- Anuji Gunasekara
- Skin Science
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What is Antioxidant and how it works in skincare
Antioxidants! The buzzword you have likely seen scrawled across countless over-the-counter skincare products and cosmeceuticals. However, many users are not entirely clear on what antioxidants are and their impact on the body, consequently, beauty.
Free Radicals and Antioxidants
Antioxidants are a group of naturally-occurring substances that protect cells from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors like UV and pollution. To get a full understanding of antioxidants' superpowers, you have to grasp the idea of free radicals.
What is Free Radical?
Free radicals are highly reactive, unstable molecules that play a dual role in our body. It can be both beneficial and harmful.
Our body creates free radicals to maintain cellular integrity (Ex: enzymatic functions or cell renewal) and immune mechanisms (Ex: fighting off viruses and bacteria). These reactive molecules are immediately nullified by the system for dynamic balance.
In situations where this balance is broken, an overload of free radicals causes oxidative stress leading to an imbalance between free radicals' production and the body's ability to counteract their harmful effects. This may result in damaging various cellular structures, including the DNA, lipids and proteins.
What is Antioxidant?
Antioxidants are touted to fight free radical damage and recover oxidative stress donating electrons to deactivate the free radical and prevent it from affecting healthy cells.
In the case of our skin, there is a delicate balance between free radicals and antioxidants to protect skin from premature ageing, hyperpigmentation, inflammatory conditions like eczema and acne, as well as cancers.
However, the overproduction of free radicals increases with age, UV exposure and pollution. With fewer available antioxidants to keep excess free radicals in check, they are free to damage cells. That's where antioxidants in skincare come in.
Skin Care Benefits of Antioxidants
Recent studies have revealed that adding antioxidants-rich cosmetics in your skincare regimen can deliver the most impressive benefits.
1. Defy the premature ageing:
Topical antioxidants promote a youthful appearance and protect against ageing (for instance, premature ageing caused by external factors like sun exposure, pollution, smoking, and more).
The potent antioxidant Retinoic acid - the active form vitamin A is the "gold standard" in anti-ageing skincare that helps smooth fine lines, fill in wrinkles, and soften texture.
Plant oil that features antioxidants omega-3 fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and omega-9 are extremely useful in revitalizing the skin to leave it firmer-looking and more resilient.
Niacinamide (a.k.a. Vitamin B3) also helps fight oxidative stress and improves skin tone and texture.
2. Brighten complexion:
Vitamin C is the ultimate antioxidant, particularly effective for brightening skin. It helps increase collagen production to tighten fine lines and smooth uneven skin as well.
3 Soothe skin:
All antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties that provide significant soothing effects.
In particular, polyphenols-rich green tea, works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce redness and speed up wound healing.
4. Improve hydration:
Niacinamide is a true skin barrier booster that helps prevent water loss and moisturize the skin.
Aside from being a strong antioxidant, vitamin E replenishes skin barrier and hydrate the skin keeping it soft and supple.
5. May help prevent skin cancer:
Coenzyme Q10 and Alpha-lipoic Acid are naturally occurring antioxidants in the body that allow the cells grow plus protect them from sun damage and ravages of cancer.
Besides, antioxidants, such as vitamin A, C and E, have shown anti-carcinogenic properties that may help prevent skin cancer.
What else we need to pay attention to:
- Experts suggest that skincare products containing a blend of different antioxidants offer higher antioxidant activity and are therefore more effective.
- Regardless of skincare concern, it is essential to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day to prevent free radical damage.
Hope you find this helpful. Follow us on Instagram @ewalibeauty for more skincare updates.
M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology, B.Sc. in Applied Science (major in Chemistry and Botany) and more than 8 years of industrial experience. In her career, she has formulated 600+ new products, reformulated existing products and created experimental studies to resolve problems during projects.
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