It's one of those words that's seemingly everywhere: Antioxidants. They're in everything from kiwis to skin creams, and are known for cancer prevention as well as antixodant skin benefits, like anti-aging. But what exactly are antioxidants, and how do they benefit your skin? And which antioxidants are best to incorporate in your skin care routine? We'll tell you!
Oxidation & Free Radicals
Ever seen a rusty pipe, or a rotten piece of fruit? Well, those things were caused by a process called oxidation. Simply put: cell damage due to contact with oxygen. The same happens to the cells in your body. Well, not exactly the same, luckily they don't rust or rot, but you get the idea. Our body is pretty good at dealing with oxygen. It metabolizes the oxyen molecules, but in the process 1 to 2% of them get damaged, and turn into free radicals.
What Are Free Radicals?
What are free radicals? Without getting to science-y, they're incomplete molecules. For example: a molecule that's missing one atom to be a water molecule. These free radicals therefore go looking for other molecules to connect with, stealing their atoms and damaging them. When this happens to the molecules of your body cells, the DNA in your cells can be mutated. When DNA mutates it can lead to a variety of diseases, such as cancer, which is caused by damaged DNA telling cells to keep multiplying.
Antioxidants & Free Radicals
So what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that freely give away their atoms to free radicals, so they don't go and damage your body's cells. The term antioxidants therefore refers to wide array of vitamins and minerals that reduce the oxidation process this way. They're more important now than they were ever before because of the modern world we live in. Gasses, cigarette smoke, radiation: They all carry free radicals. That's why getting plenty of antioxidants every day is important.
Antioxidants & Skin Care Benefits
So how does this all relate to skin care? Well, the UV radiation from the sun creates a ton of free radicals. These free radicals multiply enzymes that break down collagen. We've already gone in depth about collagen here but collagen is one of the main elements that make skin look youthful. Incorporating antioxidants in your skin care and diet is therefore a great idea.
The Best Antioxidants For Skin Care Benefits
Antioxidants all work in different ways. That's why it's recommended that you get a combination of many antioxidants to stay healthy. If you just eat different fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts every day, you should be good. But for antioxidant skin care benefits, look for these:
- Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol or tocotrienols. Go for the natural kind instead of the synthetic one, like in Hylunia's Vitamn Antioxidant mask.
- Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Works especially well when combined with Vitamin E. Spa Sophia loves Epicuren's Cxc Vitamin C Complex.
- Reservatrol, found in berries, grapes and red wine. So don't worry about a glass a day. A wine glass that is, not a long drink glass...
- Epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), found in green tea. Epicuren's Green Tea & Ginger Seaweed Mask is a great skin booster with EGCG.
- Vitamin A, also known as retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinylaldehyde. In prescriptions it's listed as retinoic acid, tretinoin, adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac). Read more about the amazing anti-aging benefits of retinol in this post.
Spa Sophia also has several facials that nourish your skin with a highly concentrated dosage of antioxidants, such as our Oxygen Facial. Book one online, drop by the spa on 1027 Abbot Kinney, or call (310) 564 6676 to make an appointment!