Antioxidants fight “free radical” damage from the environment that causes signs of aging, including brown spots and wrinkles. They also enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens in preventing sun damage. During the day, the combination of antioxidants plus sunscreen provides a strong defense against wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration. At night, antioxidants reverse damage through cellular repair and healing.
So, what are they? Antioxidants are substances that prevent and repair damage caused by harmful “free radicals.” Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that have the potential to harm our body’s cells. The damage to cells caused by free radicals, especially the damage to DNA, may play a role in the development of cancers and other health concerns.
Antioxidants in skincare products include:
- Vitamin A (Retinol) helps skin create better, healthier skin cells and increase the production of substances such as ceramides. Retinol has been shown to increase the skin’s collagen production and glycosaminoglycan content (an important skin-protecting substance found in young skin), resulting in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function. If you want firmer, smoother skin, use retinol!
- Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) has been proven to increase collagen production, which is significant in the fight against wrinkles. Vitamin C reduces skin discolorations, strengthens the skin’s barrier response, enhances skin’s repair process, reduces inflammation, and helps skin better withstand exposure to sunlight.
- Vitamin E (Tocopherol) works in several ways to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage and from the early stages of ultraviolet light damage. It also works in powerful synergy with vitamin C.
- Resveratrol protects against sun damage, improves collagen production, and reduces cell damage. It also has significant anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is a major cause of multiple skin issues, from acne to rosacea to eczema. In addition, studies have shown that resveratrol inhibits skin cancer development.
- Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone), also known as CoQ10, helps provide energy for cells to grow and contributes to protecting them from cancer. A drop in natural levels of coenzyme Q10 occurs in our later years, which contributes to aging skin. CoQ10 works well in combination with Vitamin E to improve firmness and elasticity of skin.
- Green Tea Leaf Extract is a natural antioxidant that contains Methylxanthines, which stimulate microcirculation in the skin for improved skin tone. In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, Green Tea Leaf Extract slows the natural breakdown of collagen. This results in firmer, more youthful looking skin.
- Blackberry Leaf Extract is a natural antioxidant that protects against the breakdown of collagen and is rich in polyphenols. Studies show that polyphenols applied to the skin protect it against ultraviolet radiation and enhance skin cell growth. Because polyphenols can help improve moisture retention, they also are often an ingredient in moisturizers.
- Ergothioneine (EGT) is a powerful antioxidant found in mushrooms that boosts the skin’s ability to fight sun damage, specifically UV-A damage.
For added benefit, be sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants. In this case, what is good for your skin is also good for your body!
If you would like more information about how to incorporate antioxidants into your skincare regiment, please schedule a consultation with one of our skincare experts.