Antioxidants. We need them. Everyone – doctors, beauty bloggers, magazine headlines – praise the beauty benefits of antioxidants. But, like many of you, I still didn’t know what this magical ingredient really was and how it worked.
So, I spent some time in the beginning of the summer breaking down this beauty buzz word, so that I could better understand what the products I love actually do inside my body, as well as be able to share that valuable information with all you busy mamas.
Guess what? We do need antioxidants. Antioxidants are awesome!!
Okay, so what are the beauty benefits of antioxidants and how can they help our skin look sexy AND protect us from the sun?
Antioxidants are like warriors that load your cells up with the necessary “weapons” to fight free radicals, which try to damage cells.
• They neutralize and remove free radicals
• They occur naturally in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, wine, and chocolate
• There are many different types of Antioxidants that support/ prevent or stop cell damage. Example: flavanols (found in chocolate), resveratrol (found in wine), and lycopene (found in tomatoes)
What are Free Radicals? (booo, losers!! )
Free Radicals cause oxidation, think of it as rusting, which cause cell damage.
• They are found in the environment, as well as produced naturally in your body
• Skin reacts to free radical damage by generating an immune response-inflammation (that’s what we see as a sunburn)
• Left unchallenged, free radicals can cause other illnesses and chronic diseases
• They are a primary contributor for sunburns, premature aging of the skin, photo damage, and skin cancers
So, now that we understand the beauty benefits of antioxidants – my skincare superhero ingredient – here are four ways to get it into your body.
Your sunscreen has broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection, but what about protection from infrared radiation (IR-A)? IR-A penetrates deeper than UVA/UVB rays and cause the development of free radicals in your skin. Eek. Where are my antioxidant fighters?
SkinMedica TOTAL DEFENSE + REPAIR ($68) has broad spectrum sun protection, plus it features an antioxidant complex including Dunaliella salina (micro algae) and Polygonum avicular (knotgrass). Overall it’s helping supports your skin’s ability to restore itself, correct signs of photodamage and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles that the sun likes to give us.
Avalon Organics Intense Defense Antioxidant Oil ($19.99)
I’ve been using this vitamin C-packed oil all summer long. Also, this product just makes me glow and feel amazing. Other, more tangable benefits you’ll enjoy are a natural lipid barrier to retain moisture and defend skin from UV rays and pollution create free radicals. No GMOs. Vegan. Biodegradable.
Other antioxidant oils to try: Mad Hippie Antioxidant Facial Oil ($24.99)
Whether you live in Miami and get to hit the beach nearly all year long, or you’re here, with me, in New York, and have six more weeks before it’s time to start adding on layers, sun exposure lingers inside your body causing those pesky free radicals to run wild. Eating an antioxidant-rich diet is a great way to keep your skin looking youthful, as well as supporting a healthy immune system.
Here are my top 5 Antioxidant Essentials
• Green Tea – The trick is to find a really good, deep green color tea (ideally one with some matcha powder) which has a higher catechin content. Catechins protect skin from UV damage. Costco’s Kirkland brand Green Tea is actually an amazing option, not to mention bang for buck. I’m also starting to make drinks using Vital Protein Collagen Beauty Greens and matcha, so I hope to share that soon. Bonus: Green tea also speeds up your metabolism.
• Wild Salmon – Fishy and fabulous. I love fish, so this pink guy, which is a fabulous source carotenoid antioxidants that help repair damage from UV rays and support glowing skin, is a staple in my diet. Plus the omega-3 fats inhibit inflammation from UVB rays by up to 52%.
For dinner inspiration, check out my friend Candice Kumai’s recipe for Chipotle Salmon Burger. Yummy!
• Watermelon – rich in lycopene, which protects your skin from sunburns and possibility the developing of skin cancer
• Olive Oil – Toss your salad dressing aside, and toss your veggies in simple evoo. This antioxidant-rich oil not only fights sun damage, but, when consumed regularly, can help to reduce reddening from sun exposure. Hmm, my Greek g-ddess friends must be on to something
• Dark Chocolate – Ahh, something for my sweet tooth. Flavanoids found in dark chocolate (my husband rejoices are he feels no other chocolate is actually chocolate) may improve your skin’s ability to fight sunburns, plus they keep skin hydrated, and boost blood flow, which all help to keep skin looking resilient against the ticking clock.
Okay mamas, this one isn’t going to be for us on a regular basis. DIY masks and motherhood aren’t so easy to manage, but it’s worth mentioning as an option for your next #MeaningfulMeMoments night.
My love for avocados is huge – HUGE. I put them on sandwiches, in salads, blend with basil leaves to make dressing, mix with cheese, dice into salsa, eat alone. So, putting this mushy goodness on my face makes perfect sense, especially when taking into account that avocados are loaded with beauty benefits of antioxidant. Enjoy!
This recipe is from MindBodyGreen. If you don’t know this site, you should. It’s full of healthy, happy goodness for all corners of your life.
• 1 large avocado
• 1/4 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
• 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder
• 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil
In a bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Add apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, spirulina and olive oil and mix well.
Apply half the mixture to your face for about 5 minutes, then rinse off with lukewarm water. Splash face with cold water.
Grab some antioxidant-rich carrots and dip into the remaining mixture. Pair with a good book (if your mind can still function after a long day in mommyhood). My current reading suggestions: Sh*tty Mom For All Season and America’s First Daughter.
You’re a busy mama, but of course you want to stay on top of the beauty trends and tips. I’m here to help!
Is there a beauty buzz word you’d like me to investigate? Tag me @PamelaPekerman in a photo on Instagram using#BeautyBehindtheBuzz and tell me which words, beauty products you would like to know more about. Feel free to also share any skincare/body concerns that you would like me to address on this blog or an upcoming segment. I’m here for all you mamas that want time-saving tips to help you #AlwaysBeYourBestYou.