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Most of us are already aware of the important role that antioxidants play in skin care. In addition to fighting damage associated with free radicals, certain antioxidants like Vitamin C also possess other benefits including the ability to brighten skin tone, stimulate collagen production and increase the skin's ability to retain moisture.

Antioxidant ingredients are often found in plants and studies have shown that they can also protect against UV-induced skin damage. Some manufacturers are now investigating the possibility of combining plant-based ingredients with either a chemical or physical sunscreens to boost their protective ability. One study showed that the combination of plant based antioxidants with a combination chemical/physical blocking sunscreen, delivered better SPF and UVA protection than the sun filters alone.

A new ingredient, phloretin, derived from apples, holds particular promise because it readily penetrates the skin barrier. Recent work with green tea, also known for its antioxidant activity, has also demonstrated that it has the ability to protect against UV damage. In a study conducted in Switzerland, topical application of a 0.4% concentration of green tea extract demonstrated the ability to protect against sun damage.

Plants Better Than Isolated Compounds?
Researchers are particularly hopeful about these plant-based compounds because in addition to possessing antioxidant activity themselves, they've been shown to stimulate the body's own antioxidant defense systems. In comparison to substances that themselves have antioxidant properties, such as vitamin E, researchers maintain that compounds that stimulate a broad range of enzymes involved in antioxidant defense are much more effective because their effects are broader reaching.

What does this mean for you? Look for a sunscreen that incorporates antioxidants such as green tea extract and other botanical ingredients with antioxidant effect.  

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti aging skin care. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed] 

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