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Antioxidants = Anti-Ageing

Research shows that antioxidants may prevent against visible signs of ageing. But how do they work?


 

You've heard of 'free radicals', right? In basic scientific terms, free radicals are reactive, unstable atoms. They are a by-product of your body's normal and unavoidable metabolic processes (oxidation), but can also form as a result of external sources. It is thought that some of the external sources that may result in the formation of free radicals within the body include heavy metals, ionising radiation, and prolonged exposure to smoke, pesticides, and UV rays.


In small amounts, free radicals have several beneficial roles such as fighting off pathogens. It is only when there is an imbalance (perhaps due to over exposure to external sources) and the body is struggling to detoxify these reactive products, that free radicals can start to damage other nearby cells. This phenomenon is known as 'oxidative stress'.




oxidative stress
A cut apple is a visual representation of oxidative stress

As we age and our metabolic processes become slower, we tend to have a build up of free radicals within the body, leaving our cells exposed and less immune. This build up of free radicals is thought to be one of the contributors to visible signs of ageing.


So what can we do about it?


Everybody has a natural defence against over-accumulation of free radicals, but we can assist detoxification by boosting our body's own immune defence through "anti-oxidants".



Antioxidants

Antioxidants are compounds that neutralise free radicals and inhibit oxidation to keep everything in check. Your body naturally produces powerful antioxidants such as alpha lipoic acid and glutathione, but other antioxidants that we need to promote healthy metabolic processes come from food and plant sources. Vitamins A, C and E as well as phytochemicals ("plant chemicals"), carotenoids (like beta-carotene and lycopene) and flavonoids (like flavanols, anthocyanins, quercetin and catechins) are all naturally occurring antioxidants that help our bodies to metabolise and degrade free radicals and prevent oxidative stress. By preventing oxidative stress, they help to slow down the signs of ageing.


The best ways to introduce antioxidants into your body is through food sources (see our 'Skin Superfoods' blog!). However, you can still address your cosmetic concerns from the top down by applying antioxidants topically (ie: skincare and anti-oxidant rich makeup) or via transdermal delivery (ie: clinical treatments such as skin needling).


Antioxidant Products

Using skincare that contains antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Vitamin A is one of the ways in which you can support the healthy function of your skin and treat signs of ageing from the outside in. Skincare that contains active vitamins may also be referred to as 'active skincare' or 'active products'. Sometimes when your body is not used to having higher levels of vitamins, it can result in a mild adverse reaction (eg: Vitamin A can produce a skin irritation if used incorrectly or in high doses). This is why your active skincare (your 'antioxidant supplements') may come with specific instructions. For this reason, it is best not to use active skincare without speaking to a skin therapist who has assessed your skin first. Nevertheless, once you find the right products for you, antioxidant skincare can have a very positive impact on how your skin ages.



Antioxidant Treatments

If your skin needs a boost, or if you are at the beginning of your skin journey, a couple of clinic treatments may help to speed up the detoxification process of your cells from the outside while you work on a longer term solution on the inside.


Whilst it is best to book a consultation so that a skin therapist can offer you personalised advice, some treatments to consider may include:


  • Skin Needling with antioxidant (anti-ageing) ampoules By adding a skin booster to your skin needling treatment, you can target specific skin concerns and deliver nutrients deeper into the epidermis.

  • Vitamin A Peels Retinol (Vitamin A) peels penetrate deeper to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A more superficial peel may be required a month prior to prep your skin for a more intense peel, but the result is baby-smooth skin which allows for better absorption of vitamins.

  • Antioxidant skin supplementation After a thorough consultation with a Registered Nurse or General Practitioner (which may or may not include a simple blood test to determine your vitamin levels) supplementation may be recommended (various means) and a treatment plan devised based on your budget and your expectation of results.



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