What Exactly Is an Antioxidant?
A general term encompassing several groups of organic molecules, antioxidants are the skin’s first line of defence against free radical damage. While they’re found in several prominent food groups, such as berries and leafy greens, antioxidants also occur naturally in the skin. But what really goes on beneath the skin’s surface when antioxidants come into play?
Broadly speaking, antioxidants help to fight skin damage linked to external factors in our environment, such as UV rays, which are linked to 80% of premature cutaneous aging. They do this by halting a phenomenon known as free radical damage, which is triggered by these factors and has been shown to accelerate visible signs of aging. Essentially, antioxidant-rich foods help slow the spread of these oxidizing free radicals, reinforcing the antioxidants already present within the skin to fight against free radicals.
What Foods Are Rich in Antioxidants?
Antioxidant-based skincare is a growing phenomenon, but it’s important to ensure your diet contains enough of them. Foods rich in antioxidants are noted for their anti-aging properties, particularly when it comes to combating the effects of UV-related stress. Carrots, for example, are rich in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene. Once digested, this pigment is transformed into Vitamin A, which is essential for collagen production.
Another antioxidant, lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been proven to help reduce inflammation linked to sunburn. Finally, research has shown that another type of antioxidant, polyphenols (found in dark chocolate and grapes, among other ingredients) can help improve cardiovascular function, boosting circulation.