What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are a big buzzword in beauty. In fact, many skincare experts say the more antioxidants, the better! But a lot of people actually don’t know what antioxidants are. So today we’re going to clear up any confusion about what antioxidants are and how they can benefit your skin.  

What Do Antioxidants Do?

To put it simply: antioxidants prevent cell damage done by harmful molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive compounds that come from outside sources like UV rays, smoking, poor diet, or pollution. Our body also makes free radicals to fight against viruses and bacteria. But too many free radicals in your system can cause a lot of damage to your cells, leading to premature aging and even cancer. 

So how does it work? Free radicals are missing an electron, which means that they’re unstable. They cling to the first cell they can find and steal one of its electrons, thus damaging all the components of the other cell. The victimized cell is now transformed into a free radical, and the process repeats itself. This chain reaction of cellular damage is called oxidation.

That’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants offer up an electron to the free radical to neutralize it, thus protecting your body’s cells.

If you’re having a hard time picturing this, try this: a sliced apple left on the kitchen counter will turn brown from oxidation. But add lemon juice (loaded with antioxidants) to the sliced apple and it will maintain its original color.

To reduce free radical exposure, follow healthy habits like:  

  • Wearing sunscreen daily, even if the weather is cloudy
  • Not smoking cigarettes and avoiding secondhand smoke
  • Limiting your alcohol intake
  • Washing your face after spending extended periods outdoors, especially if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution

Antioxidant Benefits for Skin

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid free radicals entirely. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate plenty of antioxidants into your lifestyle, whether through the foods you eat or the products you apply to your skin. There are lots of skin-loving antioxidants out there, but here’s a few of our favorites: 

Vitamin C
Our skin is full of a structural protein called collagen that keeps our skin looking youthful. But as we age, collagen production declines, leading to sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Vitamin C boosts collagen production for smoother, firmer skin. We also love vitamin C for its ability to brighten the skin and fade hyperpigmentation.  

Superoxide Dismutase 
This powerful antioxidant reduces free radical damage to prevent and treat signs of premature aging. Our superstar signature ingredient, Black Winter Truffle, contains a very high concentration of superoxide dismutase. 

Vitamin A
Vitamin A boosts cell renewal and repair to soften skin, smooth fine lines, fade scars, and reduce acne. Like vitamin C, vitamin A improves collagen production for more youthful-looking skin. 

Vitamin E
Vitamin E has anti-inflammatory effects and promotes skin healing, but we especially love this antioxidant because it increases skin moisture levels to keep skin soft and supple. 

Flavonoids
These plant-based antioxidants reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. 

Resveratrol
Resveratrol is produced by plants to protect them against damage from air pollution and UV rays. Researchers think that resveratrol may boost cell energy for longer-living cells. 

Niacinamide
This versatile antioxidant improves skin texture and tone by reinforcing your skin’s naturally protective lipid barrier. 

Polyphenols
These plant-based antioxidants are found in red wine, green tea, dark chocolate, and many vegetables. Polyphenols prevent UV-induced skin damage and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which is why they’re an excellent choice for anyone with sensitive skin, rosacea, or acne.
Do you have any questions about antioxidants? Let us know in the comments!

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