Antioxidants: How they Protect your Skin
Most of us have heard of antioxidants. They are in foods we eat, help fight cancer, and help fight aging. When applied topically to the skin, they protect your skin from sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots. But what exactly are these super molecules, and how do they work?
Take yourself back to high school biology and chemistry. Our bodies are constantly being bombarded by free radicals. These are molecules that cause chain reactions that damage the cells of all organisms. Antioxidants are molecules that bind free radicals and stop the chain reactions from occurring. Common antioxidants are vitamins C and E. They are found in many over the counter serums and cosmeceuticals. (Cosmeceuticals are skin care products that do not require a prescription but are only dispensed through physician’s offices; think of them as being in between a prescription strength and an over the counter product.)
When applied directly to the skin, antioxidants get absorbed into the top layers of the skin where it acts as a barrier shield against the havoc caused by free radicals. There are many serums out there that tout antioxidants. However, in order to get maximum benefits, the antioxidants must be at the proper pH level to be absorbed by the skin.
Also, antioxidants are not very stable molecules and can get degraded very easily. So they need to be stabilized by another molecule, such as ferulic acid, to maintain their longevity and efficacy. It is also important to store your antioxidant serums in a cool, dark place to avoid degradation of the molecules.
Think of your antioxidant serum as vitamins for your skin. Just a few drops warmed up with your fingertips is enough to apply to a full face. If you use more, it won’t cause any harm, but will not be of any additional benefit. And nobody wants to waste precious product. Just like taking oral vitamins, your body will just eliminate the excess.
My recommended morning routine is to start off with a gentle cleanser. Then onto a clean face, apply 4-5 drops of an antioxidant serum such as SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin. Then apply a moisturizer with sunscreen of at least SPF 30. With everyday use, you will notice brighter, more even-toned, and fresher looking skin.
You can always seek out a board-certified dermatologist to help create a customized skin care regimen and treatment plan.
You can find all these products plus more at Sienna Dermatology located at 7435 Highway 6, Ste. B in Missouri City, Texas.
A native Houstonian and graduated from Bellaire High School and Rice University with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. I then attended Texas Tech University School of Medicine where I was elected the prestigious Alpha Omega Alpha medical honor society in my junior year. I subsequently completed an internship in Internal Medicine and residency in Dermatology at Texas Tech University and served as Chief Resident during my third year. After residency, I worked in a private practice in North Dallas where I was voted by my peers into D Magazine as a Best Doctor in Collin County for 2016 and 2017. During my free time, I enjoy reading, jogging, and spending time with my husband and two daughters. I am thrilled to be back home in Houston to serve my community.