3, May 2022
Antioxidants, What Actually Are They?
How much do you know about antioxidants? We’re guessing you’ve heard they’re good for you - and you’d be right about that - but do you know how or why?
What are antioxidants and why are they important?
Stating the obvious is the obvious place to start: antioxidants prevent oxidation. Oxidation is something that happens in all forms of life, everywhere in nature – you’ve probably seen it in your fruit bowl.
In the body, the normal (and necessary) process of oxidation releases unstable atoms called ‘free radicals’. And, as fun-loving as they sound, too many of these can cause damage to our cells. So what does the body do? It creates balance with the nicely neutralising help of antioxidant molecules.
But there’s a catch: the amount of antioxidants we make ourselves isn’t quite enough. So the best thing we can do? Give our bodies even more of the good stuff.
How do I get more antioxidants?
Luckily there are hundreds, even thousands of substances that act as antioxidants, and most come from plants. The ones you’ve probably heard of are vitamins A, C and E, but things like beta-carotene (found in yellow and orange foods like carrots), or lycopene (hello tomatoes) are antioxidants too – and that’s just to name a few.
The best way to get more antioxidants is through the food we eat, and because each one serves a different beneficial purpose in the body, it’s best to get as big a variety as possible. An easy way to do this? Eat more colourfully. Sounds fun to us.
Dinner plates aside, we can top up on antioxidants with our skincare and haircare too. When we create our formulations, we look at the most effective ingredients nature has to offer – many of which are known for their antioxidant abundance. From healthy headliners like blueberries, lemons, grapefruits and oranges, to lesser known sources such as hemp, meadowfoam and seaweed; we always knew plants had our back.
Why are antioxidants important for skin?
In our skin, free radicals break down collagen, causing dehydration, dark spots, fine lines, and a general lack of lustre. So called ‘oxidative stress’ like this can be made worse by internal and external things like inflammation, pollution and UV exposure. By combatting free radicals, antioxidants can counteract some of these ill effects.
What do antioxidants do for hair?By keeping free radicals in check, and the collagen in our skin (and hair follicles) tip top, antioxidants can keep our hair healthy too. By boosting blood circulation to the scalp, they also make sure our strands get all the nutrients they need, prevent damage and encourage hair growth.