The Surgeon Minute

Antioxidants Can Turn Back the Clock

Antioxidants Can Turn Back the Clock

It seems as if everywhere you turn these days, someone is touting the health benefits of antioxidants. Now found in beauty products, food and even energy drinks, antioxidants are said to fight disease, improve your eyesight, and boost your immune system… But what are they?

Antioxidants are naturally occurring molecules, found mostly in fresh fruits and vegetables, that work by combating the oxidation of other molecules in the body known as free radicals. In short, if free radicals are the bad guys then antioxidants are the superheroes, particularly when it comes to your skin. Dr. Kevin Smith of Charlotte, NC discusses how upping your intake of antioxidants both internally and externally can help turn back the clock, making your skin look younger and more supple than it has in years.

by Katherine Stuart
and Kevin Smith, MD

Sun + Pollution = Free Radicals

Every persons body naturally produces both free radicals and the antioxidants to combat them. Unfortunately, sun exposure and environmental pollution also produce free radicals in the body, creating a situation where the bad guys outnumber the good guys. And since free radicals take electrons from our cells and DNA, causing our collagen to collapse resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles, they are literally the source of skin aging. In order to keep your skin looking supple and young, it’s important to not only decrease your exposure to the bad guys by limiting your time in the sun, but to also increase your intake of the good guys by eating foods or taking supplements high in antioxidants. But just taking them isn’t enough when it comes to the skin. We also need to apply them.

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SkinMedica’s ‘Total Defense and Repair’ Is a Game Changer

Topical Vitamin C and retinol products have a proven history helping to defend the skin against free radical damage. There is a new product on the market from SkinMedica that Dr. Smith finds revolutionary. We’ve always know that exposure to UVA and UVB light ages our skin, but recent science shows that exposure to IR-A or heat rays actually causes 50% of the free radicals that are generated in the skin because these rays penetrate so deep. So while wearing sunscreen everyday is great at protecting the skin against UVA and UVB light, it does nothing to protect it against IR-A damage. This is where the new product steps in. SkinMedica’s Total Defense and Repair defends against all three. It’s a potent mixture of traditional chemical sunscreens, zinc oxide and antioxidants that protect the body from UV rays as well as infrared radiation.

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The biggest problem with sunscreen, according to Dr. Smith, is that, “no one uses enough”. People also fail to reapply their sunscreen every few hours which is a must, and they often try to apply it on wet skin which doesn’t work. When you get out of the water, make sure to towel dry before applying your sunscreen all over and then wait at least 15 minutes before getting wet again. By utilizing the latest science and products in the fight against damaging solar radiation, skin protection can continue to keep you looking young.

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