You've probably watched your fair share of commercials or come across advertisements of certain products that you need to try because they're rich in antioxidants. Dietitians and even regular people recommend eating berries and other such fruits and vegetables for the very same reason - antioxidants. But what even are these antioxidants and what's so good about them that you need to put them on your body and even consume foods rich in them? Well, the short answer to this that they're your best friends really. The ones you never knew you needed!What are Antioxidants?
The foundation of any relationship is understanding one another. Since antioxidants are your best friends, you need to know more about them! Let's take a stroll down the chemistry and biology lanes (promise it won't be too long) to get a good grasp of things.
To sum it up, antioxidants prevent or slow down the damage to cells caused by free radicals or unstable molecules that are produced in our bodies in response to environmental and other pressures.
Antioxidants and Free Radicals: Maintaining a Balance
This sentence opens up another question - what even are free radicals? So free radicals are these waste substances that cells produce.
Free radicals are not the villains of this story. Think of them as your frenemies. They're constantly being produced in our body and, till a certain limit, they are required. For example, our immune cells use free radicals to fight bacteria and infection. You have to realise that free radicals are unstable and highly reactive molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. The rule of life is that everything tries to achieve balance. To stabilise themselves, free radicals attack other molecules in the body. This triggers a chain reaction that ends up harming many healthy cells.
The thing is, our body needs to maintain a healthy balance of antioxidants and free radicals. Factors such as air pollution, smoking, drinking habits, toxins, high sugar levels and infections among others prompt the body to produce more free radicals. This is can be very bad for our bodies. Bad how? If you have more free radicals than antioxidants, it can lead to oxidative stress. That's bad news. Prolonged oxidative stress can damage your DNA and other important molecules Sometimes it even leads to cell death. Damage to DNA cells increases your risks of cancer, heart disease and many other problems. This damage is linked to our natural ageing too. That's why you'll often read or hear people saying antioxidants help make your skin look younger or delay signs of ageing.
Moral of the story: antioxidants are really good for you.
Why Antioxidants in Your Skincare Matter
If you have good friends, you want them to be around all the time right? The same thing goes for antioxidants. There is a wide variety of reasons for why you need to start using skincare products containing antioxidants. Let's list some of them down for you!
- Slowing down ageing - You might have heard of vitamin C and how good it is at brightening dull complexions and preventing premature ageing. Well, vitamin C is an antioxidant! You'll also find a lot of talk of retinols and retinoids and how they're great at increasing collagen production. Retinols are derivatives of vitamin A, an antioxidant.
- Helping with sunburns - Sunburn is the worst. That prickly burning sensation is horrible and it doesn't look great either so sunscreen is a must. Antioxidants are known to provide some extra sun protection because they blunt the skin's inflammatory response to the sun.
- Preventing cancer - This isn't the only solution and it isn't a fool-proof one either but it's still helpful to exercise some precautions! Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E are known to have anticarcinogenic properties.
- Evening out skin tone - Antioxidants help with tackling hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone too!
- Repairing the skin barrier - Antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties too. They're great at repairing damage to the skin cells and help strengthen them.
Turns out your best friends do a lot for you. They help you out in need and are great for you and your body! Antioxidants are definitely really good for you. But what really matters is a healthy diet, sufficient sleep and exercise! So while you're stocking up on antioxidants in your skincare products, make sure to keep a healthy diet too!