You’ve probably heard the word antioxidant bandied about in relation to our skin and overall health, but aside from gleaning that they’re a good thing, you may not understand what antioxidants are, what they’re responsible for and the benefits of antioxidants on the skin.
We’re unpacking these invisible substances and exploring why you should think about incorporating antioxidants into your daily routine, what you can expect from using them and which antioxidants are the most effective for skin health. Let’s dive in!
What Are Antioxidants?
First and foremost: Antioxidants are molecules that exist in our bodies (endogenous antioxidants) and outside the body in nature (exogenous antioxidants), most commonly found in plant-based food like vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts, seeds, cocoa (hello, dark chocolate!) and some herbs and spices.
Antioxidants work to protect us against molecules known as free radicals produced by our cells as our bodies process food or react to our environment. They’re the waste substances our cells secrete when we’re exposed to things like pollution, smoke, sugar, toxic chemicals, radiation (think UV rays from the sun) or when our bodies break down food.
When our bodies don’t process and get rid of these free radicals as productively as they should, we undergo something called oxidative stress—an imbalance between the production of free radicals and our ability to counteract their harmful effects with antioxidants. Over time, these harmful effects can result in diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation, premature aging and hardening of blood vessels.
It’s easy to see, then, that although they're invisible, antioxidants are powerful allies in our overall health—and that means our skin health, as well.
The Benefits of Antioxidants on Skin
Because they play such an essential role in our overall health, it's no wonder that antioxidants are a crucial component in healthy skin, as well. A diet rich in antioxidants, coupled with skincare that’s rich in antioxidants, can benefit skin from the inside out. Our favorite benefits of antioxidants on the skin are:
- Decreased Inflammation. Because inflammation is often at the root of skin issues, keeping it at bay can lead to happier, healthier looking skin. From acne to eczema to psoriasis, inflammation can lead to uncomfortable skin conditions, but antioxidants can help combat the body’s inflammatory response. When skin is exposed to the sun, antioxidants will neutralize the damaging (and inflammatory) free radicals—a key element to fighting hyperpigmentation and melasma, leading to improved skin tone and appearance in texture and clarity.
- Fight Free Radicals. As we’ve mentioned already, antioxidants are one of the most powerful protection skin has in fighting free radicals. In its infinite wisdom, the human body can produce free radicals to help fight viruses and harmful bacteria—but when those free radicals aren’t purged efficiently, they take a toll on the health of our bodies and our skin. Environmental stressors promote the overabundance of free radicals, which can lead to fine lines and wrinkles, uneven skin tone or a dull complexion. But antioxidants rush to defend our healthy cells against these free radicals, leaving skin (and the rest of our bodies) healthier as a result. By ingesting antioxidants from plant-based foods and using them in our skincare, we can promote calmer, clearer and more radiant skin.
- UV Damage Control. Talk about an environmental stressor! We know the sun’s UV rays can damage skin—sunburn, hyperpigmentation, increased fine lines and wrinkles—bu, UV damage takes shape in the form of oxidative stress underneath the surface. Antioxidants can help combat skin’s inflammatory response to UV exposure and help repair itself against UV damage, as well as aid in helping reduce the risk of skin cancers and melanoma—both products of UV damage. Of course, no matter how healthy our diets or how chock full of antioxidants our skincare, wearing an SPF and exercising UV protection every day is non-negotiable for our health—inside and out!
Antioxidants in Skincare: What to Look For
With so many skincare products on the market, it's important to know which antioxidants to look for in your ingredients. Multiple antioxidants that work in conjunction with one another can synergistically affect, enabling the skin to perform to its optimal capacity.
Rute Elements has formulated our Advanced Brightening Serum with Vitamin C antioxidants, Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and Vitamin A (Retinol). Together, these antioxidants work to protect one another from oxidation (breaking down)—so if you’re looking for the brightening effects of Vitamin C, for instance, incorporating Ferulic Acid and Vitamin E will ensure you’re receiving the utmost benefits for the most noticeable results.
Our combination of antioxidants is highly effective at helping skin battle environmental stress, combatting hyperpigmentation and melasma, improving the overall look (hello, glow!) of skin—and best of all? It’s formulated to be non-toxic, so skin won’t have to contend with harmful chemicals that can actually set off a free radical chain reaction.
Antioxidants may be invisible, but their benefits can be seen all over our skin! By making these molecules a part of your daily routine—inside and out—you’ll be promoting overall good health and happier-looking skin. Is there anything more beautiful than that?