Regardless of the weather where we are, I’m assuming we’ve all been a little worried about the same thing; lockdown skin. We weren’t designed to stay indoors all day long, missing out on that vital Vitamin D or even some fresh air, and we’re seeing the rise of dull and lacklustre complexions. But rest assured, it doesn’t have to be the new norm for your skin!
But first, it’s time for the science behind antioxidants, particularly the dreaded oxidative stress. A natural process that happens in our bodies as a biproduct of cell reactions, or under a number of conditions including UV exposure, cigarette smoke, air pollution, and even exercise. No, this isn’t a call to stop your at-home workouts or outdoor runs, because our bodies are already equipped to deal with this reaction. When oxidative stress occurs, we end up with free radicals roaming our cells; unstable molecules with a hunger for electrons. A stable molecule would have pairs of electrons in its outer ring (because even electrons need best friends!), but these free radicals are one electron short of a happy pairing and corrupt the next closest molecule by stealing an electron to complete itself. Thereby a chain reaction is started, which unmoderated can damage cells, collagen, and even strains of DNA. Skin specifically however, free radicals can affect your sebum, causing it to become highly comedogenic and far more likely to block your pores and cause (or exacerbate/spread) breakouts and even acne.
Our hero enters, the antioxidant. The molecule with an electron to spare, sharing with the free radical before it can cause any damage, and remaining stable itself. Sharing is caring, right? If you’re looking for a more adventurous name, antioxidants are also known as free radical scavengers. Lots of foods include antioxidants, and this is where we primarily derive them to keep everything stable, but when we’re looking at improving conditions like acne, signs of aging, and our dry and dull lockdown skin, it’s worth bringing them into our skincare routines as well!
So where can we find these cell saviours? Quite a few places actually.
Whilst you may see some specific vitamin C serums out there, we prefer to include it as a complimentary active in the form of sodium ascorbyl phosphate (a water soluble and stable form of vitamin C) in our Peptide Facial Serum and Collagen Face Cream. Vitamin C is particularly known for helping with inflammation and breakouts.
You can also find the ingredient in certain fruits, such as strawberry and blackcurrant, both of which you’ll find in our Super Food Facial Oil! This is caused by the flavonoid that gives them their darker, richer colour!
If you read our blog on skin superfoods, you’ll know we love tocopherol because it is rich with vitamin E! Just like vitamin C, vitamin E is a super immune booster, and just as good for boosting your complexion. You’ll find it easily in vegetable oils, which helps moisturise the skin. Reach for our Super Food Facial Oil, Activated Charcoal Face Mask, Liquorice Lip Oil and 5-HTP Face and Neck Cream for some vitamin E antioxidant action!
A type of polyphenol, the antioxidants famous for revealing that red wine and dark chocolate can actually be a healthy inclusion to your diet, green tea is as hardworking as they get. And it’s a must-have in your skincare regime, too. It’s best features are soothing the skin and improving signs of ageing, especially when caused by UV damage. This makes it a great addition to our Caffeine Eye Serum in nourishing and protecting such a delicate area of skin which sees the sun on a regular basis.
An element rife within our bodies essential for enzyme and protein function, and important for our immune health, zinc is also a powerful antioxidant. Whilst zinc PCA, the key active in our Zinc PCA Facial serum, is slightly different as a salt compound, it still boasts the antioxidant activity of zinc, and one of the reasons it works so well for acne-prone and inflamed skin.
There are plenty more but it’s a good place to start! And with the weekend almost upon us, maybe a nice layer of Super Food Facial Oil, a glass of red wine and a square or two of dark chocolate is the way to unwind!
Amy @ Team Q+A
Online community coordinator at Q+A and likes to pretend rosé is as healthy as red wine