Antioxidants in Skin Care
Antioxidants Protect Against Free Radicals
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent the oxidation of other molecules. In biological functions, normal processes of oxidation produce highly reactive compounds known as free radicals, which are unstable compounds with unpaired electrons that steal electrons from healthy molecules. Free radicals are created both by your body's use of oxygen and factors in the environment such as sunlight, wind, temperature extremes, smoke, and toxic materials.
The three primary antioxidant nutrients that are the most beneficial to your skin:
Vitamin A (beta carotene) protects yellow, dark green and orange fruits and vegetables from sun damage and may have a similar effect in the human body. Vitamin A helps your skin generate new cells.
Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is soluble in water and is found in oranges, broccoli, green peppers, green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, strawberries, and raw cabbage. Besides protecting your skin from damage by ultraviolet radiation, Vitamin C promotes collagen production; this helps your skin look firmer and smoother.
Vitamin E (tocopherol) is a primary fat-soluble antioxidant found in seeds, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ, green leafy vegetables, vegetable oil and the liver oil of cold water fish. Because your skin contains high amounts of unsaturated fatty acids that are prone to damage by free radicals, Vitamin E protects cell membranes and lipoproteins, helps your skin retain moisture, and may help prevent age spots and scarring.
Vitamins E and C are can be applied topically and ingested. Vitamin E, probably the best-known antioxidant, is the strongest of the antioxidant vitamin family and increases the longevity of red blood cells. Vitamin C complements other antioxidants. Because Vitamin C has been known to ward off colds and topical Vitamin E applied to cuts and scars can improve healing, daily use of both Vitamins E and C suggests effective anti-aging benefits.
Foods such as grape seed, pomegranate juice, and garlic contain particularly effective forms of antioxidants. For example, garlic may protect against heavy metals such as mercury or lead.
Another well-known anti-aging skin care product is alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are also antioxidants. While found naturally in fruits and milk, certain skin care creams now contain AHAs.
An effective anti-aging routine should include antioxidants from several sources. It is not only important to eat foods naturally rich in antioxidants, but also to supplement your diet with antioxidant vitamins. It is equally important to use topical antioxidant cremes and lotions, especially those that list vitamins A, B, C, and E and AHAs in their ingredients. This practice will not only improve skin tone and appearance, but your body will benefit from the other healthy effects of antioxidants.
Recommended skin care products with antioxidants:
ReNew Youth™ Retinol Cream (Vitamin A)
Microdermabrasion Facial Exfoliating Cream (Vitamin E)
Mango Miracle™ Day Moisturizer with Hyaluronic Acid (Vitamin E)