What You Need to Know about Antioxidants
Chances are, you’re already familiar with the term “antioxidants”, especially as it relates to superfoods and other nutrition-based subjects. You probably recognize that superfoods like avocados, blueberries, pomegranates, and green tea are touted for their antioxidant powers, but you may be a little less familiar with the positive impact that some of these same antioxidants can have on your skin. So what exactly are these molecules, and what makes them so beneficial to your health, both inside and out?
What are Antioxidants, Exactly?
As their name suggests, antioxidants prevent the oxidation of other molecules in your body. When oxidation occurs, it can produce free radicals, or unpaired electrons, which can be very chemically reactive toward other substances. Thus, free radicals can severely damage cells. This is where antioxidants come into play, either by inhibiting excessive free radicals from forming in the first place, or by stopping their potentially harmful reactions within cells. (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)
Of course, different antioxidants benefit different parts of the body. You probably know, for example, that eating carrots can improve your eye health. That’s because beta-carotene is an antioxidant that affects the eyes, as well as other body parts like ovaries and breast tissues. Thus, you would choose foods rich in this antioxidant if you want to improve your health in these areas. (US National Library of Medicine)
While antioxidants do naturally occur in your body already, choosing the right foods, supplements, and even topical creams and serums can boost their presence, resulting in a whole host of health benefits. (US National Library of Medicine)
Why Antioxidants are Great for Your Skin
In the same way that carrots are good for your eyes, certain antioxidants are known to be highly beneficial when applied topically to the skin. In particular, most antioxidants that are used in skincare products help to reduce or eliminate the oxidizing effects of UV rays, which can cause skin cancer and other skin conditions. This property makes many antioxidants great additions to sunscreens and other daily moisturizers.
Perhaps the most famous and versatile antioxidant is vitamin C. It is popularly used in skincare products because it can help to prevent and treat skin damage caused by UV rays. Vitamin C has also been shown to play a role in collagen synthesis, which can help to reverse and prevent signs of aging in the skin. Because vitamin C is such a powerhouse antioxidant, there are many skin serums available that combine it with other vitamins and minerals that can really do wonders for your skin.
One such serum is CE Ferulic, which contains a blend of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid. So not only does this serum boast all the benefits of vitamin C, but when paired with vitamin E and ferulic acid, this blend has been shown to nearly double the antioxidant power of vitamin C alone. Thus, this serum blend is a great anti-wrinkle treatment, and it can also prevent sun damage and fade dark spots.
CE Ferulic serum is also incredibly easy to apply. With just 4 or 5 drops to your face and neck area before applying makeup or sunscreen, this addition to your skincare routine is quick, easy, and full of health benefits. (The Dermatology Review)
Like CE Ferulic serum, Phloretin CF combines vitamin C and ferulic acid to boost its antioxidant properties. The difference between the two is the swap of vitamin E for 2 percent phloretin in the Phloretin CF formula, which is meant to make the effects of its antioxidant power even broader. Like CE Ferulic, Phloretin CF serum can also improve the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and discolorations of the skin, as well as prevent and possibly treat UV skin damage by neutralizing free radicals. This makes both it and CE Ferulic great complements to sunscreens, as they can boost your UV protection. (The Dermatology Review)
Choosing a Sunscreen
With all this talk of the power of antioxidants in preventing sun damage, you might be wondering how this changes the game in terms of sunscreen. While applying topical antioxidants to your skin can offer you extra natural protection, you’ll still want to rely on an effective sunscreen. Even if you don’t plan on spending your day at the beach or otherwise out in the sun, it’s still important to keep your skin protected from UV rays that can be damaging even on a cloudy or rainy day.
SkinCeuticals offers a few great daily sunscreen options that employ natural antioxidants to keep your skin safe. Their Physical Fusion sunscreen doesn’t contain any parabens or other skin irritants and is gentle and light enough to be used daily under makeup. If you tend to have oily skin, you might want to try their Physical Matte sunscreen, which offers the same great natural protection as Physical Fusion, but is formulated to maintain an even matte finish throughout the day.
Our Last Word on Antioxidants
While the healing and preventative powers of antioxidants have been known for centuries, many people don’t know to look for these ingredients in their skincare products. But because they can be effective at reducing those harmful free radicals that cause so many health problems, paying attention to what’s in your cosmetic products can actually benefit your overall health.
If you’re concerned about sun damage, wrinkles, or other skin problems, Acqua Blu Medical Spa in Pittsburgh or Wexford locations offer a variety of noninvasive skin treatments that can help you get your skin back on track. To schedule your consultation with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ana Busquets, Dr. Susannah McClain or physician assistant Christopher Foti, contact Acqua Blu Medical Spa at (724) 933-1800.24.933.1800