Monday, September 15, 2008

What's in your cabinet? Part Two

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I was thinking about this next post in the skin care series and it occurred to me that I only vaguely know what an antioxidant is and how it's supposed to help your skin. If you are like me and you haven't got a clue, then break out the chemistry 101 because if you haven't taken it in awhile this may hurt.
Antioxidants are molecules that are capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation process. The oxidation process is a chemical reaction that transfers electrons and a result of this process is the production of free radicals (ever heard of these?). What the hell are free radicals, you ask? They are molecules that lack an outer electron, are highly unstable and therefore likely to engage in chemical reactions that damage cells (there are also good free radicals, but we won't discuss them here).

In a nutshell, antioxidants stop these chain reactions that produce free radicals that can be damaging to the skin. Here they are:

Vitamin C
Crank out that OJ ladies, it may save your skin. How, you may ask? It stimulates collagen production and decreases the damaging effects of sun exposure. Collagen is responsible for skin strength and elasticity and its degradation leads to wrinkles. Vitamin C, known as L-Ascorbic acid, degrades quickly in sunlight, so look for opaque or dark bottles.

This was originally used to treat Alzheimer's Disease. It reduces dryness and improves the appearance of fine lines, skin texture and the prevention of sun damage.

Co-Enzyme Q-10
This molecule exists in human cells and helps to convert food into energy. It's, however, less effective than Vitamin C. So that's what those Nivea commercials are all about!

Known for moisturizing, evening out skin tone and soothing sunburn.

Grapeseed Extract, Green and White Tea
Grapeseed extract increases circulation, strengthening blood vessels and is extremely hydrating. Green and white tea are known for their anti-inflammatory and anticancer benefits; white tea restores resiliency in cells.

Foods that contain antioxidants
berries, peaches, mangoes, melons, pomegranate, kiwi, spinach, brussel sprouts, broccoli, beets, olive oil and red wine


Amina said...

taking notes!!great post :)