What is an Antioxidant and why do I care?
Defining the terms
You hear these words all the time, in articles and advertising, when shopping for supplements or skincare – but what in the heck are antioxidants, free radicals and oxidation and why should you care about them?
Let’s start with a quick definition of each term:
Oxidation is the process that makes metal rust and cut fruit turn brown. It also is responsible for signs of aging on your skin. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that occurs when a molecule (think of a skin cell) comes into contact with oxygen or another oxidizing substance, and the substance steals electrons from the molecule. These oxidizing substances are called Free Radicals.
Free radicals are oxygen-containing molecules with an uneven number of electrons. Free radicals can cause chain chemical reactions in your body (or on metals or cut apples) because they react so easily with other molecules, stealing electrons from balanced molecules, which in turn steal from a nearby molecule and so on. This process damages collagen, creates inflammation and can show up on skin as dark spots, wrinkles or uneven skin tone.
Antioxidants are molecules that have an extra electron that can be easily picked up by a free radical without damaging the original, donating molecule. Because antioxidants remain stable in spite of stabilizing a free radical, they stop the chain reaction that leads to skin damage. Examples of antioxidants in your diet are are berries, cherries, dark leafy greens, vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea and turmeric.
So in a nutshell, Oxidation is the process you want to avoid, Free Radicals are what cause it, and Antioxidants are the solution!
How to get your antioxidants
By now, you have probably figured out why antioxidants are important to your skin, but how can you supply your skin with antioxidants? Diet is one way, and a healthy diet that is rich in antioxidants is important to your overall health (because free radicals and oxidation do not just happen on the skin, but throughout the body) and that includes your skin. Remembering to “eat the rainbow,” goes a long way in helping to prevent all sorts of oxidative damage.
Skin has an extra way to receive antioxidants though, and it is incredibly simple. Just add the antioxidants to the surface of the skin through your skin care products, including sunscreen. To do this, you’ll want to seek out products with lots of antioxidants as ingredients.
Brush On Block products were all formulated with skin health in mind, so naturally they include antioxidants! Our Mineral Powder Sunscreens (all versions) contain Chamomile Flower Extract, Ethyl Ferulate, Green Tea Extract, Rice Lipids and Safflower Seed Oil, all recognized antioxidants. Of course, these are in addition to the ingredients that protect your skin from the sun, the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. By protecting skin from the sun (and from blue light), you also lower the exposure to free radicals.
Our Protective Lip Oil SPF 32 contains Argan Oil and Vitamin E, the combination of which hydrates as well as protects from free radicals. Protective Lip Oil also protects the delicate skin of the lips from the sun and from blue light, thereby lowering exposure to free radicals.
Nobody’s Perfect, our Daily Face Oil, was created to help return balance to the skin after environmental exposure, so it is no surprise that it is practically bursting with antioxidants. You will find Gotu Kola extract, Safflower Seed Oil, Vitamin C, Haematococcus Pluvialis Extract, (a microalgae loaded with Astaxanthin), Dunaliella Salina Extract (another microalgae), Strawberry Fruit Extract, Buriti Fruit Extract, Chamomile Flower Extract and Bakuchiol in this thoughtfully formulated and non-greasy skin oil.
Free radicals lead to oxidation throughout the body, but the skin is one place that you can target your protection. Our Brush On Block products include antioxidants that will help keep your skin healthy and glowing in spite of the constant barrage of free radicals that the environment throws your way.