We talk a lot about antioxidants here at Form, mainly down to our unbridled admiration for them. For the uninitiated, antioxidants are substances found in foods that can prevent or slow damage to cells by free radicals — oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons.
The damage caused by free radicals can wreak havoc on a number of bodily functions, from changing the important instructions coded in a strand of DNA, to making a circulating LDL molecule — or bad cholesterol — more likely to get trapped in an artery wall.
Having too many of these free radicals in the body also leads to a condition called oxidative stress, which may lead to chronic diseases, especially in later life. Any antioxidant then that can do battle with these pesky radicals is a treasured ally.
Now, many substances can act as an antioxidant, with well-known examples including vitamin C, manganese and flavonoids (the latter is what gives bright fruit and veg their vibrant colour). Fruit, vegetables and whole grains tend to be the best sources of antioxidants, and it’s important to include a wide range of these in your diet — whether or not your mum told you to growing up.
Ok, so antioxidants are super and great for overall health, but what about their effect on the appearance of our skin? Well, it’s no surprise antioxidants can also play a big role in protecting and boosting your skin health. As such they play a key role in our new beauty supplement, Radiant.
To get you up to speed on just what these antioxidants can do for your skin, we asked skincare expert, medical doctor and member of the Royal College of Surgeons, Dr David Jack, to pass on his knowledge, as well as some tips to bring these powerful antioxidants into your daily regime.
What Can Antioxidants Do For Your Skin?
Antioxidants have many functions in the skin. Their key role is to neutralise damage to cells and structures in the skin by free radicals which are reactive molecules produced when the skin is damaged, for example by UV light and certain metabolic processes. Free radicals cause damage by binding to proteins (‘oxidation’), which changes their structure and then stimulates the body to produce inflammation in the skin.
This inflammation in turn causes the release of molecules known as matrix metalloproteinases, which then cause breakdown of proteins in the skin and other tissues. Antioxidants essentially stop these ‘oxidative’ processes to prevent this protein damage.
Many molecules have antioxidant activity (including vitamins A, C and E), but also have other beneficial effects, making them very useful ingredients in skin supplements. For example, vitamins C and E together have photoprotective effects meaning they help your skin protect itself against UV light, while vitamin A helps regulate oil production in the skin.
The Best Ways To Take Antioxidants For Improving Your Skin Health
There are many ways that you can use antioxidants to improve your skin health. Aside from supplements and foods as I’ve mentioned above, topical skincare can help too. My approach is two fold: firstly (and most importantly) protect against collagen damage using sunscreen and blue light filters (such as using carrot extract), and secondly, use antioxidants several times per day.
Antioxidant Skincare Regime
Antioxidants come in all forms of skincare products, including creams, balms, serums and many others, so my suggestion for a simple but effective and sustainable routine would be to cleanse your skin in the morning, followed by an antioxidant serum — vitamin C and niacinamide can work very well in the morning to give you antioxidant protection for the day ahead. This would then be followed with a high-factor sunscreen-moisturise, ideally with some added antioxidants, such as my All Day Long moisturiser.
In the evening, I’d then cleanse the skin again and use an antioxidant-based night cream — vitamin A is good to use at night. You may have heard of retinol, which is a form of vitamin A that is popular in skincare — but the ‘retinoid’ family of molecules all relate to vitamin A — and not only provide antioxidant support for your skin but can enhance skin cell repair overnight and optimise many aspects of skin function as it renews, including stimulating collagen production.
Radiant combines scientifically-backed nutrients for healthy hair, skin and nails with Coll-egan® for vegan collagen support. An innovative first, Radiant is more than just a beauty supplement, it’s all the nutrients you need to shine.