Tag Archives: Skin Protection

Antioxidants and Skin Care

Woman eating orange

Are antioxidants the new religion? Since the superpowers of the oxidation fighters were revealed, we follow groundbreaking news about antioxidants on social media with the same rabid enthusiasm that we follow the Brangelina divorce or the newest celebrity posts on Instagram. Antioxidants are our lifeline against aging, judging from the amount of attention antioxidants are getting, this attribute may be more valuable than reservations at the Ivy. So for those of you for whom the latest skin care breakthrough headline is more enticing than the latest celebrity baby bump reveal, here is some eye opening information on antioxidants and skin care.

Vitamin C and E and Selenium
According to research, vitamins C, E, and selenium not only protect skin against sun damage and skin cancer, they may actually reverse wrinkles and discoloration associated with the aging process. Karen E.Burke, MD, PhD attributes these results to the ability of this trio to speed up the natural repair system of the skin and prevent further damage. The doctor recommends supplements containing 400 international units of vitamin E, 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 100 to 200 micrograms of selenium daily to reap the glorious benefits of this healthy triumvirate.

Woman at mirror

CoEnzyme Q10
CoEnzyme Q10 is an antioxidant which occurs naturally in the human body, promoting cell growth and protecting against cancer. Age-related decreases in the levels of CoQ-10 in the body are thought to be associated with aging, and a study published in the Biofactors Journal found proof that applying 0.3% concentration of the antioxidant may help to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid
Applied topically, this antioxidant may be able to aid the skin in the prevention of sun damage. A study found subjects who applied a 3%-5% concentration of alpha-lipoic acid to their skin, starting at a rate of once every other day and gradually increasing to daily application, showed noticeable improvement in changes in the skin brought on by the sun.

Retinoic Acid
If you’ve been doing your homework, you already know that retinoic acid is the active form of vitamin Q in the skin, and is also typically referred to as the “gold standard” in skin care. Used topically, retinoic acids, often branded as Renova or Retin-A, effectively treat age spots, wrinkles, and rough skin caused by the sun’s rays. A study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science revealed findings that retinoic acid treatment reduces the appearance of wrinkles by restoring the elastic fibers responsible for keeping skin firm and tight. Although dermatologists once believed that use of this antioxidant increased skin’s sensitivity to the sun, they now believe that it actually protects the skin from further damage. However, because high concentrations of retinoic acid have been associated with peeling and redness, Burke recommends starting at a low concentration (0.01% in gels and 0.1% in creams) and applying it every two to three nights to introduce it slowly to the skin.

Asian woman with cup of tea

Flavonoids (Green Tea and Chocolate)
We saved the best for last. Research suggests that the flavonoids in green tea can protect from inflammation and cancer, and a German study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that women who drank cocoa with a high level of flavonoids had smoother, softer skin than those who drank a lower flavonoid version of the liquid chocolate. Although the results so far seem promising, Burke says more research needs to be done to prove the effectiveness of flavonoids and to determine the best dose, but, in the meantime, you are more than welcome to experiment.

Are you a believer in antioxidants? Let us know which ones you are most faithful to and why. We love to learn from you!

Woman walking along beach

Why Makeup and Sunburn Don’t Mix

Have you ever heard the expression two wrongs don’t make a right? Perhaps someone should have warned one woman that she about to find out how true that saying is before she learned from her own experience. Recently, a Reddit post showing before and after photos of a woman sporting a sunburn went viral. In the before pic, the woman is shown sans makeup so as to give the viewer an up close view of what a painful sunburn looks like. The after picture shows the same woman after using a full coverage foundation. The result? One might believe they were looking at a skincare advert; the signs of sunburn untraceable; the woman’s skin dewy and soft.

The viewer response? Overwhelmingly positive. Headlines declared, “This is the best foundation for covering sunburn! It completely conceals sun damage!” The response from the dermatological community? A little less so. Even though foundation may provide a great way to cover the symptoms of a sunburn, it actually hinders the healing process.

Woman applying sunscreen

Sunburnt Skin Needs to Heal
Dermatologist Dendy Engelman weighs in on the post saying, “Extremely burnt skin is damaged and needs time to heal. Applying makeup, especially if it has chemicals and irritants, can cause more inflammation to the skin. You want your skin to heal properly and quickly. It’s more important to focus on products that soothe and combat damage.”

Alternative
Even though hiding the inflammation and redness may seem to be the priority, Dr. Engelman advises emphasizing proper skin care over minimizing the burn’s appearance. “Apply some aloe to help cool and heal and use a product with antioxidants to combat all the free radical damage,” she says. If coverage is important, the doctor advises using powder based makeup which goes on more smoothly and is less irritating to damaged skin.

Woman soaking in bath

Two Rights
Fortunately, if you have added insult to injury by first allowing yourself to burn and then trying to conceal it, there is an all in one solution for both problems: apple cider vinegar. Just add a cupful or two to a bath and soak for 10 minutes. Dr. Engelman says that this ingredient will soothe the skin while balancing its pH level.

Avoiding Sunburn
Of course, the best way to avoid the ill-advised use of makeup to conceal a burn is to not get a burn at all. So let’s take a moment to review the ways of doing just that:

  • Always Wear Sunscreen
    Always wear a broadband sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply it 15 to 20 minutes before venturing out in the sun. Once out, reapply every two hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating. Apply to all parts of your body, including the part in your hair and the tops of your ears.
  • Wear Protective Clothing
    If you’re really serious about blocking the sun’s rays, you need to make sure you wear clothes that you can’t see your hand through. Sheer fabrics will not provide enough coverage Wear a hat to block the sun from your face and wear sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays.
  • Avoid the Sun When It Is Hottest
    The sun is at its strongest between ten in the morning and four in the afternoon. Try to avoid the sun during these hours and take frequent shade breaks to keep from prolonged exposure. Be especially diligent about rules during these hours.

Let us know what you do when you get an unavoidable sunburn? How do you stay safe while looking great?