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Aside from sun protection antioxidants are the best way to keep your skin looking bright and youthful. For those who aren’t in the know, an antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. Antioxidants such as thiols or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) terminate these chain reactions.
The confusing thing about antioxidants is that they come in so many different forms, and so many different products, that it can be hard to know which are the best to use. Here are some a few of my favorite antioxidants and the best ways to include them in your skincare routine!
Vitamin C & E
Vitamins C and E are what are known as “network antioxidants.” When vitamin C donates an electron to stabilize a toxic free radical, vitamin E can donate an electron and replenish vitamin C. Which is awesome, because then you’re getting extra antioxidant strength!
In addition, in research studies, vitamin C has been reported to enhance UVA protection, whereas vitamin E is more effective against UVB radiation. So together, there is strengthened UVA/UVB protection when worn under sunscreen.
In a 2008 study published in Photochemistry and Photobiology, human skin cells treated with resveratrol prevented UVB-induced damage. The mechanism? Resveratrol inhibited the inflammatory NFkB pathway and decreased the skin cells’ production of hydrogen peroxide. With reduced levels of inflammation, less damage accrued in the cells.
Resveratrol has been a hot topic in the last few years as some studies have shown the compound has potential to reduce tumor development, guard against hearing loss, and help the body heal itself. These studies have all been done on animals, and there is no proof that those results will be mimicked in humans. As for the anti-aging benefits in skincare, a group led by Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School discovered that the compound stimulates protein, and helps increase the activity of mitochondria, which produces energy within cells, extending their life.
How to Add it to you Skincare Routine: MDSUN Wrinkle Smoothener
Green tea contains the polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which has been shown to have remarkable preventive effects against photocarcinogenesis and phototoxicity (wow that’s a mouthful huh?) in mouse models. While EGCG comprises only 50% of “green tea extract” found in skin care and cosmeceuticals (Mukhtar), there is still enough EGCG to demonstrate anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties in most skin care and cosmeceuticals.
In a 2001 study in the journal Carcinogenesis, topical application of EGCG to human skin resulted in decreased oxidative stress and an increase in antioxidant enzymes after UV irradiation. Specifically, catalase and glutathione activity were increased due to the application of EGCG. A further 2003 study in Molecular Epidemiology and Cancer Prevention found that the polyphenols in green tea prevent UVB-induced oxidation of lipids and proteins and prevents against the depletion in antioxidant enzymes experienced after UVB exposure in mouse skin.
How to Add it to your Skincare Routine: FutureDerm 7 Wonders Toner