The Benefits of Antioxidants
The Power of Antioxidants: Proven Benefits for Healthy Skin
All cells in the body require oxygen and that includes skin cells. However, the use of oxygen readily generates reactive oxygen speciae (ROS), a major part of free radicals.
Nevertheless, there is hope – it’s called antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that help to stop or reduce the effects of oxidation on cells. The body produces some antioxidants naturally and can also receive many important antioxidants through a healthy diet. Many people also use supplements to make up for any antioxidant deficiencies, although the best sources of these important substances are antioxidant-rich foods. The following list includes some of the most common antioxidants and the foods they are found in:
• Vitamin A - found in liver, butter, eggs and milk
• Lycopene - found in red and pink vegetables and fruits, such as watermelon, strawberries and tomatoes
• Vitamin C - found in fruits and vegetables, with the highest amounts in papayas, strawberries, oranges, kiwi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale
• Lutein - found in green leafy vegetables such as romaine lettuce, spinach, collards, kale, broccoli, corn and peas
• Vitamin E - found in almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts, green leafy vegetables, soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil and sunflower oil
• Beta-carotene - found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, apricots, peas and papayas
Antioxidants and the Skin
Regular exposure to the sun and pollutants dramatically increases the rate of skin oxidation and the amounts of free radicals. Because free radicals can also cause damage to the skin at the cellular level, skin tone can become uneven- looking. Oxidation and free radicals also cause damage to the skin's cellular renewal cycles and weaken its structural integrity. The attack by free-radicals can lead to sagging skin, wrinkles and overall skin aging, Sunscreens with high SPF (sun protection factors) can help reduce the risk of sun damage, but preventing damage through the protection of antioxidants is a great way to promote healthy skin. For example, Vitamin C and E protect the skin by speeding up the skin’s own natural repair system and inhibiting further damage. Vitamin E also helps skin retain its natural moisture, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, giving the skin a plump, natural glow.
Using skin products that contain antioxidants are a good way to boost the antioxidant power needed to maintain healthy skin at any age. For maximum benefit, use moisturizers with antioxidants and sun protection twice a day. Each morning and at bedtime, use a mild cleanser and rinse thoroughly. Apply toner with a clean cotton ball or makeup remover pad. After toning, apply SPF moisturizer to the face and neck. Apply additional sunscreen to face and neck directly before and after any serious sun exposure.
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