Antioxidants are Essential for Healthy Life by Reward Me

Antioxidants: a beginner’s guide

Ever taken a bite out of an apple and set it aside, only to find the flesh is brown minutes later? That’s oxidative stress…


What the heck are they?

Antioxidants are molecules that counteract ‘oxidative stress’ in the body. Ever taken a bite out of an apple and set it aside, only to find the flesh had turned brown minutes later? That’s oxidative stress. Rust on your bicycle? Oxidative stress. Copper candelabra turned green? You guessed it…Oxidative stress.

Although your body produces its own antioxidants, oxidative stress happens when harmful molecules called ‘free radicals’ start to overwhelm the body’s antioxidant defences – causing cells to die and our skin (as well as the rest of the body) to age.

So you can understand why oxidation is bad for your skin – and why antioxidants are good. We can boost our body’s antioxidant levels by exercising regularly, eating plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and using genius beauty products.

Specially formulated creams that contain antioxidants can help to counteract oxidative stress in the skin caused by sun exposure, pollution, cigarette smoke, stress and air conditioning, to name a few. There is a mind-boggling array of anti-ageing products out there, but if one or more of the following ingredients is listed on the label, you know it’s the real deal. 

Vitamin C

  • Increasing levels of vitamin C in the skin can prevent and (unlike most antioxidants) even repair some signs of ageing.
  • It firms the skin by stimulating the production of collagen and elastin.
  • It reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and scars.
  • Topical vitamin C can be unstable, so look for formulas with ascorbic acid, the most stable form of vitamin C.
  • Ensure products containing vitamin C are packaged in opaque, airtight containers as they degrade and become less effective when exposed to oxygen and sunlight.

Idebenone

  • Idebenone was first used to preserve organs and prevent oxidation during transplant surgery.
  • It’s a bio-engineered (lab-created) antioxidant and has the ability to stop free radicals from even forming.
  • Because Idebenone is so strong and effective, it can cause irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
  • Regular use shows a significant improvement in skin tone and texture as it revitalises skin cells.

Alpha Lipoic Acid

  • When applied topically, ALA protects skin from sun damage.
  • It’s very useful for treating enlarged pores, wrinkles and dull skin.
  • ALA boosts levels of other antioxidants, such as vitamin C. 
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Retinoic Acid

  • Retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin A.
  • It’s excellent for treating sun-damaged skin, fine wrinkles and age spots.
  • It restores elastic fibres, making your skin appear firmer. 
  • It has also had some success in treating minor cancers.
  • Retinoic acid can cause a reaction, so it should be gradually introduced.

Coenzyme Q10

  • Found naturally in the body, this vitamin-like substance helps with cell growth and protection against cancer.
  • It has the ability to soften crow’s feet and wrinkles.
  • It firms sagging skin.

Green Tea

  • Thought it was only good for your insides? Well it’s also great for your skin if applied topically. In fact, it’s 100 times more effective than vitamin C at neutralising those naughty free radicals.
  • Studies show that it protects against DNA damage caused by the sun.
  • It’s an anti-inflammatory, making it a good choice for those with sensitive skin.
  • ROOIBOS (Red Tea). This wonder-tea has a truckload of health-boosting properties, as well as an intense soothing effect on skin irritations like sunburn, acne and eczema.
  • It helps to firm skin, and also diminishes fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Studies indicate that it can be useful for preventing skin cancer and increase sunscreen’s effectiveness.

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