Have you ever wondered what the word ‘anti-oxidant’ means since it appears to be on the ingredient list of practically every product you pick up. To understand its meaning, it is useful to understand what is ‘oxidation’ in the first place. Without going into great detail and its connotations in chemistry, oxidation is the result of an interaction of oxygen molecules either with metals or living tissue. To give you an example, when oxygen reacts with a metal such as iron, it creates rusting. When it reacts to a dairy product such as butter, rancidity occurs or even an apple left out in the open after being cut into half, turns brown. That is oxidation.

99% of the time oxygen is a good guy and behaves itself and does wonderful things for the body and planet in general but 1% of the time, it goes haywire and creates free radicals which wreak havoc on everything in sight and contribute to disease internally and skin cancer and other skin problems such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation topically. It would be fair to say that our bodies are rusting under the circumstanes! These conditions fall under the category of ‘aging’ and, therefore, to reverse these signs of aging or at least diminish them, ‘anti-oxidants’ also referred to as ‘anti-aging’ substances, need to be used.

What makes that 1% oxygen molecule go rogue? Extreme sun exposure, smoking, alcohol, recreational and pharmaceutical drugs, smoked meats, high fat diet with inadequate fruits and vegetables, lack of exercise, fried foods especially with high temperatures, lack of sleep, anxiety and depression etc. create the perfect environment for this occurence I could go on and on but free radicals are caused just by the fact that you are living and breathing. Since, we can’t stop living and breathing, we can make sure that we clean up our diet, follow a healthy lifestyle, physically and mentally and above all, always use sunblocks with at least an SPF 30, wear a hat/cap and STOP the tobacco, drug and alcohol abuse!

The above will not only assist you on a road to better health but will do wonders for the skin as well. The skin is the largest organ of the body, albeit, an external organ unlike the heart and kidneys and such, that are internal organs. Whatever you eat or smoke or snort will impact on your YOUTH which is visible externally! If you are into an unhealthy lifestyle, then adding a serum to your face that contains anti-oxidants is like using a watering can to put off a forest fire! You will need to take a good, hard look at what you are doing to your body and health first and then worry about your skin.

If on the other hand, you already have a good, healthy lifestyle (notice I did not use the word ‘perfect’ because we all have lapses), then adding anti-oxidant support in the form of supplements, taken orally and using serums that contain anti-oxidant ingredients topically on the skin, will definitely yield dramatic results over a period of time. However, consistency is the key!

You will find anti-oxidant rich foods that fight the signs of aging on the internet and may already be familiar with some of them such as wild blueberries, artichokes, delicious and gala apples, red and pinto beans, all leafy green vegetables, different colored vegetables and fruits contain different forms of anti-oxidants. It would be wise to incorporate at least some of these into your diet on a daily basis.

To get back to the skin, here is a summarized list of ingredients that would be most helpful in retarding the aging process topically! Please ensure that on the ingredient list on your product, they feature in the first 5-7 places or else they are in such negligible amounts that they will not have the appropriate effectiveness.

VITAMIN C: ( L-ascorbic acid), is not only a powerful anti-oxidant but without it, collagen cannot be created in the body.
VITAMIN A: (Retinol/Retin A), protects the body from solar radiation and helps regulate skin cells so that they perform their functions optimally eg. producing collagen and elastin.
VITAMIN E: (Alpha-tocopherol), helps protect the lipids or fatty parts of a cell. If you use a formula product that has both Vitamin C and Vitamin E, you will get optimal results.
ALPHA LIPOIC ACID: This is the most powerful, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, universal anti-oxidant! Why is it called the ‘universal’ anti-oxidant? Because, physiologically speaking the cell structure is such that the outer part is lipid or fatty and Vitamin E works best on this part whilst the inner part of the cell is watery and that is where Vitamin C does its work. But Alpha Lipoic Acid works on the entire cell structure.
LYCOPENE: is found in red fruits and veggies, tomatoes being a prime example. It can be found in some potent serums for anti-aging support as well as in enzymes and masks. It improves the texture of the skin, stimulates collagen production and reduces damage to the DNA of a cell.
RESVERATROL: can be found in grapes, nuts, fruits and of course, red wine. It is great for UVB protection. These ultra violet short rays hit the skin topically and create sunburn and a host of other skin problems including melanoma.
NIACINAMIDE: This is part of the B-vitamin family and is in fact called B-3. This is great as an anti-inflammatory and lightening pigments as well.
GREEN TEA: contains catechins which are anti-oxidants that can clear cell damage and repair lines and wrinkles.
COQ10: (ubiquinone), is created naturally within our cells and not only generates a lot of energy within the cell but is a potent anti-oxidant. Unfortunately, as we age, our bodies produce less of COQ10 and lay us susceptible to cellular damage leading to lines and wrinkles. Using this as an ingredient in your skin care product will produce effective results in the reversal and/or slowing the aging process of the skin.

There are literally hundreds of anti-oxidants within nature and employed effectively in quality skin care products but I cannot list them all. The eight that I listed are pretty standard and very significant in their contribution to anti-aging.