Free radicals, antioxidants, ceramides… skin care lines toss around these words, but what do they really mean for you? We’ll read between the lines to decipher the sometimes confusing world of skin care lingo so you can put your best face forward.
The oxidation process causes not only fruit to brown, but skin to age and tissue to become damaged. Free radicals are the nasty troublemakers that kickstart the whole process. In an effort to self-repair, these unstable molecules start a destructive chain reaction by attacking healthy cells. Free radicals happen naturally through metabolism, but environmental factors like stress, smoking, pollution and sun exposure also contribute, so for healthier skin and body, it’s important to stop the chain reaction early.
Antioxidants are the skin’s fiercest defenders, halting free radicals’ destructive march through your body and even helping to repair the damage. Topical beauty treatments including antioxidants Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamins A, C and E can actually slow and reverse the signs of aging. Richly-hued fruits and vegetables are also a good source of antioxidants, so practice what you preach and eat your veggies!
This naturally-produced antioxidant fights free radical damage and helps cells turn over and grow, resulting in more supple, younger-looking skin. But as we age, our natural levels of CoQ10 begin to ebb, leaving our skin more vulnerable to free radical attacks. Topical beauty solutions boost our CoQ10 stores, reviving skin’s youthful luster.
Lipids help create smooth, plump skin by binding skin cells together, much like mortar in a brick wall. When lipids become depleted through age or harsh cleansing of our skin, wrinkles and sagging can develop. Products with lipids restore skin to its supple, firm youth by sealing in moisture and forming a protective barrier against outside ravages.
Ceramides make up the lion’s share of lipids and help your skin attract and keep moisture, without which skin becomes thinner, drier and more wrinkle-prone. Ceramides decrease as we age, so topical Ceramide solutions seek to balance this loss.
Fatty Acids are also lipids, working in tandem with Ceramides to keep skin cells healthy by creating that breathable barrier, locking moisture in, while allowing pore-clogging oil and debris to be flushed out. Essential Fatty Acids can’t be produced by the body but a balanced diet rich in Omega-3s (fish, eggs and nuts) and Omega-6s (chicken, grains) can reveal softer, clearer, more beautiful skin. Topical treatments infused with EFAs can enhance the benefits and may even improve the appearance of cellulite by plumping and smoothing the cells.
Found in over-the-counter beauty serums, Retinol is the powerhouse anti-aging antioxidant Vitamin A. Like the more potent prescription-only Retinoid, Retinol is noted for its ability to work deep within the skin to stimulate Collagen and promote cell turnover. When applied topically, Retinol has been known to soften fine lines and even skintone, revealing luscious, radiant skin.
Both important skin proteins, Collagen is the sinewy support system for your skin, while Elastin gives skin its elasticity, helping it stretch and contract. Mature skin experiences a decrease in Collagen and Elastin, causing skin to slacken and wrinkle. Collagen and Elastin boosting serums work on the deepest levels of the skin to firm and restore resilience for a visible lift.
Peptides are chains of amino acids that form the basis of the proteins found in skin cells. After showing promise in the field of wound care, Copper Peptides have been shown to stimulate Collagen and Elastin production for a firmer, tighter complexion and a remarkable wrinkle-erasing effect.
Hyaluronic Acid is a naturally occurring fluid found abundantly in young skin and joints. As a cosmetic component, it has been touted as the fountain of youth because of its ability to retain moisture. Gentle enough for even the most sensitive skins, Hyaluronic Acid leaves skin so well hydrated that wrinkles seem to vanish as skin is left plump and dewy.