We briefly mentioned antioxidants as a weapon against free radicals in our last blog post, but thought it would be useful to explain these powerful phytochemicals, vitamins and nutrients in more detail.
Phytochemicals are chemical compounds occurring naturally in plants. Beta carotene is a popular example of a phytochemical.
People are more familiar with vitamins, which are organic compounds that provide required nutrients to living organisms that aren’t able to produce the nutrient on their own. Vitamin D is a great example of a nutrient we can’t produce. Sunlight or supplements are needed for the body to produce vitamin D.
Antioxidants can be found in most fruits and vegetables, but are also used in many personal care products to promote healthy and younger looking skin.
Antioxidants work as scavengers to break up the chain reaction of damage caused by free radicals. Using the dance partner analogy from our last post, antioxidants provide the free radical with the partner, instead of the free radical stealing it from another. Your body doesn’t store antioxidants for later use and once an antioxidant binds itself to a free radical, it’s done, so to speak. So, it’s important to refresh your antioxidant supply each and every day.
Antioxidants in topically applied products are also another line of defense against free radicals. Remember, the environment is another source of free radicals. Sun exposure, air pollution, cigarette smoke, pesticides, etc. can wreak havoc on our ability to fight free radicals. Skin care products with antioxidants can help lessen skin damage caused by free radicals.
Soy contains several beneficial antioxidants. One of the most abundant groups is soy isoflavones, including daidzein and genistein. Research has shown these protect skin against sun damage, lightens age spots and helps reduce wrinkles. Genistein also aids in collagen production and helps block enzymes that cause skin aging.
Vitamin E is also naturally found in soy and helps protect the skin’s outer layer from free radical damage and helps reduce inflammation.
There are also beneficial phytochemicals in soy skin care products. Saponins have natural cleansing properties that draw out harmful skin substances that cause blemishes and other impurities. Phytosterols moisturize and protect the skin from water loss.