One of the most common ingredients that you find in good quality skincare products is antioxidants. According to Dr. Michelle Henry, a clinical instructor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, “Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights fine lines by stimulating collagen, brightens your complexion by blocking excess pigment creation, and protects your skin; from damaging free radical and other environmental stressors.” The best vitamin C serum includes WOW Vitamin C Serum, St Botanica Vitamin C Serum, and Minimalist Vitamin C Serum.
In this article, we will discuss in-depth regarding antioxidants, how they work, and their benefits on our skin.
What Are Antioxidants?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, antioxidants are either natural or manufactured substances that help to counter “oxidation stress” caused by free radicals. These radicals cab either be formed internally when our body converts the food into energy. It also happens when our body is exposed to a polluted environment, ultraviolet rays, and even the substance found in processed food.
Our body produces certain antioxidants, but we get the majority from the food we consume. The most common ones are vitamin A, C, and E, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and selenium. Vitamin C boosts collagen production and also lightens hyperpigmentation and dark spots. In contrast, vitamin A does more than vitamin C by smoothing fine lines, filling in wrinkles, and reducing acne. Vitamin E, on the other hand, has anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties.
What Do Antioxidants Do To Our Skin?
To understand how antioxidants work, we also need to understand what a free radical does. Let us understand this with a simple example – Cut an apple and leave one slice outside for about 30 minutes. What do you observe? Yes, the apple slice turns to a brownish shade.
This happens due to oxidation – it is a process by which the unpaired electrons (unstable since it is not paired) in the free radical molecule react with other molecules to gain stability. Throughout the day, our skin is exposed to dirt, dust, oil, sunlight and other pollutants found in the atmosphere. So apart from the natural, free radicals our body produces, it can also be triggered by the aforementioned reasons.
When there is an excess of free radicals in our body, it leads to a state called “oxidative stress,” where the tissues and cells in our body get damaged. When we give our body the required amount of antioxidants (can be in the form of serums), it provides the free radicals with electrons to make them stable. This deactivates the free radical, thus reversing (also preventing) the damage caused by the free radical.
Benefits Of Antioxidant For Skin
1. Anti-Ageing Properties
Just like proteins are the building blocks of our muscles, collagen is the building block for our skin. So, when there is an excess of free radicals with antioxidants to fight it, the end result is that this collagen breaks down. Aging can also happen when exposed to sunlight for an extended period of time. All this brings out the signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, loose skin, etc. Antioxidants correct and help to prevent such symptoms, thereby giving a radiant and glowing skin.
2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Antioxidants reduce inflammation by neutralizing the free radicals, which usually cause inflammation and swelling. Spotting inflammations is pretty straightforward – it can either be in the form of red spots, blotting off the skin, acne breakouts, rashes, and so on. What is the cause of inflammations?
Basically, it is a simple defense mechanism whereby our body tries to rid itself of the irritation or allergen. The white blood cells in our body move towards the infected area; thus, the blood flow to that area increases. This produces the red effect we see. When antioxidants reduce inflammation, our skin is automatically starting to renew and repair the damage caused by free radicals.
3. Brightening Skin And Reducing Hyperpigmentation
Have you ever wondered why we have a darker skin shade? Well, the tone of our skin depends on the amount of melanin present in our bodies. In simple terms, the more melanin content, the darker our skin colour is, and mind you, there is nothing wrong with having a dark skin colour.
However, when we are exposed to the sun for an extended period of time, our body tends to produce more melanin. This can lead to uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation – it is not a harmful condition, just a discolouration. Melanin content also increases when the person is exposed to a pollutant that can increase the level of free radicals in our body.
Since antioxidants help neutralize the free radicals and protect us from harmful UV rays, we can conclude that it plays a role in reducing the melanin content in our body. This, in turn, reduces (also prevents) hyperpigmentation and brightens our skin tone.
Apart from providing amazing benefits for our skin, it also improves brain and liver functioning, prevents cancer development, improves hair growth, eye, and dental health, and so on.
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At some point of time in our life, we must have faced skin problems. Almost every child would have gone through the acne phase during adolescence, and believe me, that wasn’t all butterflies and rainbow. In this article, we have mentioned the main reason that leads to skin problems, i.e., free radicals. We also noted the solution to it, i.e., antioxidants. We can get a good dose from fruits and vegetables and even from serums and creams.
Do you know any other benefits of antioxidants? If so, please do let us know in the comment section below.