A Guide to Antioxidants and Skin Health
Because the skin is the largest organ, taking care of it is important and antioxidants can help. These potent nutrients battle free radicals, potentially harmful compounds that attack all types of body cells including those of the skin. By neutralizing free radicals, certain antioxidants ensure healthier skin and may even help prevent skin cancer. People who desire fresher, smoother skin can benefit from this guide to antioxidants and skin health.
A carotenoid responsible for the color in red fruits and vegetables, lycopene promotes the production of collagen, the key protein in skin tissue. A powerful antioxidant, lycopene helps neutralize free radicals that damage the skin and cause wrinkles. In addition to these benefits, one study showed that people who consume tomato products containing lycopene regularly reduce chances for UV damage to the skin by 30 percent. In addition to red fruits and vegetables like ruby red grapefruit, watermelon, and tomatoes, people can obtain lycopene through supplements or look for it as an ingredient in skincare products. Because lycopene degrades easily, people should keep skincare containers well sealed.
The active from of vitamin A in the skin, retinoic acid protects skin from further sun damage if applied topically as a gel or cream. Because too much retinoic acid can lead to redness, dry skin, and peeling, people should start with a low concentration and apply it every second or third day. In addition to offering a protective effect from photo-aging, a study published in The Journal of Dermatological Science showed that treatment with retinoic acid helps improve skin fibers and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient often touted for immune system benefits, but scientists are also looking into its skin health properties. While foods rich in vitamin C have not been shown to benefit the skin, researchers at Duke University Medical Center interested in antioxidants and skin health found that topical application of vitamin C offers protection from photo-aging, particularly when paired with vitamin E.
Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in skin cells that boosts the production of collagen, helping to reduce the appearance of age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin E has been shown in several studies to help prevent inflammatory damage associated with UV exposure. People can obtain vitamin E through foods like almonds, sunflower seed, and olive oil or through dietary supplements and topical skincare products.
Taking care of the skin not only benefits overall health, but helps people look better as they age. A number of antioxidants like lycopene, retinoic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin E can help. When it comes to antioxidants and skin health, people can consume certain foods, choose daily dietary supplements, or obtain these beneficial compounds topically through skincare products.