If you struggle with acne, you’re not alone.
According to a recent study of 92 private dermatology clinics, there’s been a 200 percent rise in the number of adults seeking specialist acne treatment. Women were five times more likely than men to be affected by late-life acne, believed to be due to hormone fluctuations.
We know that acne appears because of an over-production of oil (sebum) from the sebaceous glands, but why the oil goes into overdrive is still unclear. Scientists believe that in addition to hormonal changes, other factors like diet, stress, inflammation, and more may be involved. Overloading the skin with anti-aging products can also trigger acne in people who are vulnerable to it.
Why is the problem seemingly getting worse for adults? Scientists aren’t sure of that, either, but it could be rising stress levels, poor diet, lack of sleep, and more. What’s the solution? A lot of things can help, including eating healthy, getting regular exercise, and using natural oils that help balance the skin.
But now we have something new on the horizon that may make a big impact on acne: antioxidants.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants are natural compounds found plant-based foods and products that help protect you from “oxidating” compounds. Oxidants, or “free radicals,” as they’re also called, are unstable molecules that cause cell damage in the body and the skin.
We actually produce free radicals (oxidants) naturally in our bodies when we digest and use food for energy. Free radicals are the by-products of that metabolic process, and in some cases, they can be beneficial. They act as important signal substances involved in helping the heart beat with more force when needed and helping the body react to stress. The immune system also uses them to help defend against disease-causing pathogens.
But free radicals in larger amounts can become dangerous and destructive. They can corrupt DNA, increase risk of disease, and accelerate aging. Fortunately, antioxidants help keep free radicals in check, so they don’t become too plentiful and cause trouble.
How Antioxidants Help Protect the Skin
Free radicals form naturally inside the body, but we’re also exposed to them from the outside world. In fact, every day they assault the skin! They come from pollution, alcohol, cigarette smoke, UV radiation, and industrial chemicals.
That means that every day your skin is fighting a battle against these damaging free radicals. These unstable molecules slam into skin causing problems like inflammation, age spots, hyperpigmentation, and sagging. If you live in an urban area where pollution levels are higher, you’re even more vulnerable to free-radical damage.
That’s why smart skin care formulators are putting antioxidants into their skin care solutions. Your skin needs those antioxidants to help absorb and neutralize the free radicals that attack your skin. When you apply topical antioxidants to the skin, you help stop the cell damage that free radicals can cause.
In fact, antioxidants are like the new sunscreen. Just like you need sunscreen to protect your skin from damaging UV rays, you also need antioxidants to help protect from damaging pollution.
Could Antioxidants Help Prevent Acne?
Recent studies have uncovered something exciting: Antioxidants might help reduce acne breakouts.
It started with research in the early 2000s showing that free radicals could play a role in causing acne. In 2005, for example, researchers studied the effects of oxidative stress in acne. They got 43 acne patient and 46 people without acne to enroll in the study. They then measured the presence of oxidative elements in the skin, and the level of acne. They found that the people suffering from acne had “oxidative stress” in their skin, and suggested that antioxidants may be helpful.
Then in 2012, researchers noted in their study: “Over the last several years it has become apparent that patients with acne are under increased cutaneous and systemic oxidative stress,” meaning the stress was both on the skin and inside the body. They added that the oxidation could help drive acne production.
Further, researchers found that inflammation together with oxidative stress caused by free radicals could play a role in causing acne, noting that lower antioxidant levels were commonly found in adults with acne. Other studies have also shown that people with acne are typically low in vitamin A, C, and E—all nutrients that also act as antioxidants—compared to people with clear skin.
If this is the case—if free radical damage drives acne breakouts, or at least is partially responsible—what can you do about it?
How to Use Antioxidants to Protect Skin and Reduce Acne Breakouts
If you suffer from acne, you can’t go wrong boosting your use of antioxidants. First, get more in your diet. Eat more fruits and vegetables, as they all contain antioxidants, and may help you keep your skin clear. Green tea and other antioxidant-rich beverages can also give you a good dose. Remember that skin is an organ too, so if you’re getting more antioxidants into your bloodstream, that blood will “feed” the skin and help it protect itself from the inside, out.
Second, try using more antioxidant-rich skin care products. Many now include antioxidants in their formulas. Look for ingredients like the following:
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin C
- Green tea
- Niacinimide (vitamin B3)
In addition to these ingredients, look for others that are antioxidant-rich, like tumeric, aloe vera, reishi mushroom, and natural oils like olive, calendula, and rose hip. These and other antioxidant-rich ingredients are plentiful in CV Skinlabs products, where they help reduce the inflammation that can cause acne.
Turmeric, for example—which is part of our exclusive Tri-Rescue Complex—is oil-free, so it’s perfect for acne-prone skin. It helps calm redness and tame the inflammation that typically accompanies acne breakouts, while limiting oxidative damage. And that’s just one of many ingredients that help protect your skin with antioxidant power.
Want to give them a try? Click here.
Do you protect your skin with antioxidants?
India Sturgis, “The rise of adult acne is ‘like an epidemic,’” Telegraph, January 2016, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/the-rise-of-adult-acne-is-like-an-epidemic/.
Ozer Arican, et al., “Oxidative Stress in Patients with Acne Vulgaris,” Mediators Inflamm., December 14, 2005; 2005(6):380-384, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1533901/.
Bowe WP, et al., “Acne vulgaris: the role of oxidative stress and the potential therapeutic value of local and systemic antioxidants,” J Drugs Dermatol., June 2012; 11(6):742-6, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648222.
“Study: Inflammation and Oxidative Stress Caused by Free Radicals in Adult Acne,” SkinInc.com, January 31, 2015, http://www.skininc.com/treatments/facial/acne/Study-Inflammation–Oxidative-Stress-Caused-by-Free-Radicals-in-Adult-Acne-210405631.html.