Antioxidants are something you hear about all the time without really knowing it. We link them to “detox” care, to the trend of a healthy diet, vegetables, fruits… So what is an antioxidant? What are its benefits? Why is it so good to have antioxidants in your routine? We tell you everything about everything.
So, what is an antioxidant?
To begin with, the word antioxidant refers to a category of active ingredients. Antioxidants can be polyphenols for example polyphenols are antioxidants secreted by plants to protect against oxidation and scab (the disease that causes the fruit to have spots). But antioxidants can be vitamins or enzymes
As its name suggests, the characteristic of an antioxidant is to fight against oxidation. Skin oxidation is the degradation of molecules in our cells by oxygen atoms. This oxidation is triggered by the presence of free radicals, therefore responsible for oxidative stress.
An antioxidant is therefore a molecule that prevents oxidative stress.
But what about oxidative stress?
Oxidative stress is the process of oxidation of cells by free radicals. Free radicals are small molecules or unstable atoms which are grafted to the constituent molecules of our cells to stabilize themselves. As the result, it causes chain reactions that degrade our cells and their component.
Oxidative stress degrades collagen molecules and also promotes the appearance of pigment spots and wrinkles. Oxidative stress is aggravated by photoaging due to the effects of the sun: following prolonged exposure to UV rays, oxidative stress increases.
The number of free radicals increases depending on a set of factors: pollution, stress, UVA and UVB rays from the sun, tobacco, alcohol… When this quantity of free radicals is too important, the body depletes its natural antioxidants such as vitamin E and oxidative stress begins.
This oxidative stress is responsible for many of our problems: dull complexion, dark spots, accelerated ageing, lack of uniformity of the complexion … It is for these reasons that we recommend antioxidants in your routine.
Why use an antioxidant?
Using an antioxidant is to protect your skin from external aggressions: yes, they fight oxidative stress but they are not only used for that. The vitamin C for example, if used as a sunscreen, improves protection against UVA and UVB rays!
Benefits of Antioxidants
- Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress
- Antioxidants prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin: they slow down the ageing of the skin
- Antioxidants prevent a dull complexion
- Antioxidants brighten the face and evens the complexion
Which antioxidants and products should you choose?
The antioxidant best known is vitamin C. In addition to its antioxidant power, it stimulates collagen production, awakens dull complexions, evens skin tone and reduces hyperpigmentation. Vitamin C can be used in the form of cleanser, serum, sunscreen or moisturiser, it will do its work efficiently.
Vegetable oils are often rich in antioxidants and various vitamins. Products enriched with Jojoba or avocado oil for example are rich in vitamin E: this vitamin is produced and used by the skin to protect itself from the sun.