Protect your skin from free radical skin damage
Antioxidants for your skin are everywhere these days, and we all know they are the ‘good guys’ when it comes to helping to protect and prevent skin damage. The benefits and efficacy of antioxidants have been extensively researched and verified. “Antioxidants work by speeding up the skin's natural repair systems and by directly inhibiting further damage,” says Karen E. Burke, MD, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine's department of dermatology.
But what are they exactly and how do they do this?
Antioxidants are molecules that help to fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are released internally when your body breaks down food, or when you are exposed to external irritants such as pollution, radiation or cigarette smoke.
All cells (including those in your skin) produce free radicals. A free radical is a molecule that is missing an electron in its outer shell, and therefore becomes ‘unstable’, which means it will attack other, healthy cells to get the electron it is missing. In terms of the structure of our skin, this means damage to the protein fibres that create collagen – the essential building block of our skin.
What does damaged collagen mean?
Without sufficient collagen and skin cells that renew and repair normally, we can experience the signs of ageing, such as fine lines, wrinkles, looser skin that sags and a loss of volume in the skin.
How can we stop collagen damage?
Antioxidants are a group of beneficial nutrients – vitamins, minerals and enzymes – that can minimise the damaging processes in cells by neutralising the free radicals.
By topically applying skin care products with antioxidants, the skin is defended and protected, so that the building blocks of collagen can continue in a normal and healthy way.
Antioxidants and sun protection
Antioxidants work as free radical scavengers and are the most important part of a sun protection system. Scientific research has proven that they cannot be washed off and offer greater safety than sunscreen alone.
Some antioxidants and their benefits
In the complex cellular structure of our skin, many antioxidants have their own specific benefits, but are also intertwined in their action; so they should be used together to get their best effects.
This antioxidant powerhouse does a great job to help reduce the visible appearance of wrinkles, leaving skin looking more radiantly beautiful. Besides acting as a free radical scavenger, vitamin C is essential to the formation of collagen. For the healthiest-looking, most radiant skin, vitamin C is essential.
Vitamin E is normally found in the skin and is an extremely effective antioxidant. This vitamin helps protect collagen and studies indicate that it can help improve the appearance of the skin.
Beta-carotene is one of the safest forms of vitamin A. One molecule of beta-carotene can counteract a vast number of free radicals and therefore is one of the most effective antioxidants.
Lycopene is an extremely powerful antioxidant, it offers protection against UV damage that can lead to premature ageing.
Lutein is an antioxidant that filters out the harmful visible high-energy blue light that is present in our everyday environment. We know that blue light has destructive effects on cells and DNA.
This molecule has become an essential part of anti-ageing programmes for skin. Topical application of resveratrol has been shown to help the body to manufacture healthy collagen and elastin. It has also been shown to improve uneven skin tone.
Due to its strong antioxidant activity, Rooibos has a role in improving the appearance of uneven skin tone. Research suggests that Rooibos may promote healthier-looking skin. Honeybush Tea has phenolic compounds that promote antioxidant activity. Green Tea Extract taken from unfermented tea leaves contains Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), another powerhouse antioxidant to help reduce the formation of free radicals.
To give your skin an antioxidant boost, Environ’s Intensive Antioxidant Gel provides a rich source of vitamins C, E, beta-carotene and other nutrients in a lightweight, water-based gel. For those who prefer a moisturising cream, the Environ Ionzyme C-Quence Crème provides a dynamic combination of moisturisers and antioxidants that help to combat free radical damage and assist in improving the appearance of the skin, allowing it to feel soft, smooth and looking youthfully radiant.