What are antioxidants? How can they affect your skin?
You've heard of antioxidants, but what are they really? Guest author Lisa Haiden explains the science behind this anti-aging secret!
Before discussing the effect antioxidants have on skin, we would have to define what oxidation is first. That's the process your skin goes through as it gets older. Of course, oxidation has more to do with than just skin, but as far as skin goes, that's a natural process your skin goes through when it gets older – wrinkling, lining and all the other things.
More technically speaking, it involves free radicals, i.e. unstable atoms which have an unpaired electron in their outermost shell, and that causes damages to the skin's dermal and epidermal cells. As a result of this, the skin suffers degeneration. This process can be also linked to environmental factors, such as solar radiation, cigarette smoking and pollution, which generate the free radicals' tendency to inflict damage to our skin.
Most people want to have a skin that's not damaged – we want a beautiful, smooth, healthy skin that doesn't make us look ten years older than we are. Luckily, we have anti-oxidation, which counters the process of skin aging. It slows or prevents the process of the damaging effect of free radicals. The process of oxidation is not something only people go through. For example, when an apple turns brown, that means it has been affected by this process. The best tools to counter this process and make your skin healthier and younger is to take antioxidants!
Dermatologists say that there are more studies every day that show that the use of antioxidants not only reduces your wrinkles and aging, but also decrease the chances of inflammation and even skin cancer. Although, for example, suncreens and moisturizers are designed to help keep your skin beautiful and healthy, antioxidants actually give protection to your skin from the inside and out with a direct contact with your cells, keeping them safe from damaging. This way, antioxidants do a much better job than sunscreens and moisturizers. See our post on protecting your skin from sun exposure naturally here.
Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes, such as lutein, lycopene, selenium, vitamins A, E and C, zinc, copper, idebenone and beta – carotene. You can find those in foods, such as grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. More specifically, you can find them in grape seeds, olives, green tea, mushrooms, etc. They can also be found in various skin creams, all of which claim they have one antioxidant or another, so it shouldn't be a problem to detect which cream contains which.
Whatever way you choose to take antioxidants, it should be noted that too much antioxidants can have a counter effect, doing more harm to your skin than good. People especially go to far if they take antioxidants orally, but they can also apply an excessive amount of creme to their skin and cause harm that way.
According to experts, the exact amount that would do the trick is not yet fully determined, although they do say that instructions on certain cream products that say you only need to sprinkle the cream just a little on your face is clearly an amount too small to be effective. The right answer is that each antioxidant has its own optimal amount, so they need to be examined individually in this context.
Many people just want to have a healthy skin without taking too much time to make it that way. In that case, all you need to do is rely on your own inner feeling on how much is too much; and you will probably achieve the desired effect.
Lisa Haiden describes herself as "stubborn and optimistic" and claims she wants to learn something new everyday. She's very interested in healthy living + holistic skincare, and she blogs about it here: http://www.naturalskincaresolution.com/
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