You’ve heard of antioxidants by now. The term is absolutely everywhere. On commercials. In the news. The magazine on your table. Your favorite blog.

Even if you’ve never paid any attention to the term before or what it means for you, you’ve at least heard it. It’s time you actually start paying attention. Antioxidants can lead to a healthier you. Antioxidants can lead to a more beautiful you.

Antioxidants can combat those fine pre-aging lines, and antioxidants can fight wrinkles.

Antioxidants are your body’s protectors, armed with their enchanted hammer, they are some of the mightiest substances around. They are the epitome of a Thor that you definitely want on your side.

Where Do Wrinkles Come From?

The first wrinkles to appear on a person’s face tend to occur as a result of facial expressions, and most wrinkles tend to appear on the parts of the body which receive the most sun exposure, particularly the face and neck, back of the hands, and arms.

The problem starts when collagen and elastin fibers in the skin aren’t what they used to be, thanks to the aging process. Sadly, these fibers are the ones responsible for maintaining your skin’s form and shape. Collagen is the network of supporting fibers that hold things together, and elastin is responsible for the elasticity; the ability to bounce right back. Any time you form a facial expression like smiling or laughing, a crease is formed under the skin. When everything is in working order, the crease immediately smooths back out again and all is right with the world.

When these supportive layers are broken down, the skin becomes weaker and less flexible. It starts to droop, and wrinkles appear.

Factors Contributing to Aging

Ultraviolet (UV) light breaks down the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin. Exposure through sunbathing, tanning booths, outdoor sports, and working outside greatly increase the chances of developing wrinkles earlier.

A lifestyle that regularly presents your body with toxins will also accelerate the aging process of the skin. Cigarette smoking will reduce blood supply to the skin. Alcohol dehydrates it. Environmental pollutants and toxins can cause damage as well.

Aging Under the Microscope

Free radicals, which are formed when oxygen in the body splits, are a result of either normal metabolic processes or due to an environmental stressor like smoke and toxins. When oxygen splits, it results in single atoms with unpaired electrons (oxidation). Those are “free radicals.” When something happens to cause a molecule to inadvertently lose an electron, the result is a free radical. Electrons do not like to be lonely, so the free radicals are constantly searching for a mate. They careen around our body seeking out other electrons to pair with, resulting in damage to cells, protein (which makes up collagen), and DNA. They will scour the body, raping, pillaging, and plundering.

More simply: Picture rust on a railing or a browning apple after you cut it. That’s oxidation.

This damage leads to inflammation, which the body wants to alleviate.The body’s way of responding to an injury (whether it’s a real wound, or damage done by toxic substances, or the sun) is to replace the damaged collagen. In comes the enzyme, collagenase, which breaks down the old, damaged collagen so that new collagen can take its place.

When we’re young that’s not so much of a problem. We make collagen as fast as it’s broken down. But as we age, our collagen production slows down greatly.

Enter the Body’s Defense Mechanism, Antioxidants

These molecules can safely interact with free radicals to stop the chain reaction before any more molecules are damaged, effectively neutralizing them. Acting as Thor, these molecules step in to inhibit oxidation or reactions promoted by oxygen, peroxides, and free radicals.

Antioxidants are produced by the body and obtained through the food we eat and are a critical part of the body’s defense system. They come onto the scene and donate one of their electrons, neutralizing the free radical. That free radical’s reign of terror comes to an end.

Antioxidants will help to protect your skin from damage from the sun and other environmental insults. They guard from the inside out. Antioxidants like Vitamins A and C can encourage cell and tissue growth, helping the repair process. This makes them vital to an anti-aging skin care regimen, helping to fight fine lines and wrinkles.

Antioxidants to Fight Wrinkles

Beauty companies are harnessing the benefits of antioxidants in their products, as well as adding in additional antioxidant-rich botanicals like green tea, pomegranates, grape seeds, and more. “The use of topical antioxidants is gaining favour,” says Dr. Patricia Farris, a leading dermatologist based in Louisiana who lectures widely on antioxidants and also consults with the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries on their use. “More and more scientific studies are proving their effectiveness.” Many studies and reviews confirming the ability of antioxidants to be absorbed into skin cells have appeared in medical journals. “Now we know they can be absorbed into the cells of the stratum corneum [the topmost layer of skin] and that is where they neutralize free radicals,” Farris says.

Skin care products containing antioxidants can help to protect against the free radicals’ damage by boosting collagen and elastin production, slowing this process. Antioxidants can’t reverse damage that doesn’t occur as a result of free radicals on the skin.

Best Antioxidants For Fighting Wrinkles

According to DermApproved, these are some of the antioxidants you want to look for when researching your anti-aging, anti-wrinkle skin care products.

  • Vitamin E (tocopherol)
  • Lycopene
  • Green tea
  • Coffee berry
  • Resveratrol
  • Grape seed
  • Niacinamide
  • Vitamin C