By: Dr. Linda Miles, L. Ac., D.O.M.
Are you looking for healthy, radiant, younger looking skin? If so, look no further. For optimal skin health, understanding the basics of free radicals and how important antioxidants are, is essential. As you age, the cumulative exposure to free radicals causes the visible signs of aging and the decline in your skin’s health. Nourishing skin with powerful antioxidants from the inside and outside will help leave your skin healthy, beautiful and younger looking.
What are free radicals and what do they do?
Did you know that our bodies are under continuous attack by free radicals (highly reactive atoms that damage cells in the body)? You encounter free radicals every day. For example: over-exposure to sun, toxins in food, water and air, through second hand smoke, car fumes, microwaving and even stress can create free radicals. On the inside, free radical damage is implicated in various diseases including cancers, degenerative diseases, and inflammatory illnesses as well as the aging process itself. Free radical damage to skin causes the visible signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, loss of tone, hyperpigmentation as well as the decline in your overall skin health.
How Antioxidants Can Help
Antioxidants help the body protect itself from the danger of free radical attack. Antioxidants are specific vitamins, minerals, or nutrients that inactivate free radicals before they can damage cells. Hundreds of antioxidants exist; some, such as Alpha Lipoic Acid, the body produces whereas others, such as vitamins E and C, we must consume. They each function slightly differently but work together synergistically to keep the body and skin healthy.
How Antioxidants Influence Skin
To maintain healthy, youthful skin we must ensure that our skin has enough antioxidants to adequately protect itself. Because skin is fed by blood stream, we can deliver these antioxidants through a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and taking an antioxidant supplement orally. However, according to Dr. Lester Packer, Founder of Packer Lab at UC Berkley (that specializes in antioxidant research) and author of The Antioxidant Miracle, applying antioxidants topically is the fastest way to help support and protect your skin, “Although taking oral supplements will help to boost the amount of antioxidants in your skin, the direct application of antioxidants to the skin is a much faster way to increase the level of antioxidants.”
Antioxidants Applied Topically
Topical antioxidants are the fastest and most effective way to counteract skin’s age damage caused by free radicals. Applying crèmes and serums rich in antioxidants optimize the health of the skin and help guard against environmental stress, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, soothe inflammation, even skin tone and improve texture and elasticity. Anti-aging skincare products include antioxidant-rich ingredients such as Olive Oil, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Vitamins C and E, Pycnogenol, Astaxanthin, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Cranberry Oil, Ester-C, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, Grapeseed Oil and Milk Thistle Extract.
In learning the basics of free radical damage and the power of antioxidants, you now have the tools necessary to help make the right choices in order to achieve healthy, younger looking skin. Be sure your crèmes and serums contain effective levels of the appropriate antioxidants for your specific skincare needs to help you put your best face forward each and every day!