“Protect Your skin from the sun”, “Use factor 50”, “Include SPF in your summer skincare!
You’ve probably heard it a million times by now.
And it is true, sun protection is very important in summer skincare, but have you ever heard of antioxidant protection?
Probably not….. So, let’s start from the beginning ?
Most people know that they should use sunscreen to reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature skin aging, but there’s an SPF-enhancing sidekick that’s often overlooked—antioxidants.
Broad-spectrum sunscreen is important but, it doesn’t offer 100% protection from the harmful rays:
SPF 15 keeps out approximately 93% of bad ultraviolet (UV) rays,
SPF 30 equates to 97% protection,
and SPF 50+ garners about 98%.
Another aspect is that most people don’t apply (or reapply) sunscreen as liberally as they should to get sufficient protection.
The residual UV exposure from the rays that get through can trigger free-radical damage that accelerates skin aging, in the form of wrinkles, dark spots, loss of firmness, and other issues like acne or rosacea.
If you missed the chemistry lesson about free-radical, here’s a shortcut:
Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons. They rob other cells of electrons, causing damage and contributing to many diseases. They come through the sun’s rays, environmental pollution, and more and they cause oxidation to occur (which you’ve witnessed if you’ve ever seen a sliced apple turn brown).
Oxidation causes premature aging, like fine lines, discoloration, and destruction of the vital proteins that give skin its support = dark spots, loss of elasticity and skin sagging.
Unfortunately, free radical damage leads to inflammation that gets in the way of the skin’s regularly scheduled self-repair systems. Eventually, this can lead to hyperpigmentation, acne, and cell damage that result in wrinkles down the road.
Because our bodies naturally produce free radicals, and sunlight, pollution, environmental toxins, tobacco, and stress also contribute to free radicals, there’s no way to completely escape them and resulting oxidative damage.
Even if you can’t see or feel the damage, it’s happening, albeit at a deeper level, and the results will show up over time. This doesn’t mean sunscreen isn’t effective or worth using—it absolutely helps protect skin from sun damage.
However, topical antioxidants can help.
Antioxidants are substances that combine to neutralize reactive oxygen species preventing oxidative damage to cells and tissues.
Why are Antioxidants important is summer skincare?
- work by reversing or preventing free radicals from causing oxidative stress,
- reduce inflammation, meaning they can help reduce redness in acne and rosacea,
- prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin, which leads to sagging and wrinkling of the skin,
- help to prevent formation of sunspots,
- are involved in mechanisms that repair DNA and maintain the health of cells.
As you can see Antioxidants are very important to protect our skin form the sun damage.
I recommend looking for skincare containing sources of antioxidants like:
- vitamin C,
- Vitamin E,
- Vitamin A
- Ferulic acid
Many fruits and vegetables are also rich in antioxidants, and I’ll talk about it in my next blog post “Skin friendly antioxidant superfood”.
Your Skin Expert,