Skin. The largest organ of our body and most of the time, its importance does not match up to its priority. Granted that skincare routines are taking on a more vital role in the lives of people but are they getting its due credit?
Skincare, most time, is looked upon as more of a beauty routine, as part of the aesthetics of a “perfect body” rather than a health concern. Again, this does not apply to every single person but a lot of times, that is the harsh truth. Dental health, cardiovascular performance, and general wellbeing all place higher than skincare when it comes to precedence.
Today, we know that the skin is our first line of defence against the environment. Thus, it requires a lot more attention to maintain and rejuvenate it. This is where antioxidants come into play. One may ask,
“What are antioxidants?”
Antioxidants are basically sponges that absorb volatile, poisonous molecules in our cells called free radicals. These molecules are consistently present and accumulate in our body as a by-product of daily cellular activity or produced as a result of exposure to environmental factors such as sunlight and chemicals from pollution1.
Left unchecked, these radicals pose a number of health disorders such as skin damage, sunburns, premature skin ageing, skin cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Thus, a daily supply of antioxidants as part of your skincare routine will help combat free radical damage.
Benefits of Antioxidants
Antioxidant activity generally affects all cells and thus improves general wellbeing. The skin will also gain specific benefits such as1,2,3,4,5;
Collagen damage and breakdown can be caused by environmental and sunlight damage. Antioxidants have remarkable properties that reduce and counter these effects. No more wrinkles, skin sag, and fine lines, hello tighter radiant skin!
Inflammation is inevitable in our daily life, but it slows down skin repair and thus impedes on skin rejuvenation. Antioxidants will help promote cellular repair and prevent further long-term damage.
Antioxidants are able to reduce the UV damage as well as the cellular response that prevents a massive local inflammatory response. The skin will then be able to repair any UV damage at greater efficiency, preventing sunburn.
Brighten Skin Tone
Melanin is a pigment produced in the skin which gives each individual their shades of skin tone. Melanin production is affected by environmental and UV exposure. This may cause uneven skin tone as well as dark spots. Antioxidants will help reduce and prevent abnormal skin pigmentation by reducing sunlight damage as well as reducing melanin production.
Prevent Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is caused by cellular mutations due to DNA damage. These damages can originate from various factors including UV exposure, carcinogenic chemicals from cigarettes, and cellular activities. Some antioxidants possess potent anti-carcinogenic properties that help combat cancer development and progression.
The Treasure Map
Attaining antioxidants does not necessarily mean costly skin products and supplementation. Everything we need can be found right in our “backyard”!
Citruses, abundant in our tropical climate, are packed in vitamins A, C, and E, flavonoids, limonoids, and more2. Supercharge your collagen production to get tighter skin. An orange a day keeps the wrinkles away!
Berries, sweet-sour orbs of resveratrol, anthocyanins, phenols, and more3. These little treats are easy to carry and can be used as a snack throughout your day. Consume them daily and keep your skin looking youthful and your heart strong.
Salmon and shellfish, a rich source of astaxanthin as well as healthy (HDL) cholesterol4. More the reason to shell out on your next meal without guilt.
Meat, fish, and legumes, a rich and cheap source of CoenzymeQ10 found in all living organisms. This molecule revitalizes and improves our cellular functions, keeping us young and strong.
Do I Need it?
When it comes to environmental stress and ageing, there are no discriminations. We are all affected and thus required to have adequate protection.
All working adults can benefit from antioxidants especially individuals who are exposed to the environment and sunlight. Individuals past the age of 30 require higher antioxidant intake to improve longevity and reduce ageing.
In general, people of all ages and backgrounds can benefit from antioxidants, and to make things even better, they are organic foods that can be safely consumed.
Now we know,
Staying healthy is our biggest concern as we progress into adulthood. We know there are very simple natural ways to improve our health, especially in our daily skincare routine.
We tend to associate health and skincare to money, but here we learn that a few tweaks in our diet can translate to a mountain of benefits. Antioxidants and their powerful attributes are stored in a number of easily attainable sources, especially in fruits.
So, eat your way to a healthier, younger, more energetic you!
1. Neha, K., Haider, M. R., Pathak, A., & Yar, M. S. (2019). Medicinal prospects of antioxidants: A review. European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. doi:10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.06.010
2. Zou, Z., Xi, W., Hu, Y., Nie, C., & Zhou, Z. (2016). Antioxidant activity of Citrus fruits. Food Chemistry, 196, 885–896. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2015.09.072
3. Olas B. (2018). Berry Phenolic Antioxidants – Implications for Human Health?. Frontiers in pharmacology, 9, 78. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00078
4. Davinelli, S., Nielsen, M., & Scapagnini, G. (2018). Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients, 10(4), 522. doi:10.3390/nu10040522
5. Hęś, M., Dziedzic, K., Górecka, D., Jędrusek-Golińska, A., & Gujska, E. (2019). Aloe vera (L.) Webb.: Natural Sources of Antioxidants – A Review. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition. doi:10.1007/s11130-019-00747-5