Everywhere you look, skincare products claim that they’re loaded with antioxidants to help fight off the signs of aging and help retain the skin’s youthfulness. But what exactly are antioxidants and why are they good for the skin?

Antioxidants are vitamins, minerals or any other nutrients that protect and repair cells in the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are oxygen molecules that are known for wreaking havoc on the skin in the form of fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and loss of moisture. In addition to fighting off free radicals, antioxidants also help protect the skin against environmental aggressors such as UV rays from sunlight, infrared radiation, pollution, an unhealthy diet, cigarette smoke, alcohol and potentially skin cancer.

The body has a natural reservoir of protective antioxidants that can help the skin repair itself. When the skin is constantly exposed to environmental aggressors, this supply of antioxidants can be quickly depleted. The reservoir does has the capability of being filled up again through the foods a person eats and the skincare products applied to the skin topically, which allows antioxidants to be able to protect the skin from the inside out from free radical damage.

Vitamin C has been shown to protect the skin from sun damage and skin cancer by increasing the skin’s capacity for fibroblasts, which can repair damage done by the sun. Foods that are loaded with Vitamin C include: bell peppers (red, green, or yellow), strawberries, tomatoes, berries, broccoli, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, cauliflower, grapefruit, honeydew, kale, nectarines, orange and papaya.

Vitamin E also contains antioxidants that help repair sun damage. Foods that are loaded with Vitamin E include: broccoli, carrots, chard, red peppers, spinach, mustard and turnip greens, nuts, almonds and sunflower seeds.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids have anti-inflammatory effects that may decrease sun sensitivity. Having a diet rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids will help prevent, treat and protect the skin from free-radical damage. Foods that are loaded with Omega-3s include salmon and chia seeds.

The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been shown to fight skin cancer and shield skin from sun damage because they absorb UV light. It only takes one three ounce serving of dark chocolate to obtain this skin protecting benefit.

Applying skincare products topically such as SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel can make sunscreen even more effective than just using sunscreen alone. The antioxidant trio featured in the gel not only helps protect the skin from sun damage with the use of sunscreen, but it also gives the skin an extra boost of protection from UV rays and environmental aggressors by being able to reduce fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

SkinSpirit Founder and Medical Director, M. Dean Vistnes, M. D. suggests that, “At SkinSpirit, we have a variety of products to choose from that protect and heal your skin from sun damage. If you need help choosing the right product for you, just ask us for assistance.”

Feel free to come into any one of our three locations in Palo Alto, Walnut Creek or Mill Valley for a free product consultation.


Disclaimer: Information and content within this blog is provided for informational purposes only.  This blog is not intended to provide medical advice, and anything read here should not be construed as such.  Reading this blog or communicating with our staff does not create a physician-patient relationship.  If you have questions about any health issue, including something you may have read here, please consult a licensed, trained physician or health professional immediately.