Do you wish there was a magic potion that can delay skin aging and protect it from further damage? Everyone wants a dip in the “fountain of youth” and it looks like antioxidants are the closest you'll get.
Antioxidants protect the skin by limiting free radical production, which can damage the skin. With daily use, they can reduce sun spots, help combat visible signs of aging and calm skin inflammations. Several antioxidants provide the skin with hydration and increase moisture retention to help revitalize dull-looking skin.
5 Benefits of Antioxidants for Your Skin
Antioxidants help correct signs of age.
Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, hinders skin’s natural repair process and triggers inflammation—and you see these as fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne breakouts and a blotchy skin tone. By scavenging free radicals, antioxidants can help prevent and correct these visible signs and give skin a more youthful glow.
Antioxidants help prevent sunburn.
“By definition, all antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties,” explains board-certified dermatologist Ashley Magovern, medical director at Dermstore. “They blunt your skin’s inflammatory response to the sun’s harmful rays, preventing sunburn and providing enhanced protection against sun damage and photoaging.”
Antioxidants help skin repair itself.
Inflamed skin impedes the skin’s rejuvenation process. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow skin to repair itself and correct visible damage. Some antioxidants, like vitamin C, can also stimulate collagen production, which is vital for youthful skin.
Antioxidants help brighten skin tone.
Free radicals and frequent sun exposure can also trigger changes in our skin’s melanin production, causing dark spots and uneven skin tone. By reducing photodamage, antioxidants can help prevent abnormal skin pigmentations. Some antioxidants also work as a tyrosinase (an enzyme that stimulates melanin production) inhibitor.
Antioxidants may help prevent skin cancer.
Some antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E, have anti-carcinogenic properties and may help prevent skin cancer.
The Best Antioxidants for Your Skin
Antioxidants are all designed to protect the cells from UV light, pollution and other environmental elements that produce damaging free radicals, but some are found to be more potent than others. Here are just some of the most popular antioxidants found in your skin care products:
1. VITAMIN C
A favorite among dermatologists, vitamin C is one of the most studied antioxidants available on the market. It's naturally found in our skin and it works in 3 majors ways: to protect skin from UV sun damage, to brighten the skin and reduce pigmentation, and to increase collagen production. Vitamin C also reduces inflammation and increases skin hydration. There are natural sources of Vitamin C in Rosehips, Sea Buckthorn Berries, Strawberries, Marula Oil, and citrus fruits.
2. VITAMIN A
If there’s one anti-aging ingredient that’s been proven time and time again to help turn back the clock on aging skin, it’s retinol aka Vitamin A. Skin is a retinoid-responsive organ, able to readily absorb vitamin A when applied topically. Retinol stimulates production of new skin cells. Without it, skin can become overly dry. There are two types of vitamin A: retinoids (animal based) and carotenoids (plant based). According to research, a deficit of retinol can also cause follicular hyperkeratosis, a condition marked by too much keratin in the hair follicles, causing raised papules to form on skin.
Vitamin E is an important vitamin required for the proper function of many organs in the body, including the skin. Aside from being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is widely recognized for its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing process. No wonder it is often found in moisturizers, creams and lotions formulated to treat dry skin as well as products designed to reduce stretch marks.
A chemical compound found mostly in the skins of fruits like grapes and berries, peanuts, tea and red wine, resveratrol serves as the plant’s defensive armor. It’s an antimicrobial substance produced by plants to protect themselves from air pollution, infection, intense UV radiation and extreme climate changes. Some studies also vouch for its cancer-fighting abilities. As for how this antioxidant does this may have something to do with the way it boosts the activity of mitochondria, the cells’ powerhouses, promoting longer cell life in the body.
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A well-functioning epidermis is essential to protect us from free radicals. The more our epidermal lipid barrier is stabilized, the more it can fully absorb the vitamins and nutrients from our skin care products and achieve optimal results. Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a powerful antioxidant that improves the skin’s texture and tone. It reduces fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties. Water-soluble and suitable for all skin types, this vitamin is often used to treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne and is not known to cause any adverse reactions.
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Great news: That one glass of wine at happy hour and your secret stash of chocolate can help save your skin, all thanks to polyphenol. This plant-based vitamin, which can be found in vegetables, green tea, fruits and chocolates, possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to prevent UV-induced skin photo damage.
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Two classes of flavonoids have been found to be especially beneficial to skin: proanthocyanidins (found in grapes and pine bark) and polyphenols (found in green tea). These antioxidants work to strengthen blood vessels and stabilize elastin and collagen, two proteins that form part of the skin's supporting network. Studies show that flavonoids, an antioxidant found in green and black teas, have the potential to treat rosacea, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress.
This polyphenol antioxidant is found in turmeric root—that yellow-gold-colored spice that’s popular in Mediterranean cuisines...and on Instagram. Curcumin is sad to help decrease inflammation, accelerate wound healing, prevent oily skin and acne, fight free radicals, and is photo-protective, anti-aging and anti-microbial.
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