The best antioxidants for skin include vitamin A, also known as retinol, and vitamin C. Vitamin E, another important antioxidant, aids in circulation and is essential to maintaining the health of one’s skin. Selenium, one of the lesser known antioxidants for skin health, is a mineral that supports other antioxidants. These compounds help to protect the cells of the skin from damage caused by oxidation and free radicals, thereby contributing to skin health and slowing down the aging process.
Vitamin A is one of many antioxidants for skin that help tissue remain moist, thereby neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage to the cells. When skin cells are exposed to oxygen, free radicals are formed, which are atoms with an odd number of electrons. These atoms cause a chain reaction in the body that can damage cells, especially in the skin, causing them to either diminish in function or die completely.
In general, it is recommended that men and women consume 2,310 IU of vitamin A per day; pregnant or breastfeeding women can take up to 4,000 IU per day. This antioxidant can be obtained in a high quality supplement or from a variety of foods, including carrots, spinach, kale, cantaloupe, apricots, and papaya. Egg yolks, cheddar cheese, and pumpkin are also good sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin C helps to protect the skin from free radicals in the same way as vitamin A. It also aids in healing cells that have been damaged by free radicals. It is typically recommended that healthy adults consume 60 mg of vitamin C per day. Those who smoke typically require much more; most experts recommend smokers consume 125 mg of vitamin C per day. This is because the smoke that is inhaled increases the amount of free radicals produced in the body.
Those who are routinely exposed to secondhand smoke, even if they do not smoke themselves, should also typically take a higher amount of vitamin C and other antioxidants for skin health. Vitamin C is found in most fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, and citrus fruits are all especially high in vitamin C.
Vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants for skin. This fat soluble vitamin aids in circulation and prevents oxidation in fat cells, thereby improving the firmness and texture of the skin. In general, women should consume 8 to 9 mg of this antioxidant per day, while men should take 12 mg. Vitamin E can be obtained by eating avocado, egg yolks, natural peanut butter, and a variety of nuts and grains.
In order for vitamins A, C, and E to protect and repair the skin, the mineral selenium is necessary. This antioxidant helps to protect the skin cells and move other antioxidants for skin health through the body, allowing them to work to their maximum potential. While selenium occurs naturally in a variety of foods, the amount varies greatly depending on the diet of the animal or the soil the food is grown in. In general, Brazil nuts, tuna, cod, and beef contain a good amount of selenium. Experts recommend that healthy adults consume 50 to 70 mg of this mineral per day.