by Sarah Ban
It’s a long-standing question: “How can I make my face as smooth, firm and radiant as possible even as I age?” If you’ve ever asked yourself this, you need antioxidants in your skin care—stat.
There are two types of skin aging: intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging, also called chronological aging, is primarily caused by genetics (and good ol’ Father Time). As we get older and wiser, factors that contribute to a youthful look, such as collagen production and cell turnover rate, naturally decrease. Extrinsic aging, called environmental aging, is caused by lifestyle choices, such as diet, sun exposure, sunscreen use and smoking.
Now here’s the cool part: Experts believe that a whopping 90% of visible aging is caused by extrinsic aging. This means you can essentially manage how slowly your skin begins to show fine lines, wrinkles, hyper pigmentation and other features you’d rather not have. You can start by eating healthier and of course, getting your skincare arsenal in tip-top shape.
Without a doubt, antioxidants are one of your best bets to help slow down the formation of wrinkles to a crawl. But to understand why antioxidants are essential, you need to understand free radical damage.
Free radicals are extremely unstable molecules that harm living cells. Remember high-school chemistry class? Let’s get nerdy for a second. You may recall that atoms are basic units of matter made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, but sometimes an atom will “lose” an electron due to triggers like cigarette smoke and pollution. Molecules with single-electron atoms end up searching for another electron to complete their pair, essentially “stealing” from other atoms and causing a cascade of damage.
Free radical damage manifests itself as wrinkles, dryness, dark spots, looseness and sagging. An estimated 80% of this damage is caused by the sun’s UV rays. What you put into—or don’t put into—your body can also influence the way your skin ages. Fried, processed junk food, heavy metals and pesticides consumed from diet can trigger free radical damage, as does cigarette smoking and pollution.
Antioxidants are the superheroes in the battle against free radicals. You’ve probably heard they’re good for your body and your skin, but what are they really? Antioxidants are substances that naturally occur in vitamins, minerals and many plant-based foods. Their purpose is to protect your cells from damage as well as to delay damage to your cells. These substances help your cells by acting as electron donors, “donating” free radicals the electron they so desperately seek.
There are two ways you can get antioxidants into your body. First, by eating antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes, carrots and green leafy vegetables. Second, by using topical skincare products that contain antioxidants. One of the most common antioxidants used in topical skin care is vitamin E. (This makes sense since your body produces its own vitamin E as part of its defense system against sun damage.) Other popular antioxidants used in skin care include vitamins A and C. Many times, you’ll see two or more of these vitamins together in one skincare product to boosts its effectiveness.
As you can see, incorporating antioxidants in your skin care routine is a no-brainer! There isn’t just one type of antioxidant, but several types of distinct functions and benefits. Many revolutionary plant-based ingredients are high in antioxidants. Here are some of the best ingredients with a high antioxidant content.
Ask any dermatologist which ingredient they’d recommend for firmer, brighter skin and chances are sky-high they’ll tell you to get vitamin C on your visage—stat. Vitamin C Peptide Renewal contains two stable forms of vitamin C, along with vitamin E, to up your anti-aging game. This serum is a must-have to combat the slowdown of collagen production.
Perfect for layering over Vitamin C Peptide Renewal, our silky-soft Sweet Almond Face Moisturizer adds another antioxidant boost thanks to its team of free-radical fighters, such as pomegranate extract, white tea extract and vitamin C.
You can find ginseng extract in our Sea Kelp and Ginseng All-Over Mask, which helps protect your body from environmental stress. Ginseng (also called American or Panax ginseng) is an herb popular in traditional Asian medicine for its powerful antioxidant properties.
Toning Eye Gel with Vitamin K contains spirulina, a type of blue-green microalgae that protects cells from oxidative stress. Remember, the area around your eyes is the most fragile and thin, so it’s important to get some antioxidant action on them.
Bonus Tip: Did you know sunscreen is more effective when it’s applied with antioxidants? After you complete your antioxidant-filled skincare routine, layer on a safe broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 to fend off those UV rays!