If you’ve done any homework at all about what you should be using on your face you’ve probably bumped into someone or some article telling you to use Vitamin C. Lots of the time though you have absolutely no idea why you’re using it or what it’s even doing for your face. It’s time to have a better understanding of not only it but other amazing antioxidants and how they can help you look better and keep time from marching across your face.
So, what in the world is an antioxidant? The National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) defines antioxidants as a man-made or natural substance that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Most antioxidants are found in foods, many times in fruit and vegetables. The most well-known antioxidants are:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Resveratrol (this is a newer one)
The way that antioxidants work to prevent cell damage is by donating electrons to counteract free radicals. Here’s a video that can show how all of that works:
What is a Free Radical? The International Dermal Institute (www.dermalinstitute.com) describes a free radical as an unstable and highly reactive unpaired electron. Ok…I know this is getting a little old school biology for you but keep reading.
The reason it’s important to know about free radicals is that they are EVERYWHERE! Every time you get that amazing workout in you are creating loads of free radicals. It’s also the reason that your work out coach is aging faster than you are, they are having mass volumes of free radicals tossed at them every time they train someone. (Quite frankly, you should share this post with them.) Sun exposure and pollution cause free radical damage as well and smoking, well that is a whopper of free radical exposure.
What are all those free radicals doing to you? Personally, I picture them like little Pac-Man eating away at the youthful look of your face. Each one is stealing your glow, adding pigment to your face and breaking down your elasticity. But there is a cure – Blessed Antioxidants! You can and should eat more foods with antioxidants in them because it’s great for your health but topical versions will make significant improvements in your skin as well.
Topical antioxidants are like putting a wall between your face and all of those free radicals. It slows your aging progression significantly and also helps with the following:
- Reducing inflammation
- Firming the skin
- Reducing the appearance of wrinkles
- Significantly reducing the negative effects of sun exposure
Let me speak more on the reduction of effects on sun exposure in particular. The National Library of Medicine (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) found in a study that there was a significant reduction (I’ve personally heard up to 50%) in the sun radiation level of skin by just using a quality Vitamin C product on the face, even without the use of sunscreen.
I must say personally though that not all Vitamin C facial products are equally effective. Antioxidants as a whole are quite unstable when you put them into cosmetics so I don’t recommend personally going out and buying just any old Vitamin C products. Many cheaper versions of Vitamin C serums tend to lose their potency after you open your bottle. You’ll notice this effect by the darkening of the serum in the container over time. Many times by the time you have gotten to the end of your vial those products are no longer doing a thing to help your face. My personal favorites for quality of product and stability are SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic and SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF. Both will last you a long time and will stay stable (which means they work as well from the first time you put them on until the bottle is empty).
Additionally, a new antioxidant is getting a lot of buzz lately. It’s called Resveratrol. Resveratrol is an antioxidant commonly found in the skin of grapes. It’s the reason that some experts say that a single glass of wine a night has health and antiaging benefits. Taken orally WebMD (www.webmd.com) says it protects the body from increased risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes or heart disease. You can find quality Resveratrol which you can take as a supplement but these days you can also use it as a night time antioxidant on the face as well. It has many effective uses topically for anti-aging as well. SkinCeuticals has also released a great Resveratrol product for the face that many of my clients truly love for wrinkle reduction and overall improvements to the skin.
You can find these products in our office if you’re interested but regardless of where you go, it’s time to start preventing your face from aging by using a quality antioxidant product at home. 10 years from now you’ll be happy you did it!