Importance of Antioxidants

One of the major causes of aging is free radical damage. As has been discussed earlier, free radicals are the indiscriminate and highly reactive chemicals that have the ability to damage the structure of all living cells. The majority of free radicals come from the day to day burning of fuel that happens in all cells every minute of the day and night. Large amount of exposure to sun and pollutants can cause additional free radical damage to the skin.

Antioxidants that are applied topically can provide some protection from environmental damage to the skin. They can also help to slow the aging process of the skin. It is important to note that topical antioxidants are not particularly reliable. Their effectiveness is dependent on a number of different factors including skin permeability, the other ingredients in the salve and many other internal and external factors. It seems that taking an increased amount of antioxidants orally will provide additional protection for the skin from free radical damage. It is important to keep in mind that there is not a lot of hard scientific evidence to prove that oral and topical antioxidants can provide lasting benefits to the skin.

Solubility in fat or water is an integral property for oxidants. To explain it in simple terms, living cells have two different kinds of characteristics – watery ones that are the found both inside and outside the cells and oily membranes that are effectively partitions between the cells and cellular components. It therefore follows that water soluble anti-oxidants are used for the areas inside and outside the cell where there is a lot of water and fat soluble antioxidants are used to provide protection for the oily membranes. Both kinds of antioxidants are necessary in order to have a protective shield against free radicals throughout the body and in the skin in particular.

Solubility of Antioxidants

Water Soluble

Vitamin C is rich with powerful antioxidants and agents to boost our immune systems, vitamin C also aids in the regeneration of our bodies’ internal antioxidant—oxidized glutathione. While the human body is unable to produce its own vitamin C, as some animals can, we can get our vitamin C from food sources and nutritional supplements.
Anthocyanins gives fruits and vegetables their color. Acai berry is rich in anthocyanins.
Glutathione is a natural antioxidant in the human body.
Catechins are abundant in cacao beans and green tea. Lessens the effects of stroke, assists Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s sufferers and boosts immune system functions.
Punicalagins is a strong cancer suppresser, and is found in pomegranate and tropical flowering trees.
Xanthones is a major antioxidant component in mangosteen, can be used to determine urea levels in the blood.

Vitamin E is an extremely effective antioxidant that finds and removes toxins, such as lead and mercury, and free radicals from fatty portions of the body. It can also protect us against lung, colon, breast, and mouth cancer. The recommended daily amount of Vitamin E is 400-800 IU for normal individuals, less for those with high blood pressure, and it can be found in products such as soybeans, corn, cottonseed oil, and wheat germ

Vitamin A is a less powerful, though still important, source of antioxidants, responsible for aiding our body to produce epithelial tissues necessary for our respiratory systems. Epithelial tissues also help to make cells cancer-resistant. Vitamin A is found in cod liver oil, beef liver, chicken liver, and sharks, though it is toxic in quantities of 10,000 IU or more.

Other sources of vitamin A are the carotenoids: (Foods include fruit, vegetables and eggs)

Water and Fat Soluble

Lipoic Acid is found in almost all foods but more in kidney, heart, liver, spinach, broccoli, and yeast extract.
Some Polyphenolic Antioxidants can be found in foods including tea, coffee, soy, fruit, olive oil, chocolate, cinnamon, oregano and red wine. Also Resveratrol and some Flavanoids.

In the coming sections we will look at the role of certain antioxidant supplements and nutrients which seem to be the most beneficial to the skin.

In order to keep you skin looking healthy you need to maintain a diet that is well balanced nutritionally. While healthy eating may not produce striking results, not eating a healthy diet will cause your skin to age much faster.
Blood sugar levels have an important effect on the aging process. Glucose is not only a key fuel for cellular use but it is also a potentially damaging substance when it comes to tissues and cells.
The good health of every organ in the body is dependent on vitamins and minerals; the skin is one of those organs. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be particularly harmful to the skin and can result in accelerated aging or skin disease.
Non-essential nutrients are the ones that the body can do without or else are synthesized by the body productively. Essential nutrients are the ones that body cannot make itself and cannot do without either. The third type of nutrient are the conditionally essential ones, these can be synthesized by the body if it is working at optimal efficiency.
One of the main fat soluble antioxidant vitamins found in the body is vitamin E. It have protective functions within the cellular membrane, the lipoproteins and other structures that are oily in nature. Skin is particularly high in unsaturated fatty acids so using vitamin E (both topically and orally) is very beneficial.
When silicone is mentioned in terms of beauty the first thought that most have is break implants, most of which are done with silica gel implants. Interestingly that isn’t the only use for silicone in the beauty market. There is actually a safer and more natural use for it, that is in food supplements that are rich in bioavailable forms of silicone.
The cost of a skin care treatment should not be indicative of its value for the skin. In other words, just because a remedy or supplement is expensive doesn’t mean that it is good. Cheaper remedies can be very effective. A good example of this is the fact that regular exercise which can cost nothing or close to it can have very positive effects on your cardiovascular system. Eating less carbohydrates and cutting down on your caloric intake can have life lengthening effects that are cheap and easy to achieve.