Do I Need Antioxidants?

You know about them. Everyone wants them. But, who can define them? Oh, heck you can once we give you the lowdown on the fight against some creepy critters.

Like, most women, you probably haven’t changed your morning routine or skin care regime. Unplug the panty wedgie, click refresh on the Crackberry, and slowly come out of the night’s slumber to face the world. And, what a game face you’ve got. Whatever face treatment (oil, cream, gel) you slather on, chances are it’s been enhanced with antioxidants - the generic term for an ingredient which combats free-radical damage to the skin. Too early to get science-y? Fret not…

Here’s the 411 on the basics:

Oxygen molecules are reliably stable when they’re paired with an equal number of buzzing electrons, which encircle nature’s marvel. Kind of like a date – two people matched up perfectly for the night. But, the minute some hussy…or another molecule comes by to troll, the oxygen can become unstable and get sucked into a threesome, or an odd pairing of electrons. Now, you’ve got an unstable little freak of nature, which is highly reactive. We’ll call this sucker the 'free radical.' Now, the two-timing punk gets all out of whack and starts up some unwanted chemical reactions – ripping through your skin cells, proteins, collagen, elastin, and/or even reaching as far down south as your DNA. This maniacal molecule is on a rampage to tear apart your skin and thus, you’ll see those dreadful signs of aging – crow’s lines, age spot, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and any other telltale sign of your true age, not the one you’ve been pretending to live by.

The body’s reaction? Let’s slow down the frenzy of these mad molecules with Vitamins A, E, C or with transformers like beta carotene or Coenzyme Q10, all of which slow down those free radicals or ‘oxidation’ by breaking their chemical chain reactions and stopping them from stealing off electrons from other poor, unsuspecting oxy molecules.

Sad to say this sister, but your body does not produce or ingest enough antioxidants to ward off these free radicals. Over time, you start to accumulate damage to your body from naturally occurring internal reactions and external environmental aggressors. Think smoking, drinking, sun damage, and any other ravages you endure; all of these can & will accelerate the free radical damage to your skin at any given time.

Your perfect-skin-obsessed reaction? Ok, serioiusly, not to beat a dead horse here, but to maintain healthy, nourished skin, antioxidant rich lotions n’ potions are the way to go. No... it’s not a gimmick ridiculed accordingly by derms. Dr Daniel Maes, Senior Vice President, Global Research and Development, Estee Lauder, says, “The direct effect of antioxidants is to protect the cells from the oxidative damages induced by free radicals.”

One of the incredible aspects of essential oils is their hugely curative ways to ward off free radical damage. To date, it's unknown how many antioxidants (or how high of their concentrations) are necessary to stop your free-radical damage. Research also hasn't pinpointed how long antioxidants are effective before being used up. However, based on current studies, antioxidants do provide excellent prevention against aging, and should be included within your treatment of choice. Whether it be an oil for the face or body, remember most are prone to deteriorate with exposure to air and light because of their high content of antioxidants & natural potency. Opaque bottles and pumps ensure longevity, though fabulously glorious flacons can just as easily be concealed.

No face is complete without a dose of daily antioxidants. Ever.