If you have a consistent skin care routine, or if you’ve been thinking about starting one, then you’ve probably come across the term “antioxidants.” It’s a common buzzword in the beauty and health communities, and antioxidants seem to be everywhere, from the foods we eat to the products we put on our skin. They’ve been lauded for everything from reducing the signs of aging to slowing the spread of neurodegenerative disease.

What are these mythic antioxidants, and why are they good for us? What’s actually happening in the body when you apply an antioxidant serum?

In today’s post, the skin care experts at our beauty salon will explain antioxidants from the ground up: what they are, where they are, and why we all need them. Read on to learn more, and schedule your consultation at Henry’s Salon in Denver today for expert assistance on your skin care journey!

The Free Radical Theory of Aging

To understand the benefits of antioxidants, we first need to understand what free radicals are and how they damage our bodies.

The free radical theory of aging was first proposed in the 1950s by a chemistry professor named Denham Harman. As a research associate in Medical Physics at UC Berkeley, Harman became obsessed with the phenomenon of aging, and focused his studies on identifying its cause on a molecular level. He eventually identified free radicals as central to the process of cells aging over time.

Free radicals are atoms or molecules with a single unpaired electron in their outer shell. This makes them unstable, and they will “steal” electrons from surrounding molecules in a process called oxidative damage. When they oxidize parts of our cells like protein, DNA, and cell membranes, the cell can lose its function and die. Over time, with enough of these reactions, our cells decay one by one, and we grow old. Numerous studies have linked increased production of free radicals to accelerated nerve damage, immune deficiency, and disease.

Unfortunately, we can’t simply escape aging by avoiding free radicals, because they are all around us — they appear in our food, in the air, and as natural by-products of many of our own metabolic processes. Since we can’t evade free radicals, we have to fight them instead.

What Are Antioxidants?

“Antioxidant” is the common buzzword, but they should really be known by their much more epic name: “free radical scavengers.” As this name implies, antioxidants are compounds that prevent and minimize oxidative stress by “donating” an electron to free radicals. This stabilizes the free radical before it steals electrons from our own cells, preventing damage and decay.

Though we are still learning about the benefits of antioxidants to our overall health, initial research suggests that antioxidant therapy can help slow the course of everything from neurological disease to the natural effects of aging on our skin. This is why antioxidants are crucial to any skin care regimen!

How To Implement Antioxidants in Your Skin Care Routine

There are thought to be hundreds of substances that act as antioxidants in our body. Some of the most common antioxidants that come from outside the body include:

  • Vitamins A, C, and E
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lycopene
  • Lutein
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Flavonoids, polyphenols, and phytoestrogens

Plant-based foods are a great source for many antioxidants, so a well-balanced diet can help keep your skin healthy! You can also look for skin care products, including toners and serums, that advertise any of the ingredients above. Toners and serums both come in many formulas, with variations that tackle a variety of skin problems from dryness to discoloration, but most skin care experts agree that a basic antioxidant serum is beneficial for all skin types.

Do some research and experimentation to find antioxidant-enriched skin care products that will work in your skin care routine! By protecting your skin from oxidative damage, it will feel better, look younger, and stay healthy for longer!

Schedule Your Skin Care Consultation at Our Denver Beauty Salon

Whether you’re looking for guidance on how to build your skin care routine, or you’re a seasoned pro just looking for a relaxing facial, our skin care experts are ready to help. As a top beauty salon in Denver, Henry’s Salon is proud to provide industry-leading beauty services including dermaplane, microdermabrasions, and chemical peels for skin.

To book your service, or to schedule a skin care consultation, contact our day spa today!