Antioxidants and Natural Skincare

Antioxidants are substances that can protect cells against the effects of free radicals. Free radicals are defined as unstable and chemically incomplete atoms that “steal” electrons from other atoms in order to stabilise. Free radicals are a product of oxidation, which include basic aerobic processes in the body such as respiration, metabolism and digestion. The more we use oxygen, the more we create free radicals. Free radical production is dramatically increased due to environmental pollution, smoking, and sunlight. Once released they go about wreaking havoc in the body attacking and damaging healthy cells in order to chemically stabilise.  Almost every disease in the book can be linked to free radicals, including the external effects of aging, such as wrinkles and dry skin.

Antioxidants are nutrients in our food that are able to provide an electron to the unstable free radical, thus neutralizing its effect and slowing oxidative damage in our bodies.  They are also therefore known as “free radical scavengers”.

For any and every health benefit, including healthy skin, antioxidant-containing foods should form an integral part of the diet. The antioxidant classes have been comprehensively reviewed. Vitamin A, E, C and selenium are antioxidants commonly found in many vegetables, vegetable oils and fruits. A class of antioxidants called flavonoids are found in many colourful fruits or vegetables such as red pepper, carrots and purple grapes and olives. Other classes include the polyphenols (olive oil) lycopenes (tomato, red grapefruit), the lignans (flax seed, barley), the luteins (dark green vegetables), vitamin-like antioxidants (co-enzyme Q10, glutathione) and some antioxidant enzymes made by the body. As a general rule, fruits and vegetables containing a lot of colour - be it dark green, orange, red or purple – are bound to contain high levels of antioxidants. 

Generally the rule is that whatever benefits you from the "inside-out" in the form of food or supplements should also benefit you from the "outside-in". In other words an antioxidant containing food that is eaten is also effective as a topical application. For optimal glowing skin health, therefore, both diet and topical care play an important role. Dr. Perricone, long-considered by many as one of the leading experts in the field of anti-aging refers to the free radical damage of skin cells as inflammatory damage. This also affects the collagen within the skin and causes all the problems associated with aging, including wrinkles, sagging skin, and age-related disease. He lists several key antioxidant skincare ingredients including alpha lipoic acid, DMAE (an amino acid or protein building block) Vitamin C and polyphenols like olive oil, among others.

In reNu Organic Skincare products such as the anti-aging serum, we utilise small amounts of concentrated antioxidant forms like alpha lipoic acid and Co-enzyme Q10, both antioxidants also naturally produced by the body. The plant oils used in all the products, such as Shea Butter, Jojoba wax, Olive oil, sesame seed oil, Marula oil and coconut oil, are also rich in antioxidants as well as having EXCEPTIONAL moisturising and nutritional properties.