Antioxidants 101: Why Your Whole Body Needs Them
Have you ever googled diseases caused by free radicals? It's enough to make you reach for the nearest orange and change your entire shopping list for food and skincare products to incorporate as many antioxidant rich foods and products as you can. This might not be a bad plan, actually. Free radicals are implicated in the aging process, cancer, degenerative eye disease, asthma, diabetes and degenerative joint disease. The list goes on and on. According to the National Institute of Health, evidence is mounting that almost every degenerative disease human beings face is caused by these oxidizing molecules.
Antioxidants protect your cells from free radicals- molecules with unpaired electrons that rob other molecules of their electrons. Antioxidants work by donating electrons, preventing free radicals from taking electrons from essential molecules, keeping cells healthy. They are critically important to your body and its functions, as free radicals cause disease, damage, cancer, and premature aging. (Source). Antioxidants can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts and in green tea. When eaten or applied to the skin these agents go to work on your body's behalf.
Why Are They Called Antioxidants?
When free radicals attack, the process of oxidation accelerates. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals, leading to chain reactions that may damage cells. (Source) Stressors, chemicals from smoking, pollutants, alcohol, and diet can cause this acceleration. Without antioxidants, which stop the oxidation, damage is done. Antioxidants naturally occur in our body, but we can increase them and thus help our body out when we eat or apply them. The natural chemicals that we can find in some plants and vegetables naturally control disease and aging.
How Do You Get Antioxidants?
Research done at the University of Oslo indicates that blackberries, strawberries, artichoke hearts, walnuts, cranberries, brewed coffee, pecans, raspberries and ground cloves are the foods with the highest levels of antioxidant properties. (Source). Certainly vitamins C and E are well known antioxidants that are found in many of these foods. However, to create products that target free radicals for health and beauty purposes, isolating the chemical compounds that have the properties and enhancing their capabilities is important. Research is ongoing as scientists look for cures for everything from aging to cancer and there are no lack of studies around the world testing everything from aromatic plants in Greece to fatty compounds found in tropical fish for antioxidant properties.
Once the antioxidant qualities are confirmed, the molecules can be isolated and used to create products that work to counter the oxidation effects. In the case of protecting the largest organ of your body, your skin, they are very effective. Because we know that oxidative stress is causing many diseases of the skin, we can design products that use antioxidative strategies as a countermeasure. (Source) These therapies can be applied through prescription medications when the diseases are severe enough to warrant medical intervention.
In most cases, however, self-treatment, changes in diet, and preventative care can keep the damaging free radicals at bay and keep your skin healthy and disease free. Protecting your skin will keep you not only beautiful, but healthy as well, as your skin is closely tied into the health of the rest of your body and provides visual indication when things are just not quite right.
Antioxidant Rich Skin Care
Because antioxidants reduce or prevent oxidation which causes signs of aging and other harmful effects to the skin, they are used as key ingredients in many skin care products. In a laboratory setting companies like Calysta Labs are solving the challenges of how to deliver these compounds topically to help with issues ranging from preventing wrinkles to preventing skin cancer. Some of the biggest challenges are stability, absorption and concentration. This is where skin care science and beauty intersect in the 21st century.
Products like Calysta Lab's Anti-Aging Serum are rich in antioxidants and other plant based natural and organic ingredients that counter the skin's aging process. The serum utilizes vitamins C and E. Calysta has incorporated a scientifically precise delivery system that encourages the delivery of the healing molecules to where they are most needed.
Green tea has significant antioxidant properties, is anti-melanogenic, prevents immune suppression, and protects the skin against photoaging due to UV radiation. It is a key ingredient of Calysta's clarifying charcoal mask.
Antioxidants protect your skin from the inside out. Once delivered, they work to not only neutralize free radicals, preventing cellular deterioration, but also to provide a regenerative boost at a cellular level. This can help to increase collagen, stimulate blood flow, and encourage the sebaceous glands to work properly. They support both your health and your beauty.