We’ve all heard about anti-oxidants and their many miracle properties, but what are they and where can you find them? And, most importantly, do they really help to make acne-prone skin better?
What is an anti-oxidant?
An anti-oxidant is a nutrient or an enzyme that can get rid of so called ‘free radicals’ in the body. In a nutshell, a free radical is a molecule that is short of an electron. It then steals an electron from another molecule and transforms that one into a free radical, creating a never-ending destructive cycle. Free radical skin damage can be caused by pollution, stress, lack of sleep and UV rays, for instance. Molecules missing electrons aren’t stable and damage healthy cells. Diseases like heart disease, blindness and even cancer have been attributed to damage by free radicals, not to mention skin problems. Antioxidants, however can spare an electron, so by sharing, they help stabilise free radicals.
Where can I find antioxidants?
You’ll find them in vitamins A, C and E. For Vitamin A, try orange foods like carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, butternut squash and mango, or go green with spinach, kale or Swiss chard. Vitamin C is easy to find in orange or grapefruit juice, papayas, strawberries, kiwis, red as well as green peppers, tomato juice and broccoli, as well as the good old Brussels sprout. As for Vitamin E, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are a great source, as well as olives, spinach and asparagus. The good news is that you can also find antioxidants in lots of delicious foods, ranging from pomegranate (the richest source) and dark chocolate, as well as coffee.
Will antioxidants fight acne?
It’s the million-dollar question. Although antioxidants are being touted as the saviours for all skin-related problems, so far there are no scientific studies to back those claims up. They can prevent oily skin, and even stop sebum oxidation, which is the process of sebum oxidising, increasing keratin, thus becoming pore-blocking and creating a breeding ground for acne.
This article is intended as general information only. You should seek advice from a professional before altering your diet, changing your exercise regime or starting any new course of conduct.