We often notice a lot of skincare brands bragging about the antioxidant content in their products.
But, what exactly are antioxidants and what do these agents do for your skin?
"Antioxidants are essential for your skin to fight against aging and pigmentation," says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, our Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix. In this article, let’s understand about antioxidants and their benefits for your skin in detail along with rich Ayurvedic herbal sources to attain them for your skin.
What Are Antioxidants For Skin?
Antioxidants are a broad group of compounds that prevent cell damage caused by the oxidation process in your body. ‘’While your body produces some types of antioxidants, it receives most of the antioxidants from your diet. Also, many skincare products have formulations incorporating antioxidants for improved skin health," says Dr. Zeel.
Below are some of the primary antioxidant agents useful for the skin:
- Vitamin C  (also known as Ester-C or L-ascorbic acid)
- Vitamin E
- Ferulic acid
- Coenzyme Q10
What's The Relationship Between Antioxidants And Free Radicals?
An unstable molecule with one or more unpaired electrons in the outer shell is known as a free radical. Your skin cells produce free radicals continuously during different processes such as cellular respiration, metabolism, external aggressions caused by UV rays, pollution, etc.
To attain stability, these highly reactive unpaired electrons in free radicals in your skin seek bonding with other stable molecules of your skin, which in turn, triggers a chain reaction that permanently damages your healthy skin cells. This is called oxidative stress  in your skin, which damages the cell membranes, DNA, proteins, and lipids in your skin.
"In such conditions, antioxidants can help in neutralizing the free radicals by donating an electron and binding to them. This prevents the free radicals from attacking your healthy cells and collagen strands in the skin tissue. Thus, antioxidants play a crucial role in scavenging the free radicals from your skin tissue and promoting healthy activity in skin cells," says Dr. Zeel.
An increase in free radicals in the body damages the DNA in the cells and may result in genetic mutations that promote cancer .
Different factors that increase free radicals in your skin, thus, increasing oxidative stress include:
- Chronic sun exposure
- Processed foods
- Excessive exposure to strong lights, laptop/desktop screens, and mobile phones, etc.
Benefits Of Antioxidants For Skin
1. Reverses Signs Of Aging
The oxidative stress in your skin cells breaks down the collagen protein, which is responsible for the firmness of your skin. The damaged collagen in your skin eventually results in loose skin, fine lines, and wrinkles, which are prominent signs of aging. Antioxidants help in reversing and preventing the aging process by controlling the oxidative stress in your skin, thus, giving it a youthful look.
2. Prevents Sun Damage
The harmful UV radiation from the sun dries out the moisture and damages your skin cells. This causes an inflammatory reaction in your skin, which results in photoaging, pigmentation, and sunburns. Antioxidants can help in preventing these skin conditions by controlling the inflammation in your skin.
3. Restores Damaged Or Scarred Skin
Damaged skin or scarred skin tissue has a rigid texture due to a different cell structure. Antioxidants enhance the blood supply to such damaged skin tissues, which boosts the new cell growth in the tissue. Thus, your skin rejuvenates from the scars while antioxidants further prevent wrinkles and acne.
4. Brightens Up Skin Tone
Chronic sun exposure and free radicals increase the melanin production in your skin, which results in uneven skin tone and dark spots. Antioxidants help in restoring your natural, even, and brighter skin tone by clearing the free radicals from your skin and inhibiting the enzyme (tyrosinase) responsible for the over-production of melanin.
What Are The Best Ayurvedic Antioxidants Used In Skin Care?
Below are seven antioxidant-rich Ayurvedic herbs that you can use for your skin based on your Ayurvedic skin type:
1. Ashwagandha (Licorice)
It has natural adaptogenic and antioxidant properties, which makes it the best rejuvenating herb for your skin. Treat your skin with ashwagandha regularly to maintain glowing and youthful skin if you have a Vata-Kapha skin type.
2. Amla(Indian Gooseberry)
It is rich in vitamin C and is known as one of the best herbs to treat premature aging. Besides controlling stress in your skin with natural adaptogenic properties, amla also helps in tightening your skin and increasing the natural radiance. Amla can be used on any Ayurvedic skin type.
3. Guduchi (Giloy)
With rich anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties, giloy helps in reviving damaged skin tissues and maintaining its overall health. Guduchi can be used on any Ayurvedic skin type.
4. Tulsi (Basil)
With rich antioxidant properties, tulsi helps in reducing the fine lines and wrinkles in your skin. Also, it imparts a smooth texture to your skin while providing it with deep nourishment. Tulsi can be used on Vata-Kapha skin type.
5. Haridra (Turmeric)
With a rich content of curcumin , turmeric, which is part of age-old skincare regimens, helps your skin look younger and brighter. Haridra can be used on any Ayurvedic skin type.
With antioxidant-rich phytonutrients, ginseng can be your best choice to treat sun-damaged skin and reduce aging signs. Ginseng can be used on Vata-Kapha skin types.
7. Nimba (Neem)
It is one of the potential sources of antioxidants for your skin. It is best used to treat acne, controlling oily skin, and enhancing your skin radiance. Neem can be used on Pitta-Kapha skin type.
Antioxidant-Rich Foods For Skin
- Berries (blackberries, wild blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, acai, etc.)
- Pomegranate (for antioxidant polyphenols, vitamin C & B5)
- Apples (for antioxidant polyphenols)
- Green tea (for catechin polyphenols)
- Vegetables such as spinach, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, tomatoes, etc.
- Nuts (almost all types)
- Garlic (for vitamin A, B, and C)
- Yogurt (for triggering the antioxidant activity in your body)
- Dark chocolate (rich in flavonoids)
Vedix Tip: Tomato is a rich source of the strongest antioxidant called lycopene, which is a fat-soluble compound. Hence, it is always better to consume tomatoes in combination with olive oil for increased absorption of antioxidants in your body.
Side Effects Of Excess Antioxidants
A high concentration of antioxidants may cause the following side effects in your body:
- Increased oxidation (by acting as pro-oxidants)
- Protection of dangerous cells such as cancer cells along with other cells in the body 
Avoid taking antioxidants in supplement forms. It is always recommended to increase the antioxidant levels in your body through your diet.
The Last Word
Increasing antioxidant activity in your skin brings huge changes in your skin health, while you can achieve results that sustain for the long term. The skin which is rich in antioxidants feels smoother, firmer, evenly toned, and brighter. And, Ayurvedic herbs can be your natural and powerful antioxidant sources with zero side effects.Know Your Dosha Now
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