Everything You Need to Know about Antioxidants
Why are antioxidants essential in your skincare?
Antioxidants have become a vital part of our skincare routine, thanks to their high-achieving ingredients. Once considered a bit of an industry insiders’ secret, they have made the crossover into mainstream use, becoming something we can’t do without.
They have taken their rightful place alongside serum, multi-masking and actives as one of the most popular skincare ingredients ever. So just why are antioxidants a staple of many people’s beauty regime today?
Vitamin C is the most-searched-for skincare term, while antioxidants are the most popular skincare ingredients ever, according to international data analyst Mintel. The secret to their success is the way they protect the skin by limiting the production of free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are responsible for breaking down collagen in the skin, resulting in skin blemishes such as wrinkles, fine lines, loose skin and dark spots. They impact on everyone, no matter what your skin type.
In simple terms, a chemical phenomena known as oxidative stress causes the oxygen in our body to split into single atoms. Normally, atoms or electrons like to be in pairs, so when they split and become a single atom, they are known as a free radical.
The free radicals move around the body, trying to seek out other electrons and become a pair again. This causes damage to our body’s proteins and cells, resulting in the unflattering effects on the appearance and feel of our skin.
The Apple Test
A good analogy is to compare the effects of free radicals on our skin with how they affect a freshly-cut apple. When it is first cut, it’s fresh and bright, because it hasn’t been exposed to free radicals yet. However, if left out for a few hours, it becomes brown and mottled.
This occurs because it has been attacked by free radicals and has undergone oxidation. This is also what happens to our skin, except it takes longer than a few hours. Although the visuals aren’t exactly the same, this deterioration in the appearance and feel of the apple is happening to our skin every day.
Free radicals can trigger pigmentation and premature aging as well as certain skin diseases.
How do antioxidants help?
Antioxidants – particularly the most famous ascorbic acid, or vitamin C – help to shield our skin from this free radical damage. In addition, vitamin C has other benefits, as it provides anti-ageing properties, boosts collagen, helps to break up pigmentation and gives skin a healthy glow.
Antioxidants work by limiting the production of free radicals. Using antioxidants daily can reduce lentigines or sun spots, helping to combat the visible signs of ageing and calming skin inflammations.
They provide the skin with extra hydration and increase the retention of moisture, helping to revitalise even the dullest-looking skin.
Are free radicals found elsewhere?
While free radicals are produced naturally in the body, they can also be found in external sources. They are becoming more prevalent in the atmosphere as a result of pollution. Where you live can play a role in how much pollution you encounter and the additional risks your skin might face.
If you live in an industrial area, there is likely to be a higher concentration of pollutants in the air, many of which are recognised as increasing the production of free radicals.
They can be found in smog, dust, household cleaning products, cigarette smoke and some agricultural pesticides, so our skin may be under attack without even realising it. If free radicals from external sources enter the skin, this can ultimately lead to cell death.
Applying antioxidants can combat this process and the subsequent skin damage by neutralising the free radical atoms before they can cause harm. Antioxidants supply the missing electron they are searching for, before the condition of our skin deteriorates.
Can anyone use antioxidants?
You are never too young to practice a healthy skincare routine, in our twenties, we see the start of collagen breakdown the rate of this breakdown increases as we age.
This is a pivotal moment for our skin’s health when adding more antioxidants in your daily skincare routine can make the most significant difference.
Some of the main antioxidants most people know include vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, ferulic acid, green tea extract, grapeseed extract and the plant compound resveratrol.
Some boost collagen production, while others target dark spots, reducing their appearance. Some will soothe skin inflammation and repair scar tissue. The beauty of this family of antioxidants is that they work well together, providing multiple benefits in a super-formula that you can integrate into your daily skincare routine.
How do antioxidants reach the relevant areas?
Thanks to the formulation of skincare products containing antioxidants, they can be applied topically. They have an active nature and are subject to clever encapsulation techniques, ensuring they enter the skin at surface level and penetrate to the lower levels, where their power to fight free radicals is most beneficial.
The key is to find a skincare routine unique to your own personal skin type. Here at Skinora, our doctors offer a full skin analysis to find the products best suited to you. They have extensive training and many years’ experience in treating all types of skin conditions. If you’re unsure of the best formulations for your unique skin type, take our skin type quiz and schedule a consultation with a doctor to find out what Skinora can do for you.
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