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Definition: Antioxidant

For years, I've heard from friends like FitSugar that antioxidant-rich foods are good for me. Now, antioxidants are showing up in more and more skincare products, promising to protect your cells from damage. So what exactly are they?

According to the National Cancer Institute, antioxidants are "substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals." When a free radical steals an electron from another molecule and changes the state of the atom, that is called oxidation. Free radicals are bad for the skin, because they can cause cell damage and decrease elasticity and resilience.

Found in tons of fruits and veggies, antioxidants take the form of enzymes, hormones, vitamins, or minerals. They help promote healthy organs and tissue, and some evidence shows they could help prevent cancer, heart disease, and other health problems. As for the benefits of antioxidants in skincare, the jury is still out, so

I recently ran across this article by Paula Begoun, where she basically says that the beauty industry doesn't really know if antioxidants prevent wrinkles or repair skin. Here's more:

Despite the proliferation of skin-care products containing antioxidants, according to Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, chief of antioxidants research at Tufts University, "there is no conclusive scientific evidence that antioxidants really prevent wrinkles, nor is there any information about how much antioxidant(s) or exactly which one(s) has to be present in a product to have an effect."

However, if it does turn out to be possible to slow free-radical damage in skin, then antioxidants would be the answer. In the meantime, they certainly can't hurt.


Join The Conversation
jillybean72 jillybean72 10 years
That is exactly why they are now saying dark chocolate is so good for you. It is loaded with antioxidants. Xocai Healthy Dark Chocolate is cold processed which allows the antioxidants not to be destroyed. Most dark chocolates are heated and then lose all the antioxidants. Dark chocolate helps you skin to look even better!!! Something we all need. I have been eating Xocai chocolate for two months now and I do notice a all the extra energy you get. And yes, on my blog I just posted an article on how dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure. One chocolate nugget is equal to eating a half pound of spinach.......Now which one would you rather eat????
CestLaVie CestLaVie 10 years
Drinking my blueberry green tea right now! :)
krisua krisua 10 years
Sure they might be overestimated when it comes to beauty-products but I believe in them nutrition-wise.
mollipop mollipop 10 years
Oh Bella thank you for citing some scientific sources on this topic. It seems that there are so many products out there that make bogus claims especially when it comes to products that are "anti-aging." I usually make it a point to check Cosmetic Cop (Paula's site) or Beauty Brains to see if I should take a product description/claim at the manufacturer's word before buying.
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