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Q: What Role Do Antioxidants Play in Brightening Skin?

19 Feb 2020

With a love for cosmetics from a young age, my curiosity knew that there was much more to the goop inside the jar than meets the eye. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Analytical Chemistry and moved to California to chase my dreams of becoming a cosmetic chemist, passionate about developing results-driven skincare. Now, I am the Product Innovation Manager for Youth to the People. My primary experience is in research and development, with a focus on both sustainability and the formulation of skincare, bringing natural ingredients to the forefront of the cosmetics market. I’m here to answer all your skincare questions. 

Question: What role do antioxidants play in brightening skin?

Answer: When we talk about skin appearing bright, we are talking about a number of different mechanisms that happen to skin during the aging process. Keeping an even skin tone is really difficult to do as we age, and we put forth a lot of effort to exfoliate (but not too much), hydrate, and protect. Hyperpigmentation can be a cause of skin tone unevenness and can be a precursor to the aging process. It can come from blemish scars and UV radiation, or both if left unprotected.

Hyperpigmentation happens when melanocytes, or melanin-producing skin cells, overproduce in order to protect the skin from things like ultraviolet damage or inflammation. Its production becomes our body's defense mechanism. When left untreated AND unprotected, it can continue to become darker and more uneven over time. When we protect our skin from ultraviolet radiation by using a daily sunscreen, preferably mineral-based, we stop the overproduction in its tracks. But that’s not all we have to do in order to help our skin remain even: at night, during our skin’s repair cycle, melanocytes are still at work trying to protect us from the damage accrued throughout the day, so it’s in our benefit to stop the enzymatic reaction in our skin that produces the melanin by using an antioxidant we know and love: vitamin C.

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid, or just ascorbic acid, is one of the most commonly-found antioxidants in skincare and is present in many delicious superfoods such as goji, acai (as found in the Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask), and acerola cherries. It is also the antioxidant we love for bright skin. Its role in combating hyperpigmentation is to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of melanin by way of the amino acid tyrosine. When vitamin C is introduced to the cell, specifically through our skincare, it stops the melanin in the skin cell from reacting at the site. In this way, vitamin C inhibits the production of pigmentation. 

In conjunction with sunblock during the day, using effective vitamin C at night during the skin’s repair cycle will lead to radiant, glowing skin. Combining this with an exfoliator, like the Kombucha + 11% AHA Exfoliation Power Toner, to keep up the desquamation process, otherwise known as cell turnover, helps to fade that pigmentation, so you can see the results sooner. 

In our Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate is our preferred vitamin C because of its oil-soluble properties. When the vitamin C is on the skin, our skin’s acid mantle helps to change the pH of the vitamin C derivative and allow for the active to penetrate the stratum corneum, which is made up of many protective oils, ceramides, and natural moisturizing factors. With continued use of the Dream Mask, vitamin C will work its magic to help brighten skin. 

To keep skin toned and radiant, combining the effects of the Dream Mask with our Kombucha Power Toner is ideal. Not only are the alpha hydroxy acids, lactic and glycolic, powerful exfoliators, but the slightly acidic pH is perfect for keeping skin refined and healthy. When skin is properly exfoliated, and the acid mantle is intact with a pH between 4.5-5.5, active materials such as vitamin C can penetrate more effectively and continue to work overtime with consistent use. 

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