Let’s face it — we can all be doing more to protect our skin from harsh environmental factors. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is responsible for protecting the inner part of the body from outside environmental stressors. One of the absolute best things we can do to help repair our skin and generate cell turnover is to treat our skin with antioxidants.
When you hear the word antioxidant, your first question might be, “What is an oxidant?” Oxidation of the skin contributes to impurities such as blackheads and breakouts, and it is also a significant contributor to premature aging. Oxidation or oxidative stress occurs when we are exposed to free radicals and there are not enough antioxidants present to balance out the electrons, resulting in skin damage. Free radicals are molecules with an uneven distribution of electrons and can be found anywhere from the foods we eat, to the pollutants in the air we breathe and the UV rays from sun exposure. Oxidative stress is a heavy contributor to volume loss and the breakdown of collagen. It also heavily hinders cell turnover rate and our skin’s ability to repair itself, triggering inflammation.
Inflammation contributes heavily to fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne, skin blotchiness and overall unevenness of the skin. Smoking and drinking heavily may also result in inflammation in the face and breaks down the skin even faster. Sun exposure is another very common oxidative stressor. Unfortunately, many people believe skin damage only occurs when you get a sunburn, but the reality is even that sunkissed tan causes oxidative stress resulting in faster signs of aging over time.
Everyday, almost every patient we see here at Concierge Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery is dealing with some sort of oxidative stress, even if they are doing their best to prevent it. One important piece of advice is to not self-diagnose your own skincare. Seek advice from one of our highly trained medical providers, nurse practitioners, or estheticians. Time and time again we see patients using the wrong products or using products that are counterintuitive. Unfortunately, this can actually cause inflammation and make their skin problems even worse.
The first line of defense to help with anti-aging and oxidation is to visit our team regularly and use our recommended skincare products packed with antioxidants. Topical antioxidants can help to prevent and repair oxidative stress, such as sunburn, and even out the skin tone. They can even help to prevent the formation of skin cancer cells over time because they are increasing your skin’s ability to repair. Some of them are also anti-inflammatory and exfoliating.
The use of antioxidants also helps to improve your lipid barrier. When you do not have any lipids in your skin, it becomes dried out and sensitized. Reversing oxidative stress with antioxidants also helps to increase cell turnover rate, resulting in collagen stimulation.
Examples of antioxidants include:
Cell turnover is essentially the constant shedding of your dead skin cells. When you shed your dead skin cells, they’re subsequently replaced with younger, fresh cells. If your cells don’t turn over frequently, it causes your skin to look dull and aged. For context, a child typically has a cell turnover rate about every fourteen days. A healthy adult in their mid-twenties, depending on lifestyle choices, has an average cell turnover rate of 28 days.
The accumulation of dead cells or a decrease in cell turnover rate is a huge contributor to acne breakouts. When you don’t shed your dead cells, they build up on your skin, hoard bacteria, and clog pores. The dead cells oxidize in your pores and turn into blackheads.
Patients can expect to see brighter, cleaner, rejuvenated, and exfoliated skin from regular facials and prescribed skincare treatments. The best course of action is to get these treatments monthly versus quarterly to get the best results. It’s like working out, if you want to get results you can’t workout just four times a year. The frequency has to do with your cell turnover rate. We use ingredients such as antioxidants and alpha hydroxys to stimulate cell turnover, keeping your skin brighter and fresher, preventing wrinkles, and photo aging over time. Facials also bring blood flow to your face, almost acting like a massage. This is helpful with cell turnover rate leading to new collagen production.
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