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Found naturally in foods, antioxidants are compounds that can help to protect your body's cells (that includes your skin cells) from damage. How do they work?
Free Radicals And Aging
Free radicals are unstable particles, which may develop as a result of unprotected sun exposure, topical skin treatments, pollution or normal chemical processes in the body. Because they are unstable, they seek stability by stealing an electron away from another molecule including proteins, sugars or fatty acids. The process can start a chain reaction that may continue on for a very long time. The outcome may be damaged cell walls and dysfunctional cells. When it comes to skin, free radicals age skin by leading to collagen destruction (resulting in sagging), age spots, wrinkles and fine lines.
Antioxidants Protect Against Free Radicals
Antioxidants help stop the free radical chain reaction by donating an electron to help stabilize free radicals. They can do this without becoming free radicals themselves.
Our bodies are capable of manufacturing some antioxidants, but they reach our skin in very small amounts. Even when we consume them, only about 2-3% reaches the skin. For this reason, topically applied antioxidants are a must if you want to protect your skin against the thousands of free radical exposures you'll encounter each day.
Which Antioxidant Is Right For Me?
When it comes to choosing a product, look for one that contains proven ingredients. You have a choice – Vitamins A, C, E, green tea, ferulic acid and phloretin are amongst the many that are backed by clinical science. Formulations with combination ingredients can help deliver maximum effectiveness. In terms of research, nothing beats Vitamin C, closely followed by Vitamin E . In fact, when you combine vitamins C and E together, they complement one another to deliver superior protection. Vitamin C has the additional benefit of brightening skin tone and boosting collagen production.
My top pick are our own line of apothekari serums which contain effective ingredients in high concentrations: Antioxidant C+EAntioxidant Phloretin + C, (both also contain ferulic acid) and Antioxidant Firming Eye Gel (Vitamin C with ferulic acid) . Reversa Antioxidant Booster Serum free radicals with green tea, vitamin E and B-glucan. La Roche Posay has introduced Derm AOX a novel treatment that combines two powerful antioxidants (Vitamin C and pycnogenol) with carnosine (an ingredient that helps skin retain its flexibility).
Apply antioxidant formulations regularly, morning and night. During the day, they will fight free radicals generated by UV light and help boost the protection afforded by your sunscreen. At night, an antioxidant formulation can help to damage skin repair.
Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at PharmacyMix.com
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