Antioxidants - What are they and Why you need them

October 1, 2019

 

There’s a lot of buzz and talk about antioxidants lately so let’s break down why they are important for skin health (and overall health).

 

Antioxidants are ingredients (man-made or natural) that prevent or delay cell damage by fighting off free radicals.

 

Free radicals are unstable ions released by our body or our environment by common situations (chemical reactions) such as exercise, pollution, smoke, sunlight, and a host of other natural conditions. They are often a natural byproduct of normal chemical reactions. Not all free radicals are bad and some are necessary for proper body functioning. Therefore a balance of free radicals and antioxidants is needed. An excess of free radicals can cause oxidative stress: excess oxygen molecules with an uneven number of electrons which can react with other molecules (by attempting to steal electrons to balance itself out) and can trigger cell damage and disease.  Antioxidants counteract these damaging effects by neutralizing the free radicals (by donating electrons to free radicals to balance them without becoming free radicals themselves). S

 

Common sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables. High dose supplements of antioxidants can actually increase health risks in some individuals so like everything, balance is key. In skincare, common antioxidants are Vitamin C, E, and many beta-carotene ingredients. Anti-oxidants in skincare are important in fighting oxidative stress caused by exfoliants, sun damage and pollution.

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