Friday, May 15, 2009

Beauty Buzz Word: Antioxidants

Antioxidants are substances that block the damaging effects of free-radicals in the body. Free radicals cause cell damage by "stealing" a healthy cell's electron. Stable in any form, antioxidants are able to essentially "donate" an electron to the crazed free radical and put an end to it's cell-murdering rampage. Dramatic? Maybe, but since free radical damage can cause everything from wrinkles to cancer to Alzheimer's Disease, I think it's a pretty apt turn-of-phrase.

Antioxidants are fairly abundant in nature, found in everything from coffee to organ meat. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can have health benefits, but since eating antioxidants will not concentrate them in the skin, those interested in antioxidants for their anti-aging properties may turn to the many topical treatments available. Antioxidants used commonly in skin care include vitamins A, C, and E, as well as ferulic acid, lycopene, and beta carotene.

Though there is some debate on the effectiveness of topically applied antioxidants studies suggest that certain antioxidant "cocktails" may be more effective at blocking free radical damage since they are able to stay stable longer when applied to the skin. When shopping for skin treatments that contain antioxidants, look for a product that boasts more than one source of these little warriors.

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