Everyday, your skin is exposed to free-radicals, a combination of environmental pollutants, UV rays and other environmental elements that damage your skin, leaving behind visible signs of aging that can include hyper-pigmentation (age spots), lines, wrinkles, skin discoloration and uneven texture. All antioxidants fight free-radical damage; some choose different metabolic pathways than others to do so.
Vitamin A (Retinol, Retinoic Acid) is one of the best-known antioxidants, one that rebuilds lost collagen stores and promotes cell turnover and regeneration. Applied topically in retinoid creams or gels and combined with antioxidant green tea polyphenols, Vitamin A is the staple antioxidant used in skin care products.
Vitamin C The antioxidant benefits of vitamin C have been the subject of extensive study. Vitamin C has been found effective for building and protecting collagen, and plays an active role in wound healing. When purchasing Vitamin C, it’s important to make sure the product’s stability. Researchers have learned how to stabilize Vitamin C, and consumers should avoid Vitamin C products that have turned brown, a sign that the product has been oxidized, diminishing the effective Vitamin C content. Remember too, not all forms of Vitamin C are effective anti-aging product, despite their label claims. Search for products using L-Ascorbic Acid as their Vitamin C source, as it’s the one the body most easily recognizes. Vitamin C is a key ingredient in antioxidant creams, sunscreens and other skincare products.
Vitamin E provides protective qualities the skin uses, offers some anti-inflammatory qualities and aids in moisturizing the skin. Vitamin E is a key ingredient in many skincare products.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a powerful antioxidant found in almost every cell in the human body, fish and shellfish. Its antioxidants are believed to present a regenerative quality in the skin, and its small molecules makes it easy for the skin to absorb. CoQ10 antioxidants have anti-aging properties, and it’s a popular topical antioxidant included in several over-the-counter (OTC) cosmetic products, with no side effects reported.
Green Tea antioxidant found in this popular beverage consumed worldwide, particularly in Asia. It contains polyphenolic compounds also known as epicatechins, which are natural antioxidants. Studies have shown that green tea’s polyphenols, applied topically or consumed, inhibit free radicals including UV light and possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Research indicates that polyphenol antioxidants also possess anti-bacterial properties, which help with acne breakouts. True green tea products have a brownish color that indicates an effective dose of polyphenols. Some products combine green tea with caffeine to supercharge the antioxidant properties.
Resveratrol is another a polyphenol with powerful antioxidants found naturally in red grapes, berries, peanuts, herbals plants and wine (especially red wine.) Resveratrol’s antioxidants provide a range of unique anti-aging properties, specifically photo aging.
Other Antioxidants – Other antioxidants that have been proven to offer skin care benefits include Coffee Berry (derived from the coffee plant;) Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE,) a natural compound sometimes used as an ingredient in skincare products. Also sold in dietary supplement form, the antioxidants in DMAE are essential to the production of acetylcholine (a type of chemical that helps nerve cells to transmit signals) and help prevent and correct the loss of skin elasticity; Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant found in every cell in the body, as well as in some foods. Alpha lipoic acid is sometimes referred to as the “universal antioxidant” because it regenerates or recycles other antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and glutathione when they lose their ability to act as antioxidants. It also has the power to protect both cell membranes and the inside of cells against oxidative damage. Alpha lipoic acid’s powerful antioxidant properties have been found to slow down the aging process and have the power to fight the inflammation that can damage skin cells and cells that produce collagen and elastin that keep skin looking youthful. Alpha lipoic acid helps prevent oxidative damage caused by sunlight that ages the skin.