Antioxidants help to fight free radicals, which can break down many body tissues when present in excessive amounts. In the skin, free radicals from aging or exposure to ultraviolet light cause a breakdown of collagen and elastin fibers, leading to a loss of skin elasticity and wrinkles.
The antioxidant developed at The Hebrew University delays skin aging by inhibiting the breakdown of collagen fibers in the skin.
When the antioxidant was applied to skin cells from mice that had been exposed to the sun, the cells showed no significant increase in free radical levels. However, cells that were exposed to the sun but did not receive the antioxidant had a rise in free radicals, causing wrinkles.
The newly isolated antioxidant differs from other anti-aging antioxidants on the market in that it is able to withstand high temperatures and does not oxidize easily. This means it will remain effective longer than other antioxidants that oxidize quickly.
The researcher hopes to develop a new generation of cosmetic products that will be effective against wrinkles, including those at deeper levels of the skin.
The plant source of the antioxidant has not been revealed because the research is still being patented.
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that steal electrons from the first thing they encounter, such as a strand of DNA. The loss of an electron, in turn, oxidizes these cells, which makes them unstable and easily breakable. As this free-radical damage continues (think of rust that’s slowly spreading over your car), your body tissues begin to degrade and disease or signs of aging, such as wrinkles, set in.
Though this newly isolated antioxidant sounds intriguing, in that it does not oxidize quickly like many other isolated antioxidants, the researcher is planning to use it to develop another anti-aging skin cream.
While this may be less invasive than BOTOX or ArteFill (tiny plastic beads that supposedly “erase” wrinkles when they’re injected into your face), most skin creams are loaded with chemical additives, including carcinogens and developmental toxins.
Clearly they are not the best things to rub on your face, as these chemicals get absorbed by your body.
Even if the skin cream was completely pure, though, it would still not be the best way to keep your skin looking young and healthy.
Preventing Aging From the Inside Out
To prevent aging symptoms of all kinds, from wrinkles to forgetfulness, you need to work from the inside out. Getting your antioxidants from eating fresh fruits and vegetables for your nutritional type will always be superior to rubbing them on your skin, or taking them in supplement form.
This is because fruits and veggies contain hundreds of other natural compounds along with antioxidants, creating a synergistic effect where the total benefit is far greater than a single, isolated antioxidant. Further, many supplements and skin lotions are made from synthetic versions of the antioxidants, which will not mesh properly within your body.
So if you want to maintain healthier, younger-looking skin, you don’t need to spend a fortune on facial creams. Instead, I recommend the following natural treatments and precautions:
- Avoid exposure to cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke exposes you to free radicals that will accelerate the aging process by damaging the microcapillaries in your skin. This limits your skin’s ability to absorb nutrients, which accelerates wrinkling and aging.
- Get your omega-3s by taking a high-quality krill oil daily. Omega-3 fats help to normalize skin lipids and prevent dehydration in your cells. This keeps skin cells strong and full of moisture, which can help to decrease the appearance of fine lines.
- You can use virgin coconut oil like a lotion.
- Limit your exposure to the sun during the hottest times of the day. This is when you’re most likely to get sunburned, and sunburned skin is more susceptible to damage and may age more quickly.
- Adopt healthier eating habits, based on your body's unique nutritional type. Giving your body the nutrients it needs is the best way to keep your skin firm and smooth. Yo-yo dieting, a recurrent cycle of gaining and losing weight, is especially problematic as it will cause your skin to stretch and become less elastic. As you age, this loose skin will be more prone to sagging and wrinkles simply by the force of gravity.
- Keep your facial muscles relaxed. If you frown (or smile broadly) often, over time lines will form where the muscles tend to contract.
- Consider taking a supplement with resveratrol, the active antioxidant in grape seeds and skins.