Do Antioxidants Benefit Your Skin?
You’ve probably heard of antioxidants and have seen their name on everything from fruit smoothies to skincare products. But do you know what antioxidants really are?
While they may sound good — and they are — it’s important to understand how antioxidants benefit your body. Specifically, antioxidants are great for your skin.
In this article, we will clarify what antioxidants are and review some common sources of antioxidants. After that, we’ll look at just how (and how much) antioxidants can really benefit your skin.
Read on for everything you ever wanted to know about antioxidants and how incorporating them into your skincare routine can help you achieve hydrated, rejuvenated, and clarified skin.
What Are Antioxidants?
Let’s start with the basics: what, exactly, are antioxidants?
Antioxidants are naturally-occurring chemicals found in fruits, vegetables, and supplements that support your body and skin cells against free radical damage.
Let’s take a moment to talk about free radicals, which are molecules that – though only existing for a short period of time — can harm the production and health of your body’s cells. Free radicals can be generated from natural processes in the body or exposure to toxins (such as cigarette smoke) or other environmental factors.
Antioxidants are critical to supporting your body's normal, healthy functioning because they inhibit the growth of free radicals that could potentially harm your body.
What Are Some Common Sources of Antioxidants?
Some of the most common examples of potent antioxidants are vitamin C, A, and E; green tea is an excellent source of these vitamins.
While these vitamins can be found in many different foods, they are most often found in fruits and vegetables. When seeking out powerful antioxidants, be sure to look for whole fruits, vegetables, and other foods that will offer antioxidants in a pure form.
If you are interested in incorporating more antioxidants into your diet and overall wellness plan, here are some of the most common sources of antioxidants and how to bring them into your life.
Vitamin C, or L-ascorbic acid, is great for brightening skin that looks dull and lifeless. Perk up your skin with vitamin C, as it works hard to address uneven pigmentation, skin tone, and dark spots.
Our Blueberry Acai Plant Protein Smoothie contains organic camu camu, which is naturally high in vitamin C to help support skin health and overall wellness.
Green tea is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Our Beauty Matcha Latte has you covered when it comes to supporting your overall health and a brighter complexion. Combined with collagen and functional ingredients like reishi mushroom and turmeric, it won’t just be your skin thanking you for sipping this gently caffeinated morning beverage.
This go-to antioxidant skin product is perfect for supporting your overall skin health and healthy skin aging, and it also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and scars. You can use vitamin E in combination with vitamin A for a powerhouse skin routine.
Vitamin A is highly effective at supporting your overall skin health. Brightening dark spots and softening bumpy or rough spots are just the beginning of vitamin A’s benefits for your skin. Though you should be mindful of reactions when using vitamin A, as it’s less gentle than vitamin E, its powerful benefits are not to be ignored.
How Can Antioxidants Benefit Skin?
Antioxidants are great for your skin for a number of reasons. The first is that your skin is likely exposed to the environments around you. Whether you live in a city or a more rural area, there are always toxins in the air that can impact your skin health.
Antioxidants support your skin health in several ways, including combatting free radicals, reducing inflammation, and generating a protected, glowing complexion. Let’s look at some of the most sought-after benefits and why bringing them into your skincare routine can help protect and enhance your overall skin health.
Since antioxidants protect your body against the harmful effects of free radicals and toxins, it makes sense that they would also do the heavy lifting of offering anti-inflammatory benefits to your body. When your body is distressed, areas experiencing duress or stress can become inflamed. Antioxidants, particularly when it comes to your skin (think puffy under-eyes), can help reduce inflammation.
UV rays can be one of the most damaging environmental factors to your skin, particularly if you don’t wear sunscreen. While antioxidants can’t protect you from sun damage by consuming them, having an antioxidant-rich diet can help strengthen your cell processes and combat free radicals present in UV exposure.
Combatting Free Radicals
Though free radicals may sound like a buzzword, they're important to understand when it comes to your skin and overall health. Free radicals are unstable molecules that impact the health of your cells and can harm their growth. Free radicals are the by-product of natural processes in your body in addition to coming from the environment.
Tobacco smoke, UV radiation, and air pollution can all emit free radicals, which, in turn, can become incorporated into your body and harm healthy cell growth. Antioxidants can help combat the free radicals in your body by neutralizing their harmful processes.
One of the best things about antioxidants is their capacity to support your skin. Vitamins E, A, and C all have different properties to support a healthier complexion. Whether you apply an antioxidant oil or serum topically or ingest one of our elixirs to support your skin from the inside out, your skin will rejoice at the benefits of antioxidants.
How Do Antioxidants Work?
Let’s get scientific for a second: it’s important to understand how antioxidants work so that you can be as informed as possible about what you are putting into your body and onto your skin. So, let’s look at how, specifically, antioxidants work.
As we’ve reviewed, antioxidants are chemicals that counteract the dangerous effects that free radicals can have on your body. Free radicals are particularly harmful because they contain unstable electrons, which means that they are lacking in a full set of electrons.
Because molecules seek balance, free radicals will steal an electron from other molecules in the body, damaging them. Though this entire process happens in fractions of a second, it can do a significant amount of damage. Antioxidants come into the picture when they give up one of their electrons and help to neutralize the harmful presence of free radicals.
Now that you understand more about antioxidants, it’s critical to recognize that free radicals are unavoidable. While they do come from harmful environmental factors, our bodies produce free radicals as byproducts of naturally-occurring processes. As such, it’s important to prioritize getting enough antioxidants to neutralize the presence of free radicals.
Are Antioxidants Effective?
The short answer: yes. Antioxidants have been found in lab tests and research studies to be highly effective in counteracting oxidative stress — a cell-damaging process triggered by free radicals. And yet, what’s most important is making sure that you are getting the necessary vitamins and minerals from whole foods and a balanced diet — not just relying on supplements to support your body.
In order for antioxidants to be most effective, your diet and lifestyle must be filled with balanced nutrients; whole fruits and vegetables, protein-rich sources, and plenty of fiber will help support your body's natural processes. Incorporating antioxidants in supplement form will not help support your body if you aren’t getting enough nutrients from your diet.
Should I Apply Antioxidants Topically or Ingest Them?
There are a number of antioxidants that can be applied topically, typically in the form of oils and serums. Additionally, antioxidants can be ingested in whole-food or supplemental form. But, the question is, which form will be the most effective for supporting your health and wellness?
The primary difference between ingesting antioxidants instead of applying them topically is that ingesting them will work systematically throughout your body. The antioxidants will move through your system and work throughout your entire body as they move through. Applying antioxidant serums or oils topically means that a specific area will be targeted, and the antioxidants will be absorbed by the skin in that area.
One of the most effective ways to bring antioxidants into your system in a flavorful way is through our Supergreens Elixir, a nutrient-dense combination geared towards supporting every aspect of your body, from your immune system to gut health.
With over 75 nutrients in this elixir, your body will be supported and energized throughout the day. Looking for something more focused on hydration? Our Cranberry Hydration Elixir can be added to your water on the go for a flavorful antioxidant and electrolyte-filled boost to help you keep moving.
How Often Should I Use Antioxidants for Best Results?
Antioxidants are best used daily, as there are no harmful effects to using antioxidants regularly. Found in most fresh fruits and vegetables, it is likely that you are already consuming antioxidants regularly as part of your diet.
If you are looking to boost your health, incorporate antioxidants into your daily wellness routine, ensuring no interactions between bringing in new vitamins or minerals that you might not have regularly introduced into your diet before.
The Bottom Line
Antioxidants are powerful. There are a myriad of ways in which antioxidants can support your skin and overall health and do the heavy lifting of combatting the harmful effects of free radicals as they present themselves in your body.
The bottom line is that you should be seeking out antioxidants in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables, instead of reaching immediately for a supplement. Antioxidants are likely to be more effective in bodies that are already healthy and cannot make up for a body lacking in critical nutrients.
Particularly if you are exposed to the sun, air pollution, or carcinogens for extended periods of time, it’s important to counteract the harmful presence of free radicals with antioxidant-rich foods.