You’ve probably heard the term ‘antioxidant’ thrown about as it relates to your health. And well, it’s quite true, antioxidants are essential to your overall health – as well as to the health of your skin.
What Are Antioxidants?
Remarkable, naturally occurring substances, antioxidants are a category of molecules, both natural and synthetic, that are essential to healthy bodily functions.
In fact, antioxidants play an important role in the body. They act as a counterweight to ‘free radicals’ on the skin – and in the body. (More on free radicals in a moment.)
Antioxidants are present in nature in the form of vitamins, minerals and enzymes that exist within the body and in the natural plant world around us. Quite efficiently, the body produces some antioxidants on its own. Others are obtained rather inefficiently through the foods we eat, particularly nutritive fruits and vegetables. (All the more reason to get your daily intake of veggies!)
Among the most powerful antioxidants found in the body, and in our skin cells, are Glutathione and Superoxide Dismutase. These two essential, natural substances form somewhat of a first line of defense within the body, protecting cell integrity and preserving cell health – and thus the health of our skin.¹
Fruits and vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium and Vitamins A, C and E are readily absorbed through our diet. They are present in fruits and vegetables, nuts, pulses (including peas, chickpeas, and lentils) as well as some oily fish. Vitamin B3, or Niacinamide, is synthetically produced in a lab and is one of the most powerful antioxidants used in skincare.
Additionally, many plant extracts possess high antioxidant activity; among these are Green Tea Leaf Extract, Turmeric Root Extract and Ginseng Root Extract.
While the body has two natural sources of antioxidants – those made by the body itself and those obtained through our diet – there is a third, effective means of delivering these essential defensive substances to the skin: topical skin care.
What Do Antioxidants Do for Skin?
As you go about your day, your skin is naturally exposed to the elements – to the sun’s UV rays, pollution, and smoke. These all result in what are termed ‘free radical attacks’ and the damage these aggressors can cause takes a toll on your skin. Short of needing to wear a protective bubble when leaving the house, nature has a way of mitigating free radical damage. The solution is antioxidants.
What are free radicals and why are they bad?
You may have heard the term ‘free radicals’ in skincare marketing and even in discussions with your dermatologist. But what are free radicals? Well, they’re as unpleasant as they sound.
Free radicals are ‘scavenger’ molecules that wreak havoc on the skin and accelerate signs of aging by compromising barrier function and the skin’s ability to regenerate itself; that is, to create new skin cells and shed old, dead cells.
According to the website Healthline, “Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. The uneven number allows them to easily react with other molecules. Free radicals can cause large chain chemical reactions in your body because they react so easily with other molecules. These reactions are called oxidation. They can be beneficial or harmful.”²
Some of the most common signs of oxidation are likely familiar to you. A sliced apple left out on the kitchen counter for an hour or two will begin to turn brown. That effect is the result of oxidation. Additionally, oxidation is the process by which a lead pipe rusts over time.
When it comes to the skin, one cause of the most common signs of aging, including the appearance of lines and wrinkles, is free radical damage due to environmental exposure and oxidative stress.
Antioxidants are essential for defending skin from oxidative stress and the damage it can cause. The best face creams and anti-aging face serums are infused with antioxidants to help defend skin and prevent signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, hyperpigmentation and dark spots on the complexion.
Along with sunscreen, a moisturizer with antioxidants like Niacinamide is a must for me.
Chris Salgardo, Founder, The Majestic Man
You can help to mitigate skin-aging damage by incorporating products into your daily regimen that contain powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C and Niacinamide as well as plant extracts like Turmeric Root Extract that possess potent antioxidant activity on the skin.
Chris Salgardo, founder of The Majestic Man, makes certain the products he uses deliver the antioxidant defense his skin needs. “Along with sunscreen, a moisturizer with antioxidants like Niacinamide is a must for me. That’s why it’s so important to read your labels and know what’s in the products you’re using. Keep it simple, but make sure it keeps your skin as healthy as possible, too.”