Antioxidants are essential nutrients that provide enormous health benefits to all parts of the body including the skin. When free radicals meet oxygen in the body, they play a role in protecting skin against ultraviolet radiation and other oxidative reactions.
Imagine for a moment a metal object that sits out in the rain. If it does not have a protective coat or is sheltered from the elements, it will rust. This also happens when an apple is cut and starts to brown. If you squeeze lemon juice on the cut apple, the vitamin C in the lemon will protect the apple from free radical damage.
Nutrition is key to arming skin with the resources it needs to protect itself from the sun and other environmental assaults. Optimized during the day, these nutrients are best consumed in the morning and afternoon for maximum skin absorption and protection. Incorporating antioxidants in a client’s daily diet will prevent negative reactions in the body, as well as slow down the aging process, keeping skin firm and more youthful looking.
Fruits like blueberries that are rich in vitamin C fight off free radicals which damage skin due to sun exposure and stress.
Lycopene is found in papaya, red cabbage, and watermelon and absorbs both UVA and UVB radiation. After a few weeks of daily consumption, the lycopene can eventually act as a natural sunblock, providing skin with protection against the sun’s harmful rays.
Since the body is unable to naturally produce omega-3s, it’s essential to receive them from one’s diet. Foods like walnuts, chia seeds, fish, and eggs are great sources of this skin-loving anti-inflammatory nutrient. Omega-3s help maintain the skin’s integrity and naturally cope with the effects of overexposure from the sun.
Beta-Carotene, Lutein & Zeaxanthin
The body converts beta-carotene, found in foods like carrots, into vitamin A which is vital for skin health. Studies show that beta-carotene provides natural sun protection after 10 weeks of regular supplementation.
Leafy greens are high in the antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin which have been found to protect skin against wrinkling, sun damage, and evenprevent skin cancer. The highest form of lutein bioavailability is found in eggs.
It is well known that vibrant colored vegetables are rich in antioxidants butmany may forget that so is cauliflower. A natural sun-protective food, cauliflower has incredible benefits.Histidine is an alpha amino acid that stimulates the production of urocanic acid, which absorbs ultraviolet radiation and is found in cauliflower.
Green tea can reduce oxidative stress when consumed on a regular basis. Researchers have also found that regular consumption reduced damage from UVA light and protected skin against the decrease of collagen. Before heating up your next kettle, be sure to know where your green tea is sourced to ensure it is toxin-free and efficacious.
Crash & Burn
Just as antioxidants arms the body with the resources it needs to protect and fight environmental assaults, the opposite is true of sugar. Creating a lot of oxidation in the arteries and tissue, high levels of sugar intake wreak havoc on the body but also on skin. Other perpetrators to try and avoid are fried foods and excessive alcohol intake.
Nourishing one’s body with nutritious foods, eliminating sugars and limiting alcohol intake will allow the body to function optimally. Additionally, taking prebiotics and probiotics willbolster the production of essential vitamins, as well as reduce inflammation and dysbiosis in the body. Have clients consider using probiotics topically to fight free radicals and maintain the skin’s microbiome.
A licensed clinical aesthetician since 2001, Colette Brown is the director of education at Columbia Skincare where she leads the professional products division. In her role, she oversees education and treatment protocol training and supports research and development with new product development. Brown possess a deep passion and understanding of the healing benefits of topical probiotics and how they contribute to the overall health and wellness of the skin’s microbiome. Based in Beverly Hills, California, Brown has a bachelor of art in education, is a certified holistic practitioner through the Kresser Institute, a licensed phlebotomist, and has certifications in advanced skin care procedures.