Information Skin: Antioxidants

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The skincare industry has a whole dictionary of it’s own (and quite rightly!). The terms, words and scientific statements we are faced with daily can overwhelm any consumer. As A result I take a big interest in finding out what lies behind the technical terms and ingredients (with a little help from the Hirons!). 

Information skin was developed by myself as a series to feature on because I am super passionate about skin care, sensitive skin needs and various skin conditions. I thought it really appropriate to share that in this series (previous posts). 

As a small disclaimer here - I am not a skin care specialist, I am your everyday consumer who enjoys actively finding out more information to better my purchase decisions. Having said all of that please refer to the original sources of the content if you want to find out more.

I've only just touched on the surface of Antioxidants in this post (and it's still very long, grab a cuppa!) but if you would like to see a particular ingredient featured in more detail, just let me know in the comments. You can find out even more by clicking on the Infographics attached to this post. 

Let’s find out more about Antioxidants in our skincare. 

Antioxidants are a combination of nutrients and enzymes that can help to prevent and repair damage to your body's tissue. Antioxidants do this by slowing or preventing the effect of free radicals, which start oxidation -- a process that causes damage from oxygen that can lead to cell dysfunction. 

What are antioxidants?As antioxidants block the effects of free radicals, they end up being oxidized. This is why it's important to constantly replenish your supply of antioxidants. When it comes to caring for your skin, antioxidants can help to protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Unlike sunscreens and moisturizers, antioxidants can protect your skin from the inside out by guarding your cells from damage. (Source)

Damaged skin cells can speed up aging with wrinkles, dry skin, dark circles under eyes, dull skin, and more.

Eating foods rich in antioxidants is key, not just for your skin but for your overall health. Antioxidants are also used on the skin. The antioxidants most shown to repair damage and slow the aging process include Acai oil, Alpha-lipoic acid & Green tea extract and the following;

Retinol: Many dermatologists prescribe retinol's stronger counterpart, tretinoin, or similar products to slow skin aging, improve irregular pigmentation, and clear up acne. Over-the-counter products containing retinols may be weaker, but are still effective in improving skin appearance.

Vitamin C: As you age, your body slows down its production of collagen and elastin, which keep skin strong, flexible, and resilient. The antioxidants found in vitamin C may stimulate the production of collagen and minimize fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.

CoEnzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10)AHAs

Caffeine: Caffeine is also an antioxidant, but whether it can be used on the skin to reverse aging isn't known. Still, skin care companies have added it to lotions and creams based on evidence that shows caffeine can inhibit the growth of skin cancer and, when applied to the skin, may make wrinkles less deep, especially ''crow's feet'' around the eyes.

Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHAs)

This group of natural-based acids found in a vast number of skin-care products includes glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids. Glycolic acid was the original AHA and remains popular for its ability to remove dead skin cells and leave skin smoother, softer, and more radiant.

AHAs are used to exfoliate the skin, reducing fine lines, age spots, acne scars, and irregular pigmentation. Peels with high concentrations of AHAs are usually administered by a beauty specialist (esthetician) or dermatologist, but you can use lower concentrations -- between 5% and 10% -- in creams or lotions on a daily basis.

To help avoid irritated skin, start with a low concentration and apply every other day gradually increasing frequency to every day.

Even at lower doses, however, the acids may irritate and dry skin as well as increase sensitivity to the sun. Doctors recommend using moisturizer and sunscreen when using any products that contain AHAs.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid is used in many over-the-counter and prescription products to treat acne. It penetrates pores and reduces blackheads and whiteheads with less irritation than may occur with alpha-hydroxy acids. Like AHAs, salicylic acid in certain amounts exfoliates the skin, which can reduce signs of aging.

If you are allergic to salicylates (found in aspirin), you shouldn't use salicylic acid. If you are pregnant or nursing, you should ask your doctor before using any product with salicylic acid. Also be aware of symptoms of rare but serious allergic reactions. Seek emergency medical help if you have throat tightness, difficulty breathing, feeling faint, or swelling of the face or tongue. Also stop using the product if you develop hives or itching.

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid is included in skin care products to reduce the signs of aging. Your body produces hyaluronic acid naturally, keeping tissues cushioned and lubricated. It's found in skin, joint fluid, and connective tissues. Age, smoking, and an unhealthy diet cause you to make less of it over time.

Products containing hyaluronic acid may help smooth out skin. It's especially effective when combined with vitamin C products. (Source)

Even though a product may claim to contain useful antioxidants such as vitamin C  it's often difficult to know exactly how much of these vitamins and antioxidants are in the bottle. Vitamins and antioxidants need to be in strong enough concentrations, and in the correct forms, to remain stable and to be effective. If you are thinking about using a vitamin or antioxidant for your skin, it's best to ask your dermatologist for advice before buying it.(Source)

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