What are Antioxidants and Free Radicals: A Complete Guide
Learn about the powers of antioxidants in skincare, what antioxidants are and how they protect against free radicals in this comprehensive guide. Learn more.
Beloved by the beauty and health industry antioxidants are known for their protective properties and powerful results. They perform an important role within cell compounds, aiding and restoring internal and external damage in your cell’s molecules. Understanding how antioxidants work highlights the importance of incorporating and maximising antioxidants into your body and skincare routine.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are defined as a substance that inhibits oxidation. They have naturally formulated cell compounds which work to eliminate damaged molecules within your skin cells.
Oxidation and oxidative stress or disease is a negative chemical reaction which occurs when there are too many free radicals within your body. Free radicals are imbalanced and damaged molecules which oxidative stress. Antioxidants are the protectors of your molecules, they are the ‘anti’ of the free radicals which turns oxidation ‘anti’ – ‘oxidant’. Antioxidants work to repair rogue cells, completing their pair and therefore neutralising their potential for damage. Everyone has a natural source of antioxidants, however, as they are consumed when fighting free radical damage, our antioxidant levels can become depleted, and we need to actively replenish our supplies to maintain a healthy balance within our skin cells.
How Do Antioxidants Work?
Antioxidants are protectors and work to counteract unstable molecules. Unstable molecules, known as ‘free radicals’ are highly reactive and harmful within our bodies. They are typically acquired through environmental factors like sunlight, pollution, stress, alcohol and cigarette smoke. However, free radicals can naturally form when a molecule contains an unpaired electron. Typically coming in a pair, when this electron does not have a partner, it begins to cause chaos within the cell. Free radicals will then ‘steal’ other existing set’s partners, creating a chain, multiplying and exacerbating their damage potential.
Antioxidants work by providing that solitary electron with a pair, therefore neutralising the molecule. Antioxidants also strengthen their antioxidant network so having more is more! If antioxidant levels become too low, free radicals can occur, bringing with them oxidative stress which can result in deterioration, damage and even disease.
Antioxdiants Benefit the Skin in Several Ways
Studies have shown that antioxidants play a key part in your body’s overall health, they ensure that your cell production is normal and in-check. The topical application of antioxidants works especially well for skin care, keeping your skin’s cells healthy, giving your face a youthful glow. Skin is exposed to a range of elements, the harsh UV rays of summer and the cold, dryness of winter. Through this vulnerability and exposure to all different environmental factors, your skin goes through oxidative stress. Using an antioxidant serum or incorporating it into your skincare routine will help brighten, soothe and prevent signs of aging. Your skincare regime should feature products with antioxidants, however, it should be incorporated amongst other beneficial ingredients for the best results.
Different Antioxidants Treat Different Problems
There is a wide range of antioxidants that are extracted from different natural sources. Antioxidants are usually found in plants and food, more specifically fruits and vegetables, as well as some specific nuts, meat and fish. All antioxidants are beneficial to your overall health, however, some specific types will target issues better than others. The same is true with antioxidants in skincare, each type can target specific concerns.
Here are some antioxidant examples that are especially potent within skin care:
- Vitamin C (I-ascorbic acid): I-ascorbic acid is the pure form of vitamin C, an effective antioxidant to combat combination or oily skin.
- Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol): With hydrating properties, this antioxidant works well for a dry skin type.
- Ferulic acid: Reducing signs of aging, ferulic acid is a great way to combat fine lines and wrinkles.
- Phloretin: Target skin pigmentation by adding phloretin into your skincare routine.
- Resveratrol: Reduce skin irritation with resveratrol, an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties.
- Baicalin: Great for a variety of issues, this antioxidant enzyme has calming and anti-aging effects on the skin.
Adding antioxidants into your skincare regimen will give you visible results, however, its worth understanding which antioxidant is right for your skin based on the benefits. Utilising their key
Ending the Debate Over Antioxidants – Misconceptions Managed
With the increasing buzz around this miracle ingredient, dermatologists, researchers, beauty brands and health officials have all spoken about the benefits of antioxidants. SkinCeuticals has dedicated over 30 years developing its research on the effects of antioxidants on your skin. However, with this buzz came false reports and rumours about the exaggerated capabilities of antioxidants on the body. Antioxidants cannot cure disease but specific antioxidant types are extremely effective for specific health and skin-related issues.
The level of antioxidants you have is not a measure of how ‘healthy’ you are. False discourse suggested that antioxidants were a barometer of your overall health, which is not the case. While antioxidants are recommended for reducing your free radical damage and oxidative stress, it should not be the sole ingredient in your skincare routine. Its important to find products that work best with your individual skin care needs, consider other key ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycolic acid when building an effective skin care routine.
It is essential to understand the key ingredients in your skincare products so you can tailor your regime to your specific needs. Finding the right product is simple when you understand how they work for you.
Incorporating antioxidants into your routine is a great way to prevent oxidative stress on the skin, providing a natural combatant for redness, dryness or signs of aging. Learn about SkinCeutical’s range of products filled with antioxidants and keep your skin looking and feeling healthy.