If you’ve done any research into healthy foods, you’ve probably come across the term “antioxidant.” Most of the information you’ll find refers to the benefits of antioxidants to the inside of your body, such as helping to keep your heart healthy. But what about the benefits to your skin health?
Several antioxidants for skin can help keep you looking young. They work deep within your skin, reducing the appearance of sunspots, wrinkles, and the fine lines that come with aging. And you’ll want to consider adding some of the best antioxidants for skin health to your regular skin care regimen. But first…
What are Antioxidants?
If you’ve ever seen a piece of rusted metal, you probably didn’t give it a second thought. But what you saw is actually an example of something called oxidative stress at work. And this oxidative stress can have a negative effect on your body.
Now, everyone needs oxygen to live, of course, but oxygen can lead to oxidative stress. One of the unfortunate byproducts of oxidative stress is the production of free radicals. In a nutshell, free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron. They scavenge your body looking for that electron. The bad news is that free radicals aren’t particular as to where they get it. They’ll steal it from cells, tissues, or wherever else they can find it.1
Free radical damage can lead to accelerated aging (including fine lines, wrinkles, and sunspots).
This is where antioxidants come in. These are molecules found in a variety of foods that help prevent free radicals from doing damage. Antioxidants can give free radicals the electrons they need without becoming unstable. They basically “clean up” free radicals. This can help keep your body, and your skin, healthy.2
Seven Great Antioxidants for Skin Health
While the main benefit of antioxidants is fighting free radicals, they deliver other important benefits as well. Here are some of the best antioxidants to help keep you looking young by fighting the signs of aging, and the foods that can provide an ample supply.
When it comes to antioxidant skin care, beta-carotene is extremely important. It’s not only one of the more critical antioxidants for skin, but it’s also a pigment that helps give a lot of plants their familiar colors. For example, beta-carotene is why oranges are, well, orange. Studies suggest that beta-carotene can help people whose skin is sensitive to the sun.3 Other foods high in beta-carotene include carrots, grapefruit, onions, pumpkin, and spinach.4
Lycopene is another substance that should be part of any antioxidant skin care routine. The reason lycopene is one of the more powerful antioxidants for skin is that it can help protect the skin from damage due to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
According to one study, researchers found that participants who drank liquids containing lycopene (found primarily in tomatoes) showed a substantial amount of protection from ultraviolet light.5
Selenium also helps with antioxidant skin care by helping to protect your skin from ultraviolet rays. Research indicates it does so by helping activate enzymes that depend on selenium to provide this protection.6 You’ll find selenium in dairy products, seafood, poultry, and bread.7
If you are looking to add a powerful ally to your antioxidant skin care regimen, resveratrol should be at the top of your list for many reasons. Research indicates that a combination of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide is effective in helping combat certain skin conditions.8 You’ll find resveratrol in not only wine, but in blueberries, cranberries, grape juice, cocoa, and peanuts.9
5. Vitamin A
Vitamin A is another one of the best antioxidants for skin health. It’s been used for years to help reduce the signs of aging and to address other skin issues. Topical products derived from vitamin A have been shown to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, sunspots, and other problems related to skin aging.10 If you are interested in keeping a youthful appearance, you should consider eating foods high in this vitamin. You’ll find vitamin A in leafy green vegetables, milk, eggs, tomatoes, fruits, broccoli, and several other foods.11
6. Vitamin C
If you drink orange juice every day for breakfast, you’ve been practicing antioxidant skin care probably without even knowing it. Vitamin C, which is found in ample supply in oranges and other citrus fruits, has been shown to help speed wound healing by stimulating the activity of free radicals at the wound site. Vitamin C, like other antioxidants for skin, helps to limit the damage free radicals can do.12
You’ll find vitamin C is not only in citrus fruits, but also in broccoli, tomatoes, cantaloupe, and other foods.13
7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is another important component of an antioxidant skin care routine. Found in foods such as corn, grains, leafy green vegetables, and dairy products, vitamin E also helps to stimulate wound healing.14
The Last Word
If you are starting to notice those pesky fine lines, and you want to take the steps necessary to keep a youthful appearance, you might want to consider increasing your intake of antioxidants, including vitamin C, resveratrol, and beta-carotene. The best antioxidants not only help keep you healthy on the inside but looking great on the outside, too!
The Best, Easiest DIY Face Mask For Every Skin Type
Minimize These 11 Foods That Are Bad For Your Skin
15 Outstanding Benefits of Vitamin E for Skin and Hair