A World of Antioxidants
Antioxidant enzymes play a vitally important part of any anti-aging skin care routine. The reason they are one of the most effective weapons in your skincare arsenal is that they address the root cause of collagen breakdown: oxidation. Oxidation is the chemical process which causes visible signs of aging such as age spots, wrinkles and uneven texture and tone. Antioxidants work by scavenging for free radicals, which are unstable molecules caused by oxidation. Antioxidants have been proven to decrease the free-radical damage and inflammation which causes collagen to break down and cause wrinkles. Antioxidants not only stop free radical damage from occurring, but can actually repair damage that has already happened.
There are many sources for antioxidants in skin care products. While Vitamin C may be the best known, there are many other potent sources of antioxidants. At OZNaturals we search out the most natural antioxidant complex sources, and incorporate them into state-of-the-art formulations to deliver the most effective skin care possible. Here is a little closer look at some of the many antioxidants we use in our products.
Vitamin C: This water-soluble vitamin is one of the most researched and proven ingredients in skin care. It is a potent antioxidant which has been shown to increase collagen production, reduce inflammation, and helps skin better withstand exposure to sunlight. OZNaturals uses a uniquely stabilized form of Vitamin C, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, in our Vitamin C Serum, Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Vitamin C Cleanser, Sea Infused Moisturizer and Ocean Mineral Tonic.
Astaxanthin: Recently, the skincare industry has been fascinated by the promise of perhaps the most powerful antioxidant in existence: Astaxanthin. This “super-antioxidant” is generating a great deal of excitement since it has been shown to have antioxidant action up to 500 times that of Vitamin E, 800 times stronger than CoQ10 and an incredible 6,000 times stronger than Vitamin C.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, which is a group of naturally occurring pigments that are important for human health. We’re probably most familiar with beta-carotene, which is what makes carrots orange. Astaxanthin also has a natural orange color, which is sometimes visible in products which contain it.
Although Astaxanthin can be synthetically derived, research has shown that natural Astaxanthin is more effective than synthetic varieties. OZNaturals sources our Astaxanthin from a microalgae known as Haematococcus pluvialis. This natural algae Astaxanthin has a unique molecular structure which allows it to reside in the cell membrane. This ability to protect both the inside and outside of cells from free radical attack gives Astaxanthin its superior antioxidant capacity.
OZNaturals has been researching and using Astaxanthin for some time now. We have included it in our best-selling Vitamin C and ProRetaxinol serums. Our Ultra Ageless Eye Crème also features Astaxanthin as part of its state-of-the-art formulation.
Vitamin A: Also known as retinol, Vitamin A helps skin create newer, healthier skin cells and increases the amount of substances that enhance skin’s structural elements. One of the most exciting anti-aging ingredients in skin care, retinol can reduce wrinkles, improve skin texture, and diminish age spots.
The entire family of Vitamin A derivatives are called retinoids. These include retinoic acids such as tretinoin, tazarotene and adapalene, as well as retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl aldehyde, retinyl acetate, and retinyl linoleate.
What can retinol do for skin? When broken down into retinoic acid, it penetrates deeply into the skin and communicates with skin cells, helping them to become healthier. By boosting collagen and increasing cell turnover, regular use of retinol can:
- Reduce wrinkles
- Improve skin texture
- Decrease breakouts
- Reduce pore size
- Diminish brown spots
- Create luminosity and glow
As with other anti-oxidant products, packaging is key to efficacy. Retinoids are inherently unstable, and exposure to light and air can render them less potent. Clear bottles and jars may look attractive, but they needlessly expose the active ingredients. Always look for opaque, air tight packaging when evaluating a retinol product.
Because retinoids break down when exposed to sunlight, there has been a great deal of misinformation that retinol products should not be used during the day. While nighttime is an ideal time for any skin repair and recovery product, Super Youth Retinol Moisturizer is formulated for both day and night use.
Retinol has also been shown to help prevent photo-aging caused from the sun, by inhibiting the rise of collagenase (the enzyme that breaks down collagen) after UV exposure. However, it is always important to include a broad-spectrum, natural sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 in your daily skincare regimen.
Vitamin E: A true antioxidant superstar, Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that strengthens the skin’s barrier function, and prevents dehydration and cell membrane damage. Vitamin E can either naturally or synthetically derived – and both versions have beneficial antioxidant properties. When evaluating skincare products, you may see Vitamin E listed as d-alpha-tocopherol, d-alpha-tocopherol acetate, dl-alpha tocopherol, and dl-alpha tocopherol acetate. The “d” prefix in front of the “alpha” indicates that the product was derived from natural sources, such as vegetable oils or wheat germ; the “dl” prefix indicates that the vitamin was created from a synthetic base. Look for Vitamin E in OZNaturals Ocean Mineral Facial Cleanser, Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Amino Herbal Facial Mask, Retinol Moisturizer and Retinol Serum.
Green Tea: There are many varieties of green tea, but they all come from the camelia sinensis plant. Extensive research has established that green tea has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols, the active ingredients in green tea, have been shown to help prevent damage from UV light and provide anti-carcinogenic properties. OZNaturals is proud to include green tea in our Hyaluronic Acid Serum, Sea Infused Herbal Moisturizer, Body Soufflé, Sunscreen and Ancient Orient Dermafoliant.
Rose Hips: Rose hips are the seeds of the wild rose, rosa canina. They have been used in beauty and medicinal products for centuries, and for good reason. Wild rose hips are high in the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acids, as well as powerful antioxidants. They contain 50% more Vitamin C than oranges, along with Vitamins A, D and E. Natural antioxidant flavonoids, known for their anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiallergenic properties, are also thought to improve the skin by stimulating the production of collagen on a cellular level.
Among the many skincare benefits attributed to rose hips are the ability to lighten hyperpigmentation, combat sun damage, reduce skin blemishes and irritations, improve overall hydration and lessen the appearance of scars and wrinkles. That is quite an impressive list, making rose hips one of the most multitasking ingredients in skincare today.
You will find rose hips, either as an extract or oil, in a number of OZNaturals products. All three of our flagship serums (Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid and Retinol) contain this useful ingredient, as does our Amino Herbal Hydration Mask, Sea Infused Herbal Moisturizer, Ocean Mineral Cleanser and Vitamin C Cleanser. You’ll see it on the list of ingredients as “Rosa Canina Fruit Extract.”
In addition to these super star antioxidants, OZNaturals uses many other highly effective ingredients in our formulations, including rosehip oil, amino acids, silk proteins, cucumber hydrosol, ferulic acid, algae extract, olive oil, and witch hazel. Regardless of which products you use in your skin care regimen, you can be assured that you are receiving the protective and anti-aging benefits of the best antioxidants available.
But don’t stop there. Make antioxidants a regular part of your diet. Tackling the skin from the inside can make your skincare routine even more effective. Here are a few of our favorite antioxidant foods for skin:
Blueberries – All types of berries are packed full of important plant nutrients, but blueberries are at the top of the list – literally. The USDA’s Oxygen Radical Absorbance Test (yes, there really is such a thing!) ranks blueberries #1 in antioxidant activity. Anthocyanins are the specific antioxidant compound at work. These are not only responsible for the rich blue color of the berry, but also for their anti-inflammatory and collagen protecting abilities as well. Blueberries are so easy and delicious to incorporate into a daily routine. Add them to yogurt or cereal for breakfast, or just enjoy as a between-meal snack.
Spinach –Actually almost all dark leafy greens, including trendy kale, are anti-oxidant rich. Their high anti-oxidant content can work to provide protection from UV damage, and slow the signs of aging. (That’s not to say you can skip the sunscreen, though!) They also contain a high percentage of water to aid in hydration. Spinach salad for lunch, anyone?
Dark Chocolate – Contrary to popular belief, chocolate does not cause or exacerbate acne. In reality, the antioxidants in cocoa and dark chocolate – called flavinols – improve circulation in the skin, and help improve texture and reduce sun damage. To be most effective, look for pure dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao. A half ounce to an ounce a day provides all the benefits you need.
Green Tea – Not only a valued skincare ingredient, green tea may be one of the most healthful beverage you can consume. The polyphenols in green tea are thought to be able to actually counteract sun damage, and help to prevent future damage from ultraviolet rays as well. A 2009 Stanford University study showed that consuming the polyphenols in two cups of green tea daily generated significant improvement in sun damage, redness, and broken capillaries among the participants. Always go for fresh brewed, though. Bottled brands have been shown to contain as little as one fiftieth of the polyphenols found in fresh, hot brewed green tea.
Whole Grain Pasta – Whole grain pasta is not only more nutritious than its refined cousins, it contains additional fiber and the super antioxidant Coenzyme Q10. Our bodies’ natural supply of CoQ10 diminishes as we age, giving us a great excuse for making a hearty pasta dinner. Combine with antioxidant-rich vegetables and olive oil for additional nutrition and flavor.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes are rich in the lycopene, an antioxidant compound found in most red and pink vegetable which can help fend off skin damage from UV radiation. Whether fresh or canned, tomatoes are a terrific source of this carotenoid. Interestingly, these potent antioxidants are more available to the body in cooked form rather than raw. Count that as your excuse to make up a batch of homemade tomato sauce!Whether applied topically, taken as antioxidant tablets, or consumed in our daily meals, antioxidants truly hold the key to healthier, younger looking, and more resilient skin. Try an antioxidant cream, serum, or facial cleanser for beautiful skin today!