What are antioxidants & why are they important for your skin?
Antioxidant is a term that is often heard in the health and beauty sphere, used to describe skincare products, foods and supplements. While it’s a term that many are familiar with, few people understand what they are, how they work or why they are so important.
In this article, we’ll delve into what they are, how they can benefit you and how you can include more of them into your daily routine.
What are antioxidants?Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals.
Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons. This makes them unstable and highly reactive. They’re naturally present in our bodies but can also be formed when our skin is exposed to environmental factors such as pollution and UV rays.
Free radicals can harm you if your body is exposed to too many of them. They can contribute to internal health problems through damaging tissues, as well as having a notable impact on your skin health. They break down the skin’s collagen which in turn leads to wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots and sagging.
An example of free radical damage is something you’ll have seen before: when a sliced apple turns brown. This is the process of oxidation which is caused by free radicals.
This is where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants are man made or natural substances that prevent or delay cell damage. Antioxidant molecules have been seen to counteract oxidative stress, therefore restoring or resisting the damage caused by free radicals.
Your body has natural antioxidant defenses to fight free radicals but these can be supported by ingesting and applying other antioxidants to increase your protection. This is why they should be included in your diet as well as your skincare regime.
Antioxidants for the skinAntioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, but where can they be found?
Green tea - Green tea is a powerful antioxidant as it contains polyphenols that neutralise free radicals. Alongside this, it also works as an anti-inflammatory that accelerates healing. This makes it a great choice for those suffering with skin conditions such as rosacea, psoriasis, sensitive skin and acne. While you could drink your weight in tea, the amount of antioxidant concentration is likely to be too low to be effective, so we recommend opting for a serum or moisturiser with high levels of green tea instead.
BeautyPro recommends: BeautyPro Rejuvenating Mask with Green Tea, £4.95
Vitamin C - This is a great choice as it’s an ingredient with many benefits. Not only will it fight FRs but it will also calm, hydrate and brighten your skin. It will also help to stimulate collagen production to tighten fine lines and smooth uneven skin. This will help you to repair oxidative stress.
BeautyPro recommends: BeautyPro BRIGHTENING Vitamin C Daily Serum, £15
Vitamin A - By this point, we know that free radicals can make the skin look older, so why not choose an antioxidant that can not only neutralise them, but also work to reverse their damage. Vitamin A in its concentrated form is known as Retinol. This works to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, create a more even skin tone, brighten the skin, lighten dark spots and scarring and combat acne.
BeautyPro recommends: BeautyPro RETINOL Overnight Serum, £15.
Vitamin E - Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant with a broad range of benefits to the skin, which makes it a popular ingredient! It acts as a strong shield against free radicals, while also being a natural anti-inflammatory and working to keep the skin soft and supple. It also pairs extremely well with other ingredients, such as vitamin c, which can give you even better protection.
BeautyPro recommends: BeautyPro REVITALISING Vitamin CAKE Daily Serum, £15
Increasing your intake of antioxidants through your dietSkincare is not the only way to get more antioxidants into your body. Your diet is also a key factor. But which ingredients should you go for?
Dark chocolate - Great news for chocolate lovers! The dark variety contains a higher percentage of cocoa, as well as more minerals and antioxidants. It contains more antioxidants than blueberries and raspberries! Opt for choc with higher cocoa content to maximise your intake.
Pecans - These are rich in antioxidants, as well as healthy fats and minerals. They can help to raise AO levels in the blood and reduce the risk of heart disease. They are however high in calories, so enjoy these in moderation!
Blueberries - These are low in calories but packed pull of nutrients! Studies suggest they contain the most antioxidants among all regularly consumed fruit and veg. They can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and delay decline in brain function which happens with age.
Strawberries - Staying with the berry theme, strawberries are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. These are also good for your cholesterol levels which is always a bonus!
Artichokes - A great source of fibre, minerals and antioxidants. They were used in ancient times to remedy conditions affecting the liver such as jaundice. Their AO levels can be increased by boiling and steaming, whilst frying may decrease their potency.
Visit our serums collection for a range of skincare products rich in antioxidants!