Aging may be a normal part of the life cycle, but many people fight its inevitable signs every step of the way. One of the newest ways to fight aging is through the use of creams, lotions, serums, soaps, makeup and tablets that contain antioxidants. The University of Maryland Medical Center says antioxidants are substances that destroy destructive compounds in the body known as free radicals.
Effects of Free Radicals
Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that do their best to secure an electron (negatively charged particle) from proteins in the skin to gain stability. This instigates a domino effect of deterioration that ultimately compromises the cellular structure of the skin. The Mayo Clinic says free radicals work to break down skin cells and cause wrinkles.
While free radicals occur naturally in the body, outside toxins such as air pollution and cigarette smoke can add to the number of harmful particles, which according to Vanderbilt University, may contribute to the aging process. Antioxidants guard cells by defusing the effects of environmental poisons. Some of the more common antioxidants found in skin care products include CoQ10, vitamin A and green tea extract.
Antioxidant Cream Pioneers
The first antioxidant to gain widespread use as a non-prescription wrinkle cream is a vitamin A derivative known as Retinol, which is less potent than prescription strength tretinoin. Both help exfoliate the skin and may also help stimulate collagen production.
Coenzyme Q10 is a relatively new antioxidant on the skin care scene. It helps control energy production in cells. Coenzyme Q10 is contained in a number of moisturizers (Créme De Jour Multi-Active Day Cream, Night Repair Cream with Coenzyme Q10 and Resveratrol). Coenzyme Q10 is also abundant in salmon, tuna, liver and whole grains. It’s unclear whether these and other products contain sufficient concentrations of active CoQ10 to have a significant effect on the skin.
Green, black and oolong tea extracts contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, according to the Mayo Clinic. Green tea is commonly found in anti-aging moisturizers (Proactive Solution Green Tea Moisturizer and Purist Naturals Firming Green Tea Moisturizer). SmartSkinCare.com says it remains uncertain whether green tea can really make wrinkles fade and/or lift sagging skin.
Anti-wrinkle creams and moisturizers that contain antioxidants may diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The effectiveness will vary depending on what you use, how often you use it and the amount of the active ingredient that’s contained in the product. The extent and severity of your wrinkling must also be considered.
About this Author
Karen Jean Gaskell is a broadcast journalist with 25 years’ experience. Gaskell has worked for leading news organizations, such as Minnesota Public Radio and the national news wire service, Metro Source. Her articles have appeared in various publications, including “Spirituality & Health Magazine” and Minneapolis’ “Star Tribune.” Gaskell studied journalism and broadcasting at both the University of Wisconsin and Brown College.