Antioxidant Skin Benefits – Wrinkle Preventing Power

Antioxidants – reap the benefits through food or topical skincare products

Today we discuss what role antioxidants play in our skin and which ones may be beneficial for anti-aging. Antioxidants are perfect for reducing oxygen-free radicals, the unstable particles that damage our skin cells. Free radicals can potentially lead to sun damage and even skin cancers. Exposure to sunlight depletes antioxidants in the skin, but these antioxidants can be replaced through alternative methods.

Antioxidant ointments, creams, gels, and lotions (“topical products”) may help reduce the risk of wrinkles and protect against sun damage. Unlike sunscreens, they build up in the skin and are not washed away, so the protection may last longer.

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Types of Antioxidants

Selenium, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and alpha-lipoic acid are types of antioxidants that come in topical form. Evidence of true effectiveness is limited, and more human studies need to be conducted.

Vitamin A is important for skin health. UV radiation leads to vitamin A deficiencies in the skin. Topical products containing natural forms of vitamin A (retinol, retinaldehyde) or vitamin A-related products called retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene) may help repair skin damage due to sunburn andnatural aging.

Tretinoin (known commercially as Retin-A) is the only topical medication approved for treating photoaging. It is available in prescription form (Avita, Renova, Differin). This drug produces a rosy glow and reduces fine and large wrinkles, liver spots, and surface roughness. It reduces the signs of aging by stimulating collagen production. Because Retin-A increases a person’s sensitivity to the sun, patients should apply just a tiny amount at bedtime, and wear sunblock during the day.

Retinol, a natural form of vitamin A, could not, until recently, be used in skin products because it was unstable and easily broken down by UV radiation. Stable preparations are now sold over the counter. In the right concentrations, retinol may be as effective as tretinoin, and studies indicate that it has fewer side effects. Adding antioxidant creams (such as those containing vitamins C or E) may offer added protection against the degradation of retinol.

The Food and Drug Administration warns that over-the-counter retinol skin products are unregulated. The amount of active ingredients is unknown, and some preparations may contain almost no retinol.

Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a very potent antioxidant. Most studies on the effects of antioxidants on the skin have used this vitamin. In laboratory studies, large amounts of vitamin C reduced skin swelling and protected immune factors from sunlight. Vitamin C may even promote collagen production. Vitamin C by itself is unstable, but products that solve the delivery problem are now available

Antioxidants Under Investigation for Skin Care. Other antioxidants are being investigated for their value in skin protection. Most available brands, however, contain very low concentrations of these antioxidants. In addition, the antioxidants are not well absorbed and have only a short-term effect. New delivery techniques, however, may offset some of these problems.

Vitamin E. Studies suggest that topical vitamin E, particularly alpha tocopherol cream (a form of vitamin E), decreases skin roughness, length of facial lines, and wrinkle depth.

Niacinamide. This B complex vitamin may have a positive effect on wrinkles and may be beneficial for wrinkles around the eyes.

There is some evidence that pomegranate and soy extracts may help rejuvenate aging skin.

Aloe, ginger, grape seed extract, and coral extracts contain antioxidants and are promoted as being healthy for the skin, although evidence of their effects on wrinkles is weak.

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