You’ve probably heard a lot about antioxidants in relation to your diet or use of skin care products and you know that having enough antioxidants is important, but you may not know why.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against free radicals, which play a role in various diseases, as well as skin aging. Free radicals are produced during normal biological processes and from external factors such as UV radiation and smoking. When there is an imbalance between the free radicals and antioxidants, the result is “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress can damage every part of our cells, including the DNA.
We get most of our antioxidants from our diet, but skin care products are also able to deliver antioxidants directly to the skin where they are needed for protection against the damaging effects of UV radiation. Examples of naturally occurring antioxidants, present in aguaje oil, are vitamins C and E, carotenoids (beta carotene), flavonoids and phenols.
Plant-based sources of antioxidants are the best. Plants produce antioxidants in response to oxidative stress arising from environmental factors and can accumulate many low molecular weight antioxidants. It has been shown that plants growing in tropical regions contain more flavonoids (antioxidants) than those growing in temperate climates because of exposure to higher levels of UV radiation (sunlight). In the case of aguaje, as the aguaje tree reaches for the sunlight, towering 10 stories above the rainforest floor, the fruit is exposed to high levels of sunlight. The result is a fruit oil that is rich in antioxidants.
The skin needs antioxidants because UV radiation is known to produce free radicals in human skin, causing oxidative damage (photo-aging). Photo-aging is characterized by changes in pigmentation and degradation of collagen leading to fine lines and wrinkles.
So antioxidants are essential for keeping the skin smooth, clear and firm.
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Mayo Clinic (2019). Slide show – Add antioxidants to your diet. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/multimedia/antioxidants/sls-20076428
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