Fighting free radicals is important. What are free radicals? These are molecules looking for another molecule to combine with or “oxidate.” The problem is that they typically oxidize good, healthy cells in our bodies.
Free radicals are typically sourced from environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, alcohol, and stress. They can damage the body’s cells and tissues to the point that they can contribute to many diseases, including cancer, and at a minimum, can accelerate the aging process – including your skin.
Your diet is the best source of antioxidants. The most effective free radical scavenging ingredient is proanthocyanidin, commonly found in grape seeds, grape skin, and pine bark (pycnogenol). Other effective antioxidants include Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E.
Based on research by Debasis Bagchi, PhD, of Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, other effective antioxidants include natural beta-carotene, astaxanthin (from certain seafood), Vitamin C, and Vitamin E. The importance of natural beta carotene was demonstrated by the fact that the carrot-derived version was twice as potent as synthetic beta-carotene found in pill form.
How do antioxidants help keep our skin looking young and healthy? By protecting both collagen and elastin, two components of the connective tissue in our skin. It is this connective tissue that gives skin its firmness and support – without which, wrinkles and lines appear.