Biologically, your skin ages. At 25, you stop producing collagen, the protein that gives your skin its plump and elasticity (eek! ), and the collagen you now have will steadily deteriorate as you age, just as elastin keeps your skin taut to your face and clings to its contours.
Even though you cannot stop your skin’s natural physiological ageing, you can prevent accelerated ageing. Accelerated ageing occurs when external factors influence the rate at which our skin ages physiologically.
There is something in our environment that acts as an accelerant towards accelerated aging. Beware — they aren’t a group of rock stars from the 80s. Free radicals damage our skin through oxidation, which occurs when too much oxygen reaches a certain area of our skin – in this case, of the skin – resulting in damage to our skin’s DNA that can have a knock-on effect. We are left susceptible to a variety of skin concerns when our skin is affected by oxidation and the resulting free radicals, including increased photo damage (aka damage caused by UV rays).
There are too many free radicals (without enough antioxidants to balance them… more on this soon) leading to something known as oxidative stress. Oxidative stress causes your collagen and elastin to become damaged and weakened. Now, this may not sound very bad to those not in the know, but the physical consequences…
• Crepe-like skin
• Lax skin
• Deeper wrinkles
• A higher likelihood of fine lines
The role of antioxidants in anti-aging skincare
Why are you shaking in your boots? Well, there are thousands of bottles, tubs and tubes out there that have been proven to reduce free radical damage already. It’s true! It is antioxidants that are responsible for preventing free radical damage to the skin. Easy peasy, isn’t it?
Here’s an example to illustrate what antioxidants do. They serve to stop free radicals from damaging cellular processes. For instance, oxidation is what causes the exposed apple flesh to turn brown. Antioxidants similarly neutralize free radicals by neutralizing them, protecting you from skin damage.
You can squeeze lemon juice on to an apple to prevent it from browning; this is what lemon juice does. It is impossible to name all the antioxidants out there, but here are a few of the most powerful ones you’ll find in cleansers, serums, masks, creams and other skin care products:
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Green tea extract (camellia sinensis)
• Coenzyme Q10 (coQ10, ubiquinone)
From the inside out
You need to nourish the skin from within… Don’t forget that you need to get your antioxidants from your diet and/or supplements too. Foods with high antioxidant content include:
• Goji berries
• Turmeric Thyme
• Dark chocolate
• Red wine (in the form of resveratrol – but remember that
it is causing free radical damage at the same time)
I’ll leave you with one more My Beauty Secret tip… Don’t fool yourself. A serum or a masque will not be able to combat all of the damage done by smoking, drinking, and not getting enough sleep. Your body will thank you first and foremost for self-care. Antioxidants will be your backup dancers!