When you’re talking about skincare, you’ve probably heard the word “antioxidant” and “free radicals” tossed around pretty frequently. It seems like those magic group of ingredients with multiple potential that can address a lot of our skincare issues, and have to be a staple on everyone’s skincare routine. Nonetheless, a lot of people still don’t truly understand what it does and how it can improve our skin’s health. You don’t want to miss this article because are going to talk from A-Z about antioxidant starting from the basic science to the ingredients you want to look for in skincare for that extra boost of antioxidant.
The basic of free radicals and antioxidant
We can’t talk about antioxidants without talking about free radicals. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of our bodies. Some external factors such as pollution, smoking, pesticides, and UV rays can increase the formation of free radicals. Once it exceeds the ability of our skin to take care of, it can cause damage to different component in cells, including our healthy skin cell. Imagine free radicals as a threat for our skin that turns our healthy cell into a dysfunctional one.
While avoiding the formation of free radicals entirely is not possible, antioxidants are there to help. Imagine free radicals as a guard with armor for your cells. It will help neutralize those “bad” free radicals thus preventing our cells from damage.
What free radicals can do to our skin
Imagine it as what is happening to an apple that has been sliced and slowly turns brown as it is continuously exposed to free radicals over time. The free radicals will damaged our skin cells and causing a lot of troubles, such as:
- ∙Formation of wrinkles
- ∙Dull skin
How antioxidant work and come to help
You probably can recall your first encounter with the amazing phenomenon of an antioxidant back in science class in middle school where we squeeze lemon juice to a slice of apple and compare their difference with just bare apple. The one squeezed with lemon, remain fresh and plump compared to the later and it is where the vitamins/antioxidants doing its action.
The same goes for antioxidants in skincare. An antioxidant will help your skin function properly and benefit your skin in many ways:
A. Anti-pollution defense
The environmental pollution in a form of smog, dust particles, and pollutants can all lead to a lot of skin issues. To prevent that from happening, it is always best for us to protect our skin with an extra layer of antioxidant.
B. Prevent signs of aging
Antioxidants can help you get that supple and young-looking skin. Say goodbye to premature aging, from fine lines, enlarged pores, and also brown spots.
C. Improve skin repair
Antioxidants can help soothe irritation and calm down inflammation that is happening on your skin. Particularly, green tea, chamomile, and also beta-glucan is significantly known for their soothing properties.
D. Prevent sunburn
When you’re out in the sun, don’t forget your sunscreen and your antioxidant! While sunscreen protection wear-off throughout the day, the antioxidant can help you as backup protection from sunburn.
E. Prevent skin cancer
Antioxidant that you can find in skincare
While we can get a lot of our antioxidant source from plants and vegetables in our diet, there are also many ingredients that can offer you antioxidant benefit in your skincare routine. Here are some of the major and most common antioxidant you can find in skincare:
A. The vitamins:
- ✓ Vitamin A (retinoids)
- ✓ Vitamin B (niacinamide)
- ✓ Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- ✓ Vitamin E (tocopherol)
B. Plant Extracts:
- ✓ Green tea
- ✓ Resveratrol
- ✓ Astaxanthin
- ✓ CoenzymeQ10 (coQ10)
- ✓ Ferulic acid
- ✓ Superoxide dismutase
Here is a list of antioxidants with the most scientific evidence to back them up with. However, expect newer antioxidant sources from multiple plant extracts in the near future!
How to optimize your antioxidant-rich skincare
A. Combine them together
To optimize the benefit of your antioxidant, use a combination of several different antioxidant-rich ingredients in one routine. They can work synergistically together and give better efficacy for them to fight off free radicals.
B. Wear your sunscreen
Sunscreen still has to be your first line of defense to prevent the formation of free radicals in the first place on top of your antioxidant-rich skincare products. Wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (the higher, the better) every single morning. Antioxidant-rich skincare products won’t be able to replace the role of sunscreen in your skincare routine.
C. Healthy lifestyle and diet
While skincare is important to prevent or reverse the damage from free radicals, it is just as important to stop the other major factors that can fasten the aging process such as smoking, unhealthy lifestyle, or poor diet. Eat more plant-based products such as fruit and vegetables as major source of antioxidant for your body.