Just what exactly are antioxidants?
Antioxidants can be confusing, we see them all the time in product descriptions and ingredients but why what makes them so popular in the skincare realm? What do they do? To simply summarise it, antioxidants primarily work to protect your skin cells from damages caused by free radicals and other environmental damage (UV, pollution).
Firstly, let’s explain what are free radicals, we hear and read of them all the time, but you might not know why and how they negatively affect the skin.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that react with other molecules to gain stability, this triggers a chain reaction that damages healthy cells. A common example of free radical damage is when a sliced apple turns brown when left outside, this is because of the oxidation caused by free radicals.
Free radicals naturally occur in our bodies but we can also be more exposed to them from our environment, such as UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke and other chemical substances in the air. When there is an overload of free radicals, an imbalance between the production of free radicals in the body and the body’s ability to counter them occurs, and this imbalance is called oxidative stress.
This is where antioxidants come into the picture, antioxidants have the ability to counter free radicals and help your body heal from oxidative stress.
There are various types of antioxidants and you might already be familiar with most of them;
- Vitamin C = A brightening agent, boost collagen production, fades dark spots
- Niacinamide/Vitamin B3 = Improves skin texture and complexion, reduces inflammation, enhances skin barrier.
- Vitamin E = Accelerate the skin’s healing process.
- Retinol/Vitamin A = A must for anti-ageing, boost collagen production and cell renewal.
- Coenzyme Q10/Ubiquinone = Stimulates collagen production, improves elasticity and texture and defends against free radicals. Naturally occurring in the body but slowly diminishes as we age, making us susceptible to wrinkles and photo-ageing.
- Resveratol = Anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
- I think we know by now that antioxidants are our skin’s biggest defender, it protects and heals the skin from free radicals and oxidative stress by strengthening the skin barrier and providing protection from within.
- When we are over-exposed to the sun, it can cause sun damage and photo-ageing which leads to dark spots, antioxidants can prevent these from happening.
- When our skin is inflamed, it hinders the skin’s renewal process. With antioxidants possessing anti-inflammatory properties, it relieves inflammation and allows our skin to heal itself.
- A few antioxidants with soothing properties are green tea, chamomile and beta-gluten.
- Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, inhibits our skin’s natural healing process and causes inflammation. All these conditions will lead to prematurely ageing skin concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, acne breakouts and more. Antioxidants are crucial for skin health because it prevents oxidative stress from further damaging the skin and corrects the signs of ageing skin.
- Antioxidants help to firm the skin, be on the lookout for antioxidants rich in omega fatty acids (flaxseed oil, linoleic acid, almond oil).
- Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, and we all know the benefits of vitamin C in brightening the skin and stimulating collagen synthesis, revealing a more even skin tone and youthful appearance. Vitamin C also inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that stimulates melanin production. Less melanin = fewer dark spots.
What to note?
One should note that there is no one mighty powerhouse antioxidant that can counter all skin concerns, instead, what matters is that the product contains a variety of antioxidants. The more, the better.
Products we recommend
A cleanser that has super-antioxidant properties with rich and creamy foam that restores stressed, dull & tired skin. The superantioxidant complex of seven essential vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, C, and E) helps neutralize free radicals, while the gentle SLS-free formula leaves skin cleansed and preps skin to receive optimum benefits from skincare treatments.
This formula combines very high concentrations of two of the most powerful and important antioxidants in skincare: Resveratrol and Ferulic Acid. Resveratrol is a natural phenol found in several plants and our pure source is 100% derived from Japanese Knotweed. Ferulic Acid is a high-potency phytochemical antioxidant found naturally in walls of plant cells.
EUK-134™ is a mimetic of superoxide dismutase and catalase, forming an exceptionally rare self-regenerating molecule that scavenges superoxide free radicals, eliminates hydrogen peroxide and converts reactive oxygen species into water and oxygen. Very few products on the market do use this truly superb antioxidant which can regenerate itself to offer round-the-clock antioxidant support. EUK-134™ is by far one of the strongest antioxidants available.
Ideal for dry and sensitive skin as Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP) is a water-soluble derivative of vitamin C that is less potent, making it less likely to cause irritation.
A highly potent, plant derived antioxidant that scavenges for free radicals before they cause damage by oxidative stress. It has the ability to selectively bind to collagen and elastin and protects these proteins from degradation, helping to nourish the skin from the inside out.
A serum that contains a powerful antioxidant called Q10, a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect your skin from environmental stress, hydrate it and target signs of ageing by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A moisturiser containing hemp oil and green tea extract that calms irritation and stress, replenishes moisture and plumps your skin. Helps to protect skin from environmental aggressors to minimise the damage they cause.
A moisturizer that provides essential hydration, helps minimise the appearance of pores, and provides antioxidants to help defend against environmental assault. Ideal for oily-skin due to its lightweight finish.
This product contains Mineral UV Filters formulas that reflects and absorbs UV rays without creating oxygen radicals, along with a bio-active antioxidant network, as well as retaining moisture in the skin and relieving irritation.
RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 contains a special blend of a lightly tinted, pure mineral zinc oxide sunscreen along with a diverse blend of antioxidants known to boost skin’s environmental defenses and prevent premature aging of skin, all with an exceptionally silky, light-matte feel.