Antioxidants In Skincare: Why Include Antioxidants In Your Skin Care Routine?
When you think of antioxidants, what comes to mind? You might associate antioxidants with many overall health benefits long before skincare comes to mind. But here’s the thing: the skincare benefits of antioxidants are plentiful, including the potential to improve the appearance of fine lines or wrinkles.
Read on to learn more about the many benefits of antioxidants for your skin, and why you might want to make them a part of your skin care routine.
Fighting Free Radicals: What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are molecules found in foods and certain beverages, such as green tea (although some antioxidants are man-made). Antioxidants fight the negative effects of other types of molecules, known as free radicals. Free radicals form when your body converts the food you eat into the energy you need to function properly.1
The problem with free radicals is that they cause oxidative stress. This means they oxidize cells. When this happens, the cell can’t function correctly. Over time, this can cause the cell to die.2
Free radicals cause oxidative stress because of the way they’re structured. Free radicals are made of atoms that only have one electron. Atoms typically have two electrons. As a result, free radicals move throughout the body looking for their missing electron. When they rob that electron from cells, that can lead to serious health problems.3
Antioxidants help the body avoid damage from oxidative stress by providing free radicals the electrons they’re looking for. Vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E are three examples of some well-known antioxidants.4
Can Antioxidants Enhance Your Skin Care Routine?
When it comes to skin care, alpha-lipoic acid (APA) is a particularly powerful antioxidant. It not only helps fight skin damage that has already occurred, it also helps to fight future damage.
APA is structured in a way that helps protect cells from free radicals. APA reduces the appearance of fine lines and also supports the performance of vitamin C and other antioxidants.5
Another type of antioxidant, hyaluronic acid, also benefits the skin. It plays a major role in collagen production. Collagen is the connective tissue that keeps your skin strong. Hyaluronic acid helps lubricate collagen.
Over time, however, your body has a harder time producing hyaluronic acid. Smoking and an unhealthy diet can also affect your supply of hyaluronic acid. This may lead to wrinkles.6
Antioxidants not only benefit the appearance of your skin, they also help it function properly. As the body ages, skin cells don’t divide as quickly as they used to. This makes the dermis, the inner layer of the skin, thin out over time. The fat cells below the dermis get smaller as well. When these two things happen, you skin is at a higher risk for bruising.7
Dietary Sources Of Antioxidants
You’ll find a lot of skin care products made with powerful, potent antioxidants. But you can also get the benefits of these amazing molecules through your diet.
For example, green tea is chock full of antioxidants.9 If green tea isn’t your thing, you can also get antioxidants through foods such as strawberries, apples, pecans, and dark leafy greens.10
When It Comes To Antioxidants, Remember Your A, B, Cs (And E)
As you learned earlier, many of the vitamins you typically consume through foods and drinks are antioxidants. Here’s a look at four in particular: vitamins A, B, C and E.
- Vitamin A
There are several different forms of vitamin A. What they all have in common is that the body converts them to a substance known as retinoic acid. When this acid binds with skin receptors, that helps produce collagen.11
Retinol is a type of vitamin A that is found in many skin care products. In fact, you’ve probably seen it in antioxidant serums. The reason retinol is so popular is that it’s been proven to support your skin’s elasticity and thickness.
Retinol has also been shown to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles. You’ll find retinol in over-the-counter products and in prescription skin care products.12
- Vitamin B
Vitamin B-3, also known as niacinamide, offers powerful benefits for your skin.
- For example, this vitamin helps produce a substance known as keratin. This is a protein that helps keep the skin firm.13
- Niacinamide also plays a role in forming a barrier that locks moisture into your skin.14
- Vitamin C
Vitamin C (known scientifically as ascorbic acid or L-ascorbic acid) also delivers potent benefits. For one, it helps to stimulate collagen production. This not only helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, it may also help reduce the appearance of scarring.
There is also evidence L-ascorbic acid might help with skin that has suffered sun damage.15
Another type of vitamin C commonly used in skin care products is tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. It has also been shown to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.16
- Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another antioxidant commonly found in skin care products. It may help protect the skin from sun damage.17
Can Topical Application Of Antioxidants Help With UV Damage?
There is evidence that topical antioxidants may help protect the skin from exposure to UV (ultraviolet) light. UV light is important because it helps the skin process vitamin D. But too much UV light can cause serious health issues.
Whether it comes from the sun or a tanning bed, too much UV light can overwhelm your skin’s defenses, resulting in permanent damage.18
One antioxidant that shows promise in helping minimize the effect and appearance of sun damage is ferulic acid. Researchers conducted a study analyzing the effectiveness of ferulic acid when it comes to protecting skin from the sun. They found that when used in conjunction with vitamin C and vitamin E, ferulic acid was twice as effective than the use of those vitamins alone.19
As beneficial as antioxidants can be for your skin, talk to your doctor or dermatologist first before adding any new product to your skin care regimen.
Have you tried most of these antioxidants, or will it be your first time? Share your skincare routine in the comments below, and make sure to share this post with your friends if you found the information to be helpful!