There’s beauty to a term becoming a buzzword, on the one hand, it helps the general population understand and become better informed about a particular topic, however, with every buzzword also comes the double-edged sword of brands leveraging or capitalizing on said buzzword, and not always in the most authentic manner.
When it comes to the term antioxidants, experts in the esthetic and wellness industries know that antioxidants are nothing new; instead, we’ve come to learn more about them through recent research and how to better utilize them to improve our lives whether that be our nutrition that we feed our bodies or our skin.
Unfortunately, the latter has not been as widely publicized as high-antioxidant foods, which is why we want to give an overview of the power of antioxidants in skincare products so you can better understand how skincare products containing antioxidants will help you achieve more favorable result for your clients, but will also empower them to be knowledgeable about what they’re feeding their skin.
Because let’s face it, the most radiant skin comes from healthy nutrition on the inside and outside!
What Are Antioxidants?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, “Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage.”
This cell damage is commonly referred to as “free radical damage,” and while we encounter free radicals from many places (including as a natural byproduct of turning food into energy), in the context of skincare, the most damaging environmental free radicals include air pollution and sunlight.
And although they vary in their sources and sizes, the one thing all free radicals have in common is that they’re hungry for electrons and will leach them from any nearby sources available. (Source: Harvard School of Public Health)
Thus, the powerful role of the antioxidant is to counteract or inhibit the effect of oxidative stress caused by the presence of free radicals by donating electrons to the free radical, which has an unstable chemical composition and neutralizing it and its potentially harmful effects.
The Role of Antioxidants and Aging
So, now that we have the overarching idea of the role of antioxidants and how they work to prevent cell damage and deterioration, then comes the skincare-specific piece of the equation.
First, we need to understand how free radicals can damage the skin.
According to an article published in Dermatology Research and Practice, “Human skin is naked and is constantly directly exposed to the air, solar radiation, other environmental pollutants, or other mechanical and chemical insults, which are capable of inducing the generation of free radicals.”
Exposure to these free radical-producing sources causes oxidative stress leading to cell death, cellular chromosome changes, mutation, and other transformations that manifest in the form of visible aging effects such as changes in skin texture and hydration, elasticity, vibrancy, and color (i.e., hyper-pigmentation and photo-aging).
This concept is commonly referred to the "free radical theory of aging,” but it’s also important to note that our skin is naturally equipped with antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress.
For example, in the academic research article, Antioxidants in Dermatology, the authors state:
“Skin is endowed with natural antioxidants…Vitamin E, catalase, superoxide dismutases, glutathione peroxidases are abundantly present in the viable layer of the epidermis. The extracellular space of skin epidermis and dermis, contains large amounts of antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, uric acid, and glutathione. The outer most layer, the cornified envelope of normal human skin contains antioxidants such as glutathione, vitamin C, uric acid, α-tocopherol, squalene, and coenzyme Q10, distributed in a gradient with the highest concentration on the deepest cornified envelope layers.”
However, when frequency of damaging events exceeds the capacity for our skin to naturally repair and combat free radicals with their naturally-occurring antioxidants, that’s when we see an increase in the signs of aging whether that be in the speed of their onset or progression or severity of the physical markers.
And with nearly constant exposure to elements such as UV radiation or environmental pollutants, which are also steadily increasing with greater societal and environmental development, it becomes easy to see why using skincare products fortified with nutritive antioxidants is critical for maintaining skin health for all skin types.
Antioxidants Used In Skincare
And here is where our case comes full-circle…
In addition to incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into our diets, skincare products containing antioxidants are also helping to benefit our overall wellness, and of course, desired appearance of having healthy and youthful skin.
In the case of some antioxidants such as Vitamin E, which is present in the skin and naturally occurring in some whole foods, Vitamin E is actually most beneficial to the skin through topical applications rather than through oral ingestion.
Then there’s grape seed extract, which contains a variety of antioxidants including anthocyanins, flavonoids proanthocyanidins, and polyphenols, which are attributed to improving collagen synthesis and reduce sun damage.
( Grape seed extract is just one of the many antioxidants that can be found in our Neroli Repair Oil. )
These are just a couple of examples as to why we prioritize that all Herbal Skin Solutions products contain antioxidants and that they are paired together in a customized regimen created by a licensed skincare professional.
Other antioxidants that are powerful in the realm of skincare include green tea extract, which contains polyphenols and Epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which reduces the breakdown of collagen (this can be found in our Hydrating B5 Cleanser), as well as ferulic acid, Vitamin C, and lycopene.
And those are just to name a few!
To learn more about antioxidants in our various Herbal Skin Solutions products, read the descriptions for each product and connect with us on Facebook and Instagram to connect with our educational posts, resources, and trainings.