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Antioxidants – Part One (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly)

May 20, 2010

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Aging is a normal process, but is there something we can do to slow down the process, even just a little? Some scientists think that antioxidants are the key to helping us look and feel younger, and I’m starting to think they’re right. So how do antioxidants l help us in the search for the fountain of youth?

I didn’t know a thing about antioxidants before I started my mobile spa business. After I started using BeautiControl’s skin care line, I kept hearing the buzz word “antioxidant”. I had previously heard that it was good for your overall health, but now I was hearing that it was good for skin health as well. Being the science buff that I am, I needed to find out what it was, and exactly why it works.

The word antioxidant literally means “a substance than inhibits oxidation”. But oxygen is good for you, isn’t it? Well, not always. Have you ever wondered why an apple turns brown after you cut it up? That’s oxidation for ya. For another example, take a piece of metal and expose it to the elements. The rust that forms is the result of oxidation. Oxidation makes fruit and metal look terrible, and it does the same thing to your skin, as well as inside your body. An antioxidant is something that physically or chemically forms a barrier to prevent oxidation: like the skin on an apple, or spraying a rust-inhibitor on metal. Now that we have an overview of what an antioxidant is and what it does, lets figure out how it can help us look and feel better.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: to understand the way antioxidants help us, we first need to find out what free radicals are and what they do. Free radicals occur naturally and unnaturally in the body. Free radicals can also be created by stress or environmental factors, such as exposure to sun, cigarette smoke, pollution, herbicides and pesticides.  The body creates them as a normal result of metabolism, as well as when it’s fighting off viruses and bacteria (The Good). However, free radicals can also attack normal molecules, one after the other, until an entire cell is damaged (The Bad). This process can continue until an entire organ is damaged. In the case of our skin, the damage causes dullness and brown spots (like an apple), and at worst WRINKLES (The Ugly)!

Antioxidants actually keep free radicals in check, to keep them from damaging good cells. Over the course of the next few blog posts, we’ll look at individual antioxidants to see how and why they are beneficial to our health.

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