Do Antioxidants Protect Your Skin?
We hear a lot about the word antioxidants these days, most of us know that they’re important and we have discussed their abundance in both tea and coffee but what exactly are they? How and why are they so good for our skin and us?
What Are Antioxidants?
Essentially, antioxidants are substances that prevent or can slow damage to cells caused by free radicals. If the level of free radicals in your body becomes too high, this can cause damage to your cells. This build up has been linked to various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Your body has its own antioxidant defenses ready to keep these free radicals in check but you can also find plenty in food to top up your resources.
What are Free Radicals?
Since we’re talking about the neutralising effect that antioxidants have on free radicals. What exactly are the free radicals anyway? Firstly, they are constantly being formed in your body and despite the need to keep them at bay; they do also play an important role. Without the antioxidants they would cause damage very quickly but free radicals have several important functions for your health. As an example, free radicals help your body fight infections by supporting your immune cells . We do need to maintain a good balance of free radicals and antioxidants but when the free radicals outweigh the antioxidants your body can end up in a state of oxidative stress.
Prolonged oxidative stress can cause damage to your DNA as well as other important molecules in your body. Damage to your DNA can cause cancer and there are several lifestyle, environmental and stress factors that can lead to increased free radical formation. Factors such as: Air pollution, Cigarette smoke, Alcohol, Toxins, high blood sugar levels and more…
How do Antioxidants protect my skin?
So we now understand that antioxidants are there to combat free radicals and keep everything in check. How then, do they affect our skin? The key, once again, is in the free radicals. Many studies have shown that if we have an excess of free radicals and begin to suffer from oxidative stress then our skin suffers dearly. The signs of aging are amplified and fine lines, wrinkles and cracks will begin to show much more clearly. By increasing your antioxidant intake you can combat these free radicals and leave your skin feeling and looking fresh. Some Dermatologists are even recommending serums and creams packed with antioxidants to help combat those free radicals.
What are the best antioxidants for your skin?
At this point, there are no studies to show the effects of one antioxidant versus another but there are many studies that show antioxidants in general are very positive for our skin health. Generally, the argument is that the more varied antioxidants you can get the better. That said, there are some antioxidants that are particularly good for the skin:
Vitamin A: A powerful antioxidant also known as retinoids is proven to improve naturally aged skin and fine wrinkles by stimulating collagen production.
Vitamin C: You likely already know all about Vitamin C from your fruit, especially oranges. It is however, a potent anti-oxidant drug that can be used topically to prevent the effects of ageing. It can be unstable so needs to be stored correctly when using topically but its worth getting more Vitamin C into your nutritional diet too.
Vitamin B3: Also referred to as Niacinamide has been shown to have a stabilising effect on the skin by improving the skin-barrier,it also helps to retain water and moisture content. It improves the surface structure and smooths out wrinkles. We can’t go wrong with that!
Quick Tip: If you’d like more advice on Vitamins and Minerals, or just more information on what they do then we suggest you take a look at this fantastic infographic guide from MedAlertHelp.
To summarise, Antioxidants play a vital role in combatting free radicals. It is free radicals that affect our skin by increasing the signs of aging and further still, they can have a serious effect on our general wellbeing. There are many ways for you to increase your antioxidant intake and some foods may surprise you for their high content. Coffee and tea for example are rich in antioxidants so there’s no reason not to put the kettle on. Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are great, in fact the more fruit and vegetables the better!
If you’ve noticed a skin rash or spot that you’re concerned about, speak to our board-certified dermatologists for an answer within hours. Alternatively test out our new AI technology to get an answer within seconds.
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Specialist doctor from the University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. I moved to the Bay Area in January 2013 and I attended the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley from 2013 to 2014 as a visiting PhD candidate. My PhD thesis is on Digital Health and so far I have published 4 peer review scientific papers. I founded First Derm in 2014.