Anti-Oxidant Protection – This Decades Skin Care Game Changer

For the last 20 years, when buying skin care protection, all we had to consider was UV radiation. With increased pollution and modern lifestyles as they are, skin protection has taken on a whole new meaning.

Protection for skin has been redefined in the 21st century. To protect your skin, you now have to consider Air Pollution, Stress, Sleep Deprivation as well as UV Radiation which if untreated, will lead to various concerns such as accelerated skin aging, inflammation, and auto immune skin conditions

Air Pollution

A study commissioned by consultants at the Wuppertal Institute in Germany found that of the 13 largest cities in Europe, London has the joint third worst air quality after Moscow and Paris.

Air quality is affected by pollutants called PM’s (particulate matter), Nitrogen Dioxide and Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with PM’s and Nitrogen Dioxide proved to have the most notable effects on our skins. Exposure to these elevated levels have been proven to:

  • increase uneven skin tone, due to exposure to NO2
  • cause congestion as particulate matter can pass into the skin 
  • and activate multiple pathways of inflammation contributing to eczema and hives 

Stress/Sleep Deprivation

Sleep is a key component for skin health. Rest not only has a restorative function on the skins immunity but also has a positive effect on collagen production.

Sleep deprivation and prolonged stress increases free radical activity as essential skin nutrients are utilised in other parts on the body to counter fatigue. In chronic cases, the skins barrier function would be compromised which can lead on consequences such as acne and eczema

UV Radiation

The effects of damaged skin as a result of sun exposure has been highlighted to such an extent that failure to defend against this should be considered negligent, as we know that UV Radiation has been proven to cause inflammation, accelerated aging and cancers.

Sun burn has recently been compared to having a tattoo in the media, an analogy which I love as I can’t imagine strutting into a tattoo studio and enquiring about the price of a full face ink….. if the sun is up, cover up, and always reapply!

What Type Of Protection Will Really Make The Difference?

When we consider the level of attack that we come under daily from all these factors which constantly cause free radical stress and damage there can be no denying that the power that Anti-Oxidants yield is more important now that ever.

Antioxidants have long been known for their health benefits, but their contribution to skincare only started coming to light in the last decade. What is key to their efficacy is that they are used both orally and topically in order to block, repair and prevent damage. Antioxidants also like to work in synergy with each other. No single antioxidant is superior to another, so it’s important to combine as many together as possible to enable the best possible outcome for good skin health. Let’s take a look at what we recommend for you when we design your bespoke treatment plan


Vitamin C is water soluble and found abundantly in nature. The human body cannot produce vitamin C, therefore it can only be obtained through diets. As well as stimulating collagen production, topical and oral applications of vitamin C have also been found to improve the appearance of photo aged skin. Vitamin C is an essential part of the antioxidant brigade to protect against free radical damage from the atmosphere and from ultraviolet light.


As with all antioxidants, they both help to deactivate free radicals. In a study by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology, a sample group was given an antioxidant supplement containing the phytonutrients lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene and selenium. After 10 weeks, skin density had increased by 7% and thickness had increased by 14%. Scaling and roughness decreased by 60% and 33% respectively. Lutein also protects skin against blue light, which is essential for preventing pigmentation


Astaxanthin is most commonly known for its anti-ageing properties. A recent study found that astaxanthin can improve skin condition at all layers when combining oral supplementation and topical treatments. Astaxanthin, is often hailed as nature’s most powerful antioxidant, as most antioxidants can handle only one free radical at a time, but astaxanthin can handle up to 19 or more.


Topical applications for resveratrol have been shown to accelerate wound healing with more collagen, more elastin and improved skin architecture. Resveratrol also protects against UVB and UVA rays. It rejuvenates the DNA of cells and protects DNA from free radical damage.


Green tea is often referred to as a superfood, as it is richer in antioxidants than other tea. It is made from the Camellia sinensis plant and unlike regular teas, it doesn’t undergo processing, therefore retains its colour and nutritional content. The health benefits of green tea derive from its abundance of polyphenols. Green tea has been shown to have DNA-protective effects even during exposure to
environmental contaminants. Green tea is effective both topically and orally.


Although it is not commonly known as an antioxidant, vitamin A has strong antioxidant characteristics. Beta-carotene is a pre-cursor to vitamin A and as with all carotenoids, beta-carotene is an antioxidant. Unlike other carotenoids, such as lycopene and lutein, beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A in the body. As an antioxidant, beta-carotene prevents premature skin ageing by reducing oxygen damage caused by UV light, pollution and other external stressors.

A Final Word

In the past Skin Care was at times labelled as a vanity, skin care professionals are seeing more and more evidence of the effects of skin damage that sadly are not limited to lines and wrinkles. Skin protection is no longer a bottle of SPF that you take from your bathroom cupboard for your annual holiday. Skin Care Protection for the 21st century is now the first thing we consider when we cleanse our faces, apply our moisturisers, cover up with SPF and nourish our bodies.

Faye Layton-McCann
Faye Layton-McCann


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.