it regularly.
- Look for a product that contains more antioxidants . Why? Skin care products that contain several antioxidant ingredients offer higher antioxidant activity and are therefore more effective.
- Consider the other ingredients in the product . There are also other ingredients that bring important benefits to the skin, not just antioxidants. Hyaluronic acid , for example, is an amazing substance for hydrating dry skin. Glycolic acid , lactic acid and mandelic acid brighten your complexion and also fight aging.