You might be aware that antioxidants are in some of your favourite skin care products, but maybe not what they actually are or how they work. Well, it’s worth getting familiar with this all-star class of ingredients because antioxidants can do a world of good for your skin.
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. In short, antioxidants are damage defenders that help slow skin aging—and they deserve a place in your routine.
Free Radicals and Antioxidants
If you’ve ever seen a sliced apple turn brown, you’ve witnessed the process of oxidation, which is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons. To gain stability, they react with other molecules, triggering a chain reaction that damages healthy cells.
Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, but they can also come from exposure to environmental factors like UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke and other chemicals.
Once an overload of free radicals is present in our system, it causes oxidative stress, or an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects.
Fortunately, studies have shown that the inclusion of antioxidants in your skin care regimen can help your skin fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress.
What Antioxidants Can Do 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 effects 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 sun damage.
By definition, all antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties. 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.
Inflammation impedes the skin’s renewal 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 pigmentation. Some antioxidants (again, like vitamin C) also work to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme that stimulates melanin production.