Antioxidants – Part Two (Don’t drink and drive)

In Part One, we got an overview on why oxidation is bad for our body. According to dermatologist Karyn Grossman, there are 2 major causes of aging in our skin: lifestyle and genetics. Since we can’t change our genes, we need to concentrate on our lifestyle. Common recommendations are: limit exposure to sun and cigarette smoke, and concentrate on good skin care and healthy eating habits. Since antioxidants can boost our skin health and overall body health, it would make sense for us to find out what those antioxidants are, and how they can help us.

So let’s look at some amazing sources of antioxidants to see the benefits in our health, as well as our skin. I apologize in advance for how much is in here, but sometimes you just gotta have all the details 🙂

  • Vitamin A:  Also known as Retinol, Vitamin A is vital in the repair of skin tissue, and also boosts surface cell renewal. When levels get even a little low, the complexion can get dry and flaky, or oily due the body’s overproduction to combat dryness. Vitamin A is also important in keeping your eyes, skin and mucous membranes moist, as well as helping your eyes adjust to light. Egg yolks, beef liver, cheddar cheese and fortified milk are all sources of Vitamin A. Since the body can convert beta-carotene into Vitamin A, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, cantaloupe, broccoli, and spinach are also good sources.
  • Vitamin C:  Also known as Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C occurs in abundance in citrus fruits and various other fruits and vegetables. It helps protect and repair the collagen, which is of vital importance in the skin, and other parts of the body like the joints. When collagen breaks down in the skin, the skin can sag, from loss of firmness and elasticity. Vitamin C can also protect against immune system deficiencies, as well as cardiovascular disease. Applying products with Vitamin C topically to the skin can aid in protecting the newest layers of skin from sun damage and pollutants in the air.
  • Vitamin E:  Also known as Tocopherol, Vitamin E protects cells from ultraviolet light and pollutants. It helps in the treatment of scars, stretch marks as well as skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. It also helps regulate Vitamin A in the body, and there are studies that show that it might also lower the risks of some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Some sources of Vitamin E include asparagus, avocado, green leafy vegetables like spinach, and nuts, such as hazelnuts and almonds.
  • Caffeine:  Although scientific research is ongoing, it has been reported that caffeine can protect against cellular damage, within the body as well as in the skin. It has anti-inflammatory benefits as well, which can help puffiness around the eyes, and reduce dark circles. It also constricts blood vessels which can help reduce the appearance of rosacea. I don’t know about you, but I’m happy to hear that my caffeine addiction is good for something.
  • Polyphenols:  This is a huge group of antioxidants, the sources of which include Green Tea, Grape Seed, Soybeans, Pine Bark, Red Wine, and the list goes on and on. The benefits are vast, from inhibiting cancer growth to slowing the aging process.
  • Green Tea:  Green Tea contains a subset of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. As discussed in a previous post, Green Tea has an abundance of health benefits. Some of the benefits include: lowering cholesterol, inhibiting cancer, heart disease and liver disease, and helping to control diabetes. It also has amazing benefits for the skin. The antioxidants in Green Tea go after the free radicals that can damage the skin, as well as other organs. Although you can improve your overall health by drinking green tea, you vastly improve skin health by applying it topically as well.
  • CocoaCocoa is one of the richest sources of polyphenols. Cocoa has been found to help maintain healthy blood flow and blood pressure. It has other really good components, some that help build strong nails and hair, and some that promote healthy skin. So now you can have your chocolate, and eat it too! Make sure you steer towards chocolate with higher cocoa levels, like dark or unsweetened chocolate, so you can get all the good benefits of the polyphenols, without the risk of raising your bad cholesterol.
  • Grape SeedGrape seed is another fantastic source of polyphenols, especially Resveratrol. Grape Seed Oil is an abundant by-product of the wine-making process. Studies have shown that Grape Seed can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol), and improve circulation. It can also lower the risk of certain types of cancer, and protects collagen and elastin in the skin. This is great news if you’re looking for anti-aging treatments, there are more and more treatments on the market these days that include grape seed extract, including BeautiControl’s Skinlogics maintenance line. Grape Seed Oil can also be purchased to be used in cooking, and is especially good where a high smoke point is required (like in making fondue).
  • Soybeans:  Soy has a very similar structure to estrogen, so it actually reacts with our own estrogen production. Some of the benefits are reduced risk of heart disease, easing of menopause symptoms, and protection against prostate problems. It can also help improve bone health, and reduce risk of certain types of cancer. Soy has also been known to condition the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation. One of the other skin benefits is a little strange, it inhibits the growth of unwanted hair. It also minimizes the thickness and fades the color of facial and body hair. Wow, all that without depilitories and razors, wooohoooo!
  • Olive Oil:  Olive oil has a high content of antioxidants and has long been known to have a good effect on our health. Olive Oil protects against heart disease, and certain types of cancer. It also helps control blood sugar. For the skin, it keeps it soft and supple and protects the skin from various forms of sun damage. An interesting note is that it does not clog pores and allows them to breathe. All of these benefits probably explains the resurgence of Olive Oil in skin care products in the last few years.

And this was just as short list of all the good sources of antioxidants available today. So you see, by maintaining a healthy diet and skin care regimen, you can have good health and great looking skin. And a glass of red wine and a piece of chocolate couldn’t hurt once in a while either 😉

Although there are a few links to some really good products in our line, I’m limited by how much space is here and your patience for getting to the end of the post. So if you have any questions about how you can incorporate any of these awesome antioxidants in your skin care regimen, just email or call me. My info is listed at my Facebook page:

Have wonderful spahhhhhh day, and don’t drink and drive!

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