36 March 2017 © Skin Inc. www.SkinInc.com
solar radiation. Antioxidants are
substances that prevent oxidation,
also referred to as oxidative stress.
They are nature’s way of protecting
cells from damage. In this process
of oxidation, free radicals cause
damage to the skin tissues and
speed up the aging process.
Antioxidant-rich foods are plant
based and many times referred to
as phytochemicals.. Scientists at
the U. S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) have developed a scale
for measuring an antioxidant
food’s ability to neutralize free
radicals called Oxygen Radical
Absorbance Capacity (ORAC). The
higher a food’s ORAC score, the
more powerful it is in combating
age-related degeneration and
disease. Foods with the highest
ORAC scores include spices, cocoa
The Electromagnetic Spectrum and Skin Penetration light the average person should know—IRA and IRB.
IRB, or short wavelength infrared,
penetrates just at the epidermal layer.
Although this can stimulate some
pigmentation, it is not our biggest
concern. IRA, or near infrared, goes
down to the hypodermis, the place
where new skin cells are formed and
nutrients are delivered to the skin. 2
This deep penetration creates reason
for concern because of the extensive
damage it can inflict. Recent
research suggests that IR radiation
induces inflammation, premature
skin aging and cancer. 3 —three big
reasons for concern. What’s even
more challenging about exposure to
IR is the fact that IR rays come from
places other than the sun. Common
household appliances such as hair
dryers and television remotes also
emit rays along with many industrial,
high heat generating types of
equipment, which most of us are not
exposed to on a regular basis.
The good news is that there are
ways to protect and counteract the
harmful effects of IR radiation. The
human body has an amazing ability
to adapt and protect. Our bodies
react to environmental exposures
by using elements found in our own
chemistry to fight toxic invaders. In
the case of IR exposure, the body
utilizes antioxidants to neutralize
the free radicals created in the skin
after contact with light.
Dietary Antioxidants and
As a clinical nutritionist, I can’t
write an article on skin health
without bringing food into the
conversation. As usual, there’s an
inside-out story here too. Ingesting
dietary antioxidants will also
offer protection for all kinds of
powder (unsweetened) and richly
colored fruits and vegetables.
There are some specific nutrients
that have been studied and shown
to have strong protective properties
against light exposure. Some of the
best choices include the following.
Carotenoids. This category
includes lutein and zeaxanthin
found in dark green leafy veggies
and corn; beta carotene found in
carrots and sweet potatoes; and
lycopene found in cooked tomato
products and watermelon.
Vitamin E. This vitamin is found
in wheat germ, nuts and seeds.
Vitamin C . Peppers, cantaloupe,
citrus, and berries are all great
sources of vitamin C.