Chances are that you’ve come across the word ‘antioxidants’ multiple times but, have no earthly idea of what the jargon means. Sure, you know they’re good for your skin since most skincare formulas claim to be ‘loaded with antioxidants’ but, what’s the hype about? Well, to understand what antioxidants are and how they make your skin look phenomenal, you’ll have to first wrap your head around free radicals.
What are free radicals?
Unfortunately, the story between free radicals and skin isn’t a happy one. These are tiny reactive oxygen molecules that damage our skin’s DNA, reduce the cell turnover rate (shedding of dead skin cells) and break down natural proteins like collagen and elastin (ones that keep your skin firm). Thanks to unavoidable external threats like UV rays and pollution, our skin is constantly exposed to free-radical damage.
What are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that neutralize free radicals and prevent them from sucking the life out of your skin. But, since our bodies produce only a limited amount of antioxidants, an external boost, in the form of antioxidant-fuelled skincare formulas, is the only way to create and maintain a protective barrier against oxidative stress.
Benefits of antioxidants for skin
- Your skin takes a daily beating from environmental hazards and that’s your cue to add pollution-fighting antioxidants into your daily skincare mix.
- Inflammation taking a toll on an otherwise healthy complexion? Put soothing antioxidants to the task RN. Oh, and on that note, green tea has legendary anti-inflammatory properties.
- Certain types of antioxidants, found in a variety of scar treatment products, increase blood flow to the scar tissue and promote the growth of new skin cells.
- Antioxidants help your skin fight the damage caused by harmful sun rays thereby preventing sunburn and tanning.
Common types of antioxidants
Be it hyperpigmentation or a sallow complexion — nothing perks up dull skin more than a shot of Vitamin C. Also known as L-ascorbic acid, regular use of formulas rich in Vitamin C can lighten dark spots and visibly brighten your complexion in no time. Alternatively, you can rely on Vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, papaya, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin E is the all-round workhorse of a vitamin. Though it does a bit of everything, its claim-to-fame is its epic moisturising abilities. And since it’s oil-soluble, try incorporating it into your skincare regimen in the form of a face serum or a moisturiser. Amongst foods, go for nuts like almonds, peanut and hazelnuts. You can also get your dose of Vitamin E from greens like spinach and broccoli.
To know why the world is obsessed with Vitamin A, aka retinol, you’ll have to understand how powerful this anti-ageing champion is. Not only does it iron out creases and fill in wrinkles, but Vitamin A also leaves you with smoother, firmer skin. Win-win, we say. As far as foods are concerned, carrots, black-eyed peas and eggs are an integral source of Vitamin A.