How Antioxidants Benefit Your Skin
In our last blog, What Are Free Radicals?, we learned that free radicals are atoms with unpaired electrons, which can lead to oxidative stress and damage of cells, proteins, and DNA. We also learned that antioxidants help prevent free radicals from causing damage by donating one of their own electrons. In today’s blog, we’ll look at antioxidants in relation to our skin!
To recap: oxidative stress is the imbalance that results from free radicals being produced and our bodies fight to neutralize them using antioxidants. One way to look at oxidative stress is when you cut into an apple and leave it on the table, exposed to the air. It doesn’t take long for the white of the apple to turn a shade of brown. What’s happening is that free radicals are causing oxidation, or oxidative stress. However, when you cut into an apple and sprinkle lemon juice on the flesh, oxidation will occur much more slowly. Did you know that lemon juice is rich in antioxidants?
Antioxidants and Your Skin
Our skin ages due to various reasons and processes that occur naturally within our body, including environmental damage (UV rays from the sun), DNA damage, inflammation, the breakdown of proteins, and the formation of free radicals. Many of the processes that occur within our body speed up due to our body’s inability to fight free radicals and oxidative stress as effectively as we grow older.
Acne and rosacea are both considered inflammatory conditions. Acne often occurs when a hair follicle and the sebaceous gland (which secretes an oily substance to lubricate the skin and hair) become blocked. When there is a small blockage, the gland will continue to produce oil, which increases the size of the blockage and eventually becomes inflamed. Acne-causing bacteria will appear and before you know it, there’s a visible pimple on the surface of the skin. Rosacea, which causes blemishes, rashes, redness, and dry, sensitive skin is also caused by inflammation.
People struggling with either of these conditions have been shown to see improvements when treated with products containing antioxidants. Acne is often treated with salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, but when patients also add sunflower oil to their treatment plan, they saw even greater improvements. Sunflower oil is rich in vitamin E, which has strong antioxidant properties. Rosacea is often treated with anti-inflammatories and antibiotics that are known for their antioxidant effects.
As we’ve talked about before, high concentrations of free radicals can cause damage to cells, including DNA, proteins, and cell membranes. When free radicals damage DNA, this may play a role in the development of cancer. Environmental toxins, such as cigarette smoke, may contain high levels of free radicals and may even stimulate the body to produce more free radicals, increasing the risk of certain types of cancer.
However, some studies have shown that the presence of antioxidants, especially those from food sources, have been able to prevent free radical damage that may cause cancer to develop. Dietary sources of antioxidants include Vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, and lycopene.
Going back to the apple left on the counter example, this occurs because free radicals are causing the flesh of the apple to oxidize. According to the United States Geological Survey, our skin contains 64% water and our bodies contain billions of oxygen atoms. Millions of these atoms undergo this same oxidation process. As the oxidation process progresses, and has an opportunity to cause more damage over the course of our lives, the effects begin to show in various ways on our skin, including dark spots.
Because antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties, they can help prevent and in some cases even reverse the effects of free radicals and UV rays from the sun. Vitamin C has been shown to provide a host of benefits due to its antioxidant-like properties. Vitamin C comes in many different forms, including L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C ester, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate and lipophilic vitamin C.
One of the greatest reasons why aging can be seen so easily is the appearance of wrinkles. Younger people will have smoother skin because their skin still contains certain components, such as collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans or GAGs, which protect the skin’s moisture. As we age, these components begin to break down and our bodies produce less of them. According to Scientific American, our bodies produce about 1% less collagen each year after the age of 20. As these components break down over time, and due to environmental factors, our skin begins to sag and fine lines and wrinkles begin to form.
According to Science Daily, Dr. Orit Bossi isolated a plant-based antioxidant that may help delay the aging process by preventing the breakdown of collagen. While antioxidants like Vitamin A, E, and C play a large role in preventing environmental damage to the skin, preventing or slowing down the formation of wrinkles may come from consuming a large range of antioxidant sources.
Try vYv, a Resveratrol Supplement
Resveratrol, a compound found in grape seed extract, is a powerful antioxidant that can provide our bodies with a range of benefits. The resveratrol supplement from vYv can fight the formation of free radicals, helping to prevent oxidative stress and the various ways that damage can appear on our skin. To prevent wrinkles, dark spots, inflammation, and even cancer, a resveratrol supplement may be exactly what your skin needs. Learn more about our resveratrol supplement ingredients, and shop our store today.