What is oxidative stress?
At the cellular level, the oxygen we breathe releases the energy contained in the nutrients we take in with our food: this is known as cellular respiration.
This release of energy from nutrients is accompanied by the production of waste products in the cells. The main waste products are free radicals, unstable chemical compounds that are toxic to cells. To stabilize themselves, they attack the membranes, proteins or DNA contained in the cells, destabilizing them in turn.
Our bodies have defense systems to neutralize these free radicals. These include antioxidants, found in certain foods.
When the production of free radicals is offset by the production of antioxidants, all is well: the cell is in equilibrium. But when the quantity of free radicals exceeds that of antioxidants, our body finds itself in a state of oxidative stress that can be harmful, particularly to the skin...
The effects of increased free radicals are visible in the form of brown spots, wrinkles and, among other things, a rapid loss of firmness.
Why include antioxidants in your skincare routine?
It's the first cosmetic anti-aging step. Antioxidants protect the skin from external aggression and prevent skin ageing.
Even though our bodies produce antioxidants, our modern lifestyles expose us to quantities of free radicals far too great for our natural defenses alone.
What factors increase oxidative stress? UV rays, pollution and stress.
What's more, the production of free radicals in the skin increases with age, and the ability of cells to repair themselves diminishes. As we age, we can no longer rely on our natural defenses to fight oxidative stress, especially if we expose ourselves to aggravating factors.
Antioxidants in the diet
Dietary antioxidants play a major role in maintaining oxidative balance. Here are a few examples of the most powerful antioxidants:
- Vitamin C (citrus fruits, kiwis, green leafy vegetables)
- Vitamin E (nuts and their derivatives, avocados, seeds)
- Beta-carotene (carrots, pumpkins, pumpkin, etc.)
- Zinc (meat, fish, pulses, yoghurt)
- Selenium (Brazil nuts)
However, due to intensive farming and processed foods, our food is less and less nourishing and therefore no longer provides as many antioxidants as it used to.
Over time, our diet and our natural defenses are no longer able to protect us from oxidative stress.
So what can we do?
Antioxidant-based skin care products can help counter the effects of aging: the molecules contained in these products are more easily assimilated by the skin.
Our antioxidant active ingredients
In cosmetics, vitamins A, C and E are often included in formulations because of their antioxidant properties, but they have specific benefits for the skin that make them suitable for different dermatological concerns.
Vitamin C (or L-ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is a benchmark anti-aging active ingredient.
It protects cell membranes made up of fatty acids that are highly sensitive to oxidation. It acts as a free-radical trap, limiting the chain reaction of oxidative stress: it is therefore particularly relevant for reinforcing the skin's defense mechanisms in the face of everyday aggressions. The only drawback to vitamin C? It is unstable in the open air, making it difficult to store.
To counter this problem, the vitamin C in our Vitamin C Serum has been stabilized.
This enables it to provide the skin with all the energy it needs to fight oxidative stress. Concentrated at 10%, it plays its anti-oxidant role to the full at a dose objectivated by studies.
Vitamin E plays a key role in protecting cell membranes, the immune system and skin health. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin E neutralizes free radicals in cellular lipids, protecting cell membranes against oxidative damage. You'll find it in our Protection Spf 50+ Gel for its protective action. In fact, by preventing sunburn in the event of UV exposure, vitamin E limits inflammatory reactions such as redness, erythema and edema, and protects the skin against the action of free radicals responsible for cell damage and accelerated aging.
Vitamin A (retinol)
Essential for vision, cell growth, cell differentiation and the maintenance of skin health, vitamin A acts primarily as an indirect anti-oxidant, promoting cell regeneration and protecting cells against oxidative damage.
Retinol is one of the three forms of vitamin A, along with retinal and retinoic acid, recognized for its antioxidant virtues that prevent premature aging of skin cells by neutralizing free radicals. Find this anti-aging active ingredient in our Retinol Serum.
When ultraviolet rays reach cells, they cause oxidative stress, triggered by free radicals, leading to premature aging (spots, wrinkles, discoloration).
UVB rays are absorbed by direct exposure to the sun. Prolonged contact with UVB rays burns the epidermis, leading to various skin reactions, including sunburn. Beyond simple sunburn, UVB rays can cause scarring, pigmentation spots and even skin cancer.
UVA rays are absorbed by the skin all year round, penetrating clouds and even windows. They are the main cause of skin aging. They penetrate the dermis and directly influence skin cells, affecting the production of collagen and elastin, two proteins essential to skin suppleness.
The chemical filters, also known as organic filters, contained in our SPF 50 skin care product absorb UVA and UVB rays like a sponge. They are therefore an essential bulwark against oxidative stress on a daily basis. That's why we recommend applying sun protection every day without fail, and repeating the application several times a day in the event of prolonged exposure.