How Antioxidants Delay Skin Ageing
Topical antioxidants play a vital role in delaying skin ageing.
Last month we took a closer look at the skin anatomy and the all important natural skin biome. This month I will be delving into how to slow down or delay skin ageing and how drier weather conditions, free radical damage, and invisible factors such as light wavelengths emitted from laptop screens, monitors, cell phones all accelerate the natural skin ageing process.
What Are The Main Benefits of Antioxidants for Your Skin?
Antioxidants play a vital role in slowing down the ageing process in the skin. They achieve this by protecting our skins from environmental damage, reducing the appearance of pigmentation, increasing hydration, and improving the overall health of the skin.
Our environment consistently exposes our skins to free radical damage. So, our daily exposure to smog, pollution, smoke, exhaust fumes, and factory emissions provide oxidative free radicals that cause damage to skin cells and accelerate the skin ageing process. Oxidative stress in cells leads to cell changes or mutations and inflammatory responses. This in turn leads to collagen and elastin breakdown, impairment of the skin barrier, either an increase or a decrease of sebum production which can lead to excessively dry skin or even acne breakouts.
Pollution has been strongly linked to increased environmental free radicle damage to the skin. It is sometimes referred to as atmospheric ageing or ozone pollution ageing. Ozone pollution oxidizes lipids and depletes skin’s natural antioxidant reservoir which in turn leads to a progressive cascade of damage that contributes to visible signs of aging: leads to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Ground level ozone has also been shown to deplete the skin of vitamins E and C, two essential ingredients in the body’s natural defence mechanism that protects against oxidative damage.
Antioxidants have been shown to not only neutralise these free radicals, but they also repair damaged skin, and they reduce the inflammatory response. This positive cascade of events in the skin leads to a delay in skin ageing and a healthy looking, glowing skin.
Dr Alek’s Antioxidant Choice: Mornings: vitamin C + E, evenings: vitamin A + Resveratrol.
Antioxidants Increase SPF:
Studies have shown that antioxidants help to protect against UV damage through several different processes. Firstly, it has been shown that vitamin C when applied in the morning followed by your moisturiser and SPF has the ability to increase the effectiveness of your SPF. Secondly, by reducing the inflammatory reaction caused by harmful UV exposure we also reduce the damage caused to the skin barrier and underlying skin cells. And finally, antioxidants such as vitamin C will increase your natural skin’s SPF.
Dr Alek’s Antioxidant Choice: mornings: vitamin C + E.
Our skin barrier is constantly under threat as it provides our protective layer. The skin barrier prevents the loss of water out of our skin and helps to prevent the entrance of harmful microorganisms or irritants.
The skin barrier has numerous essential protective functions:
- It prevents water and electrolytes from evaporating through the skin
- Serves as a protective shield against harmful microorganisms by producing antimicrobial peptides and proteins
- Helps to maintain the skin’s immunity
- It regulates inflammation.
When our skin barrier is healthy then we typically experience a skin complexion that looks smooth, clear, even-toned, and has a healthy glow. If one’s skin barrier is damaged, then we tend to experience redness, irritation, breakouts, rashes, burning sensations, broken capillaries, dryness, and even tightness.
The skin barrier and its function can be affected by drier weather conditions such as the upcoming winter months, and visible light from monitors and cell phones. UV damage can also cause inflammatory effects which change how the skin barrier functions.
Antioxidants provide a vital protective and repairing function to the skin barrier. This in turn results in the delay of skin ageing and a healthy glowing looking skin. An optimally functioning skin barrier allows our topical skincare regime to reach its full potential.
Dr Alek’s Antioxidant Choice: mornings: Niacinamide (or vitamin B3) with vitamin C + E.
Niacinamide is a very effective skin-restoring ingredient that helps to visibly improve the appearance of enlarged pores, improve uneven skin tone, reduce fine lines and dullness and strengthens a weakened skin barrier. Niacinamide can also help reduce the impact of environmental damage to the skin.
I hope the above has helped you in understanding why we should be adding an antioxidant to your skincare regime and how they are vital to delay skin ageing.
Please see our full list of antioxidants here.
Yours in skin
Dr Alek Nikolic