Antioxidants are increasingly becoming an important part of a good overall health. In the latest battle against ageing skin, topical antioxidants incorporated into a good skin care regimen go a long way towards countering the bad effects of free radicals such as smoking, oxidative foods, additives, preservatives, exposure to UV rays, high alcohol consumption, exhaust fumes, pollution and certain chemicals found in some skin care and household products in our everyday environment.
Many people think that using good skin care products, undergoing cosmetic procedures and treatments on their faces and bodies will help them to slow down the ageing process. These obviously helps greatly but when it comes to preserving the skin, topical antioxidants are becoming a popular weapon in the arsenal of anti-ageing products. Antioxidants contain vitamins and nutrients which neutralise free radicals and help to prevent future damage.
A good skin care regimen should include:
- Cleansing – Morning and night
- Exfoliation – Fruit acids (such as glycolic) which are often found in a good anti-ageing creams, exfoliate on a daily basis or have regular monthly peels – some people have said it is the best facial they have ever had.
- Antioxidant serums – Use morning and night under your moisturising creams.
- Day Moisturiser – This should contain active anti-ageing ingredients and an added sunscreen.
- Night Moisturiser – Generally richer than a day moisturiser – night moisturisers often have more active anti-ageing ingredients such as Vitamin A.
- Sunscreen – It should be used in the morning, over the moisturiser if it is does not contain a sunscreen. Always add an extra layer if you are going to be outdoors for long periods.
Sun exposure without the use of a sunscreen creates free radicals which in turn causes damage to DNA – when DNA is compromised, cells mutate and skin cancers forms. Skin starts to sag and wrinkle as the elastin fibres and collagen become damaged. With the continued onslaught of UV rays, skin literally breaks down and either becomes tough, leathery and sagging in people with more subaceous (oily) skins or tissue paper thin and badly wrinkled in people with dry skins – this is often peppered with dark brown sunspots, uneven skin tone and telangiectasia (red veins).
The best way to protect against UV damage is to try and prevent it happening in the first place and to be Sun-Sensible i.e. limit sun exposure, just getting enough sunshine to keep your Vitamin D levels healthy and to be mindful of what time of the day you go into the sun. Most importantly, always apply a sunscreen – the modern sunscreens also contain antioxidants and good moisturisers which keep the skin hydrated.
Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables, together with antioxidant supplementation in the form of Vitamin C (protects collagen and elastin), Vitamin E (protects against UV damage), Vitamin D3 (for overall health), Omega-3 Fatty Acids will provide further protection against free radicals and oxidative stress as will the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ-10)