All you need to know about ANTIOXIDANTS

You’ve probably heard the word “antioxidant” used when describing skin care products and certain facial treatments, but do you know what it is? It helps to break down the word itself into two parts; “anti” or “against” and “oxidant” or the process whereby something is exposed to oxygen, causing it to break down. Think of what happens to unprotected metal when it’s left out in all weather. It rusts, doesn’t it.

Obviously your skin doesn’t rust, but it will show the effects of oxidation over time. One of the reasons for this is that the process of oxidation can produce something called “free radicals”. Another term you’ve probably heard before. What is a free radical? A free radical is an incomplete particle that attaches itself to healthy cells and tissues, damaging them as they do so. You can’t avoid free radicals; they are a part of your body’s natural metabolic process. But you can limit the damage they do to your skin.

For this reason, antioxidants are real skin heroes because they work to counteract and neutralize free radicals. Some powerful antioxidants are CoQ10 (coenzyme) and vitamin C, which help to build collagen. Collagen, along with elastin, are necessary to maintain plump, tight skin. Your body’s ability to produce them declines as you age. Another one is vitamin E. It helps protect cell membranes and boosts the skin-based nutrients that protect your skin from the ageing effects of UV exposure.

Another note on CoQ10 as a skin antioxidant,

The processes of aging and photo-aging are associated with an increase in cellular oxidation. This may be in part due to a decline in the levels of the endogenous cellular antioxidant coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone, CoQ10). Therefore, the authors of the study“Coenzyme Q10, a cutaneous antioxidant and energizer” investigated whether topical application of CoQ10 has the beneficial effect of preventing photo-aging. (See below for authors and Journal information).

The authors were able to demonstrate that CoQ10 penetrated into the viable layers of the epidermis and actually reduced the level of oxidation measured by weak photon emission. Furthermore, a reduction in wrinkle depth following CoQ10 application was also shown. CoQ10 was determined to be effective against UVA mediated oxidative stress in human keratinocytes in terms of thiol depletion, activation of specific phosphotyrosine kinases and prevention of oxidative DNA damage.

CoQ10 was also able to significantly suppress the expression of collagenase in human dermal fibroblasts following UVA irradiation. These results indicate that CoQ10 has the efficacy to prevent many of the detrimental effects of photo aging.

Title: Coenzyme Q10, a cutaneous antioxidant and energizer. Authors: Hoppe, U Bergemann, J Diembeck, W Ennen, J Gohla, S Harris, I Jacob, J Kielholz, J Mei, W Pollet, D Schachtschabel, D Sauermann, G Schreiner, V Stab, F Steckel, FJournal: Biofactors. 1999; 9(2-4): 371-8 0951-6433

You can source antioxidants by eating a diet rich in fresh foods. Fruits are especially good sources of antioxidants. As well as eating your way to beautiful skin, you can also source skin care products formulated specifically as antioxidants. Certain serums, as well as anti-aging creams will often contain antioxidant ingredients.