Here’s How Antioxidants Can Improve Your Skin
Though “antioxidants” has become a popular buzzword for skin care marketers, the way antioxidants affect the skin is often misunderstood by the general public. From reversing skin inflammation and irritation to smoothing wrinkles, here’s a brief look at how antioxidants can help your skin look and feel its best!
What are antioxidants?
If you have ever noticed a banana or apple turn brown shortly after being peeled you have seen the effect of oxidation. Oxidation is the process where damage from the air (which contains free radicals, pollutants, and other environmental factors) causes cell dysfunction. Your skin also experiences oxidation every day, though in a slower and less noticeable form.
Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals, and proteins that have the power to block or slow the oxidation process. In the case of the human body, antioxidants can work to prevent and repair tissue damage. Antioxidants naturally exist in the body, but their levels can decline with natural aging. This is why constantly replenishing your supply of antioxidants is important.
What benefits can antioxidants provide to my skin?
Antioxidants have been shown to improve both the health and the appearance of the skin. Some benefits of antioxidants include:
- Protection from free radicals: Antioxidants fortify skin cells, making them more resistant to the affects of free radicals and pollution. Antioxidant-containing skin creams can actually neutralize free radicals on contact. Think of this as literally preserving the skin.
- Sun protection: Antioxidants work to guard your skin cells from over exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Unlike sunscreen, antioxidants work from the inside by limiting the effects of absorbed radiation on the cells. However, while they do help to protect the skin, one should not rely on this alone. Sunscreen is still very important.
- Increased Collagen: Antioxidants can encourage the skin to produce more collagen, elastin, and other skin proteins. Collagen is extremely important for maintaining skin elasticity. Collagen levels also play a key role in keeping the skin looking supple and youthful.
- Anti-Aging properties: Antioxidants are a popular ingredient in many of today’s anti-aging products as they have the power to smooth fine lines and wrinkles while also reducing age spots and other pigmentation issues.
- Reducing Acne: Antioxidants like Vitamin A can help reduce the appearance of acne by unclogging pores and regulating the production of excess oil (sebum).
- Scar Treatment: Antioxidants can work to make scarring less visible on the skin by encouraging an increase in blood flow to scar tissue. This often helps blend the rigidness of a scar with surrounding skin.
How can I get more antioxidants?
There are three ways to increase your intake of skin health boosting antioxidants:
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods including leafy greens, fresh fruit, nuts, and grains. This post by Readers Digest provides a great list of foods that are high in antioxidants.
- Consider taking a daily antioxidant supplement.
- Add skin care products formulated with antioxidants to your current skin care regimen.