Left: Sheetal Rawal, scientist (human genetics) & founder of Apsara Skin Care
By: Sravanthi P. & Sheetal R.
What are antioxidants? Well, simply put, they are the opposite of oxidants. Oxidants (a form of oxygen that is capable of harming our cells) can eventually turn into free radicals, which are well known to cause early aging and disease, chiefly by attacking the cell membranes and compromising the health of our skin’s cells.
What do antioxidants do? They undo what oxidants do and can also prevent the extent and severity of damage proactively.
In other words, antioxidants help our skin recover from the damage caused by the oxidants and also prevent any future harm that oxidants may cause our skin. By protecting our skin from these harsh radicals, antioxidants end up protecting the collagen and elastin tissues from degrading before time. This means firm skin that does not show early signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines (also dullness, sagging and dark spots).
Oxidants are unstable molecules not only found in the environment but also produced by our own
body as part of the metabolic process. However, too many oxidants can cause skin and health problems. We cannot avoid our interaction with oxidants since they can be produced every day by sun exposure, cigarette smoke, air pollution, alcohol, etc. Eating unhealthy foods and exposing our skin to the harsh chemicals found in most run-of-the-mill skin care products can radically amplify the levels of oxidants in our system. This means early aging at the level of the skin. Excess exposure to the sun is one of the major external factors to skin’s early aging since it promotes the production of oxidants. It is crucial to get rid of the excess unwanted radicals which contribute to producing aging signs.
Isn’t it simple to destroy these harmful radicals? Just consume or apply products containing antioxidants, one might wonder. However, the process is not that simple. It is important to balance the amounts of oxidants and antioxidants in our body.
The 3 antioxidants known to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and actually prevent further damage are Vitamin E, and Vitamin C, and turmeric.
These names might appear on products lining the skin care aisles everywhere. But the sad fact is that these antioxidants might not be present in ideal amounts or their pure natural form. In addition, these products likely have many other harsh chemicals in them, that could completely nullify any positive impact from these antioxidants. Beware of advertising claims. Not all products are equal.
"I [found] a great difference after using that: my skin doesn’t itch, my skin calms down immediately after I put the products. I hope I can stick with this product for my whole life."
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E has the capacity to protect and support our cell membranes along with preventing free radical damage to them. Although both natural and synthetic forms of
Vitamin E are available for us, research shows that the natural forms of Vitamin E have a higher absorption rate and can thus provide better and faster desirable results. Wheat germ oil is a natural source of some high-quality Vitamin E. The same is true for almond oil. No wonder then almond oil has a splendid reputation in Ayurveda for its significant anti-aging properties. So then it becomes obvious that almond oil should be part of your daily skin care routine if you desire that skin to be radiant and glowing (not to mention young forever!). Watch this video to learn how to have a complete skin care routine.
Here’s a list of some foods that are rich in Vitamin E: sunflower oil, spinach, oats, dried apricots, almonds, broccoli, avocado, papaya, and green olives.
If you need an easy anti-aging remedy for your skin, watch this video to learn how to make a Vitamin E and banana mask. Enjoy and please subscribe to my YouTube channel!
2. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a great antioxidant which is prone to donating electrons to unstable oxidants and thus make them ineffective. This characteristic of Vitamin C makes it an ideal
ingredient for our skin because it neutralizes the radicals on our face and prevents the breakdown of collagen. This helps by keeping our skin firm, decreasing dark spots and dullness. Getting plenty of Vitamin C on your skin in form of a weekly face mask can be simply awesome. A face mask with pure papaya extract will offer plenty of Vitamin C as well as papain. Antioxidant power as well as natural exfoliation: beautiful and youthful skin, in other words.
Here are a few foods that can provide a significant amount of Vitamin C to our body: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits and tangerines, pineapple, strawberries, cherries, kiwi, etc.
It is beneficial to eat plenty of these if you desire your skin to be flawless and able to defend itself beautifully from negative signs of sun exposure.
I saved the best for last. Turmeric has its roots dug deep in Indian culture. It is nature’s miracle and highly respected and used in Ayurveda as a youth-promoting ingredient. It has also been used in Ayurveda to reduce signs of trouble on the skin. From calming down a cut to fading the appearance of sunspots, turmeric is a do-it-all ingredient.
Both Chinese and Indian ancient culture used turmeric as medicine. Not to mention, it is also in the ingredient list of almost all Indian foods. Turmeric has wonderful antioxidant properties, which not only give us healthy skin by neutralizing free radicals but also provide effective prevention against cancer and many other common diseases. Turmeric gets these antioxidant properties from its main component: curcumin. This spice is truly magical.
Turmeric has antioxidant properties that are many times greater than Vitamin E (which was considered to be the main antioxidant). The effectiveness of turmeric is amazing because it is even able to react with the most reactive free radical: hydroxyl radical. It has been
known for centuries for offering our skin color balancing and natural sun protection properties. It might well be its antioxidant power punch that makes it suitable to prevent aging due to sun exposure. The key is to use it as part of a daily skin care routine (ideally in the form of an essential oil that has its highest potency). This way skin remains exposed to the benefits of turmeric on a 24-hour basis. This results in skin that is simply flawless! This ancient knowledge is the best beauty secret ever.
Read this article about turmeric’s use in DIY skin care remedies, with Sheetal’s expert opinions on this queen of all spices.
So in the end, if you want flawless skin for life and want to keep it ageless and protected from the harms of excess sun exposure, you must work on a bi-directional approach.
1. Have a natural daily and weekly skin care routine that has antioxidant ingredients like turmeric, wheat germ oil, etc (click here to learn how to have a complete skin care routine).
2. Eat plenty of antioxidant-rich foods that can provide internal support and health, so that externally your skin is able to defend itself well.
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Go natural. It is good karma!