The word ‘Antioxidant’ is often seen in beauty magazine articles, and most people will be aware that they are ‘a good thing’. But how much do we really know about what they are, why we need them, and how do we get them?
To begin with, think of a freshly cut apple, left exposed for just a matter of minutes, and how it quickly browns. That is the process of oxidation, the oxygen in the atmosphere reacting with the cells on the inside of the apple. The cells in our bodies are designed to deal with oxidation, but 1-2% of cells become damaged in the process, and turn into harmful ‘free radicals’.
The sun’s UV rays, pollution in the atmosphere, and cigarette smoke all stimulate the production of these free radicals, which at higher concentrations cause further damage to yet more of the body’s cells. In the skin, this can be seen by way of pigmentation (sunspots), and premature ageing.
The most common types of free radical in living tissue contain oxygen, and this is why the chemicals we need to neutralise them are called anti-oxidants. The body produces some of the antioxidants it needs, but not enough. Flavonoids, phenols and Vitamins A, C and E are all common types of antioxidants, and should be included in our diet as they are beneficial for general health.
Only a small proportion of dietary antioxidants which are absorbed is made available to the skin, and this is why I and many skincare experts also recommend the topical application of antioxidants.
For optimum benefit, I advise a high concentration Vitamin C serum in the morning, Vitamin C being most powerful antioxidant for the skin. I also recommend night-time skincare to include Vitamins A and E, plus a flavonoid (Baicalin), and a phenol (Resveratrol).
If you would like to know more about incorporating antioxidants into your skincare regime please see the contact form below.
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