Your back up plan- part 2
June is the month I usually talk about the sun, sun damage, and why you should be serious about your sunscreen.
Reminder: 90% of all signs of aging are due to the sun’s damaging UV rays. Plus most skin cancers are the result of too much sun damage.
The reason all this damage happens is that free radicals cause damage to your cells, also known as oxidative stress.
What are free radicals and where do they come from?
Free radicals are atoms that contain an unpaired electron. When electrons are unpaired, the molecule they’re part of becomes highly reactive and unstable.
Nature always seeks balance and stability. So the unpaired electron (free radical) is on a constant search to bind with another electron to stabilize itself.
The problem is that when a free radical steals an electron, it can damage your cells’ DNA and other parts of your cells.
When you’re young, your body can usually compensate for the damage pretty easily. As you age, the ability to overcome DNA and cellular damage isn’t as strong.
That’s when you begin to see the signs of aging on your skin-wrinkles, dark spots, sagging. The real problem with these signs is the underlying damage that causes them.
Free radicals are formed when cells/molecules are exposed to carcinogens in your environment. They can also be formed by normal metabolic processes. There’s not much you can do about normal body processes, they’re part of life.
But, you can do a lot to avoid free radical damage from the UV rays of the sun.
Don’t get me wrong. The sun is not evil. It’s critical for life on earth and your own health. Vitamin D production, hormone production and good mood are all dependent to a degree on sun exposure. The problem happens when you get too much sun.
Here’s how UV damage happens
You’re outside and get UV exposure. A free radical is formed and hunts for a stabilizing electron. It finds one in a healthy skin cell.
It only lasts a fraction of a second, but during that time DNA can be damaged. Your body will then go to work to try to repair the damage. It’s quite good at it.
But over time and with repeated damage, the repair system isn’t as effective and visible damage starts to show. If you’re unlucky, the free radical damage will cause mutations in your cells’ DNA that can lead to skin cancer.
This is why sunscreen is critical for keeping your skin healthy and glowing.
Even under ideal conditions, sunscreen cannot block every UV ray (the best ones will block 95-98% of them).
Add to that, we all miss a spot or forget to reapply or simply overdo it once in a while.
That’s where antioxidants come in
Antioxidants are nutrients that work by inhibiting the formation of free radicals and may reduce the damage they would cause in the body.
Many plants are loaded with antioxidants. This is why it’s so important to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
And why using antioxidants in your skin care is a good idea.
When you put on Vitamin C serum or antioxidant face cream in the morning, it can support the work of your sunscreen. They can also work to protect your skin from air pollution and blue light.
Antioxidants neutralize the free radical so that your skin's molecules can stay intact. Here's what else they can do:
- Prevent and correct some of the damage done by free radicals (sagging from collagen breakdown, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, breakouts)
- Enhance protection against sun damage by limiting inflammation and free radical production (but you still need sunscreen!!!)
- Help skin repair itself by cutting down on inflammation
- Brighten skin tone. Vitamin C is especially good for this
- Help to prevent skin cancer by neutralizing those damaging free radicals. Vitamins A, C, and E are all antioxidants and have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Best Antioxidants for your Skin
Vitamin C (DewDrops) is generally considered the most effective antioxidant for your skin. Putting on a vitamin C serum every morning can go along way in keeping your skin healthy and protected.
The good news is that we have some other great ingredients from the plant world that act as antioxidants on your skin:
- Vitamin A (retinol)
- Vitamin E
- Plant polyphenols (green tea and berries are the best known)
- Vitamin B3
- Most adaptogenic herbs are antioxidants (and anti-inflammatory)
When it comes to using antioxidants in your skincare, the evidence is clear. Your body needs nutrients from a variety of sources, and so does your skin.
Antioxidants are an essential part of the skin’s diet and the more often you layer them on, the better it will be for your skin.
Especially if you spend time outdoors or are exposed to environmental stressors (who isn’t?). And especially at this time of year when the sun is so strong.
At SunWindSnow, all of our formulations are fully-loaded with antioxidants. RainShower cleanser, DewDrops, RainDrops, GloDrops, SunUp, and SunDown are chock full, along with other protecting, nourishing, and restorative natural and organic ingredients.
But SunUp Moisturizing Day Cream is the one designed to help you meet your day and protect you from the free radical damage you’ll encounter.
It’s full of powerful antioxidants and moisturizers that scavenge free radicals while keeping your skin moist.
Your skin will be protected from environmental insults and will have a healthy glow too.
This light (but super effective) cream is helps protect your face from drying and damaging environmental stressors like sun, wind, snow, or artificial heat or air conditioning — not to mention blue light.
Right out of the jar, you’ll love the feel of this light, orange-scented cream.
- Heavy-hitting plant antioxidants- green tea, bayberry, blueberry, cranberry, and sea buckthorn
- Nourishing and protective oils-rosehip, sea buckthorn, tamanu, raspberry seed, grapeseed, jojoba, sunflower seed
- Adaptogenic herbs-green tea, gotu kola, dandelion, licorice, Japanese honeysuckle and more
A home run morning routine
If you’re going to be outdoors or have an active day, here’s a quick routine that’ll protect your skin and keep it radiant:
- Wash your face with Rainshower Renewing Daily Cleanser
- Apply a few drops of DewDrops Antioxidant Vitamin C Serum
- Pat a nickel size dollop of SunUp on your face, neck and backs of your hands
- Top with All Weather Defense SPF 30 and SPF 15 lip balm, (be sure to get the back of your hands, neck and chest as well as your face). If you’re active, sweating or in the water, reapply every 2 hours).
Spring and summer are wonderful times of year to be outdoors. Outside so good for every part of you. Take some simple precautions and you can have a great time outdoors and great skin for years to come.