Great skin starts with antioxidants, both in and on your body

You’ve probably heard about free radicals. Our bodies create them when we exercise, smoke, stress out or metabolize food into energy. They can damage the cells in your body, including your skin, helping cause fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, dark spots and broken veins. Fortunately, antioxidants neutralize free radicals and help prevent damage, making them important for maintaining healthy, youthful skin.

Look and feel your best by giving your body antioxidants from the outside and inside.

Outside

As the body’s largest organ and our main defense against everything from the cold to infections, our skin is susceptible to free radical damage, especially from sun exposure.

Applied to the skin, antioxidant products containing such ingredients as phenol extracts (derived from plants including fruits and grains) and vitamins C and E help protect the skin from sun damage. They also stimulate the shedding of dead skin cells and the growth of new, healthy cells. These topical antioxidants appear to be especially effective when used in conjunction with sunscreen and dietary antioxidants.

Inside

Eating a diet loaded with antioxidants helps your body fight aging at the cellular level. Try to eat these antioxidant-rich foods at least once a week:

  • Organ meats, oily fish like salmon, and canola and soybean oils contain coenzyme Q10, which protects proteins and fat cells.
  • Apples, green and white tea, citrus fruits, grapes, dark chocolate, berries, red wine and cranberries are full of polyphenols, which protect skin against UV radiation.
  • Carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, apricots, cantaloupe, tomatoes, watermelons and bell peppers contain carotenoids, which also protect the skin from UV damage and improve skin tone.
  • Guava, kiwi, papaya and citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which protects skins elastin and collagen.
  • Nuts, seeds and leafy greens contain vitamin E, which reduces sun damage.
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain sulforaphane, which activates cells natural defenses against UV damage.

Inside or outside, antioxidants are great for your beauty and your health. Make them part of your everyday routine.

Face Mask Recipe
Antioxidant Brightening

Easy and inexpensive, this spa-quality mask is a wonderful way to pamper and nourish your skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon mashed papaya pulp
  • 1 squirt lemon juice (or organic cranberry juice, if your skin is sensitive)
  • 2 dime-sized-amounts skin cleanser

Directions:

Blend papaya, juice and cleanser. Apply mask to clean skin on face and neck, using gentle upward strokes. Leave on for 10 minutes. Dampen a soft towel or flannel with warm water and wipe skin clean. Finish with toner and antioxidant-rich moisturizer.

Karen Sinclair Drake is the research and development director at Sophyto.