And they are in high demand as they help combat the effects of free radicals created by exposure to environmental aggressors like pollution, UV, smoke and more. Free radicals are chemicals that, in high numbers, cause oxidative stress that damage cells, alter DNA and trigger chronic disease. "They do all this by stealing electrons from molecules in the body, which is where antioxidants come in,” explains Cheeney.
How antioxidants workAntioxidants on the other hand like to generously dole out electrons to free radicals, helping to repair DNA and cell damage. This is good news inside and out, as over time free radical damage can accelerate the skin's ageing process by breaking down all important collagen and elastin, triggering an increase in melanin, slowing down cell turnover, and creating inflammation. All of which can lead to “wrinkles, sagging, dryness, dullness, redness, acne, pigmentation and more,” adds Cheeney.
Studies show that a diet rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and minerals selenium and manganese can slow down premature ageing. But skincare laced with antioxidants can pack a punch too, and the most tried and true are vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.
Hero antioxidants to try...
Vitamin ETocopherol or tocotrienol as it’s usually named on ingredients lists, is an equal opportunity kind of antioxidant, meaning it works well on all skin types and tones and is incredibly multifaceted. “It’s ultra-calming and soothing thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, wards off premature ageing as it absorbs energy from UV light to stop free radical damage, not to mention it protects the skin barrier function to keep skin well hydrated, soft and supple,” explains Cheeney.
Vitamin CAlso known as ascorbic acid, this vitamin is like “an antibiotic for the skin,” says Cheeney. It ramps up collagen production for smother, tauter skin, and works wonders on evening out skin tones, and brightening the complexion thanks to its ability to speed up cell turnover and inhibit melanin synthesis. "It protects against the ultimate ager – the sun, boosts wound healing, reduces redness and also hydrates – cementing its place as a gold standard skincare active, adds Cheeney.
Vitamin AWhen we talk about vitamin A in skincare, we're referring to a group of antioxidant compounds known as retinoids. "Retinol is a much loved over the counter retinoid that increases cell turnover as well as collagen and elastin production, for a smoother, brighter complexion. It also reduces oil production for tighter looking pores and fewer breakouts too," explains Cheeney.
Add all of these antioxidants to your arsenal (lead a healthy lifestyle) and there is no doubt you’ll be well protected against free radical damage while sporting your best complexion yet!
Sara Cheeney, Aesthetic Nurse
I sit at the head of the Pure Perfection family, drawing upon over 10 years’ experience in the aesthetics industry....Book with Sara Cheeney