17/06/2016 11:22 BST | Updated 17/06/2017 06:12 BST

Are Topical Antioxidants Are the Key to Fighting Acne Inflammation?


This post looks at the benefits of topical antioxidants for acne, scarring and pigmentation and the impact that topical antioxidants such as vitamin A, B3 and C can have on our skin health.

Antioxidants such as vitamin A, B3 and C are key topical ingredients you need to look out for in your skin care when it comes to acne healing as studies have shown they can reduce inflammation, speed up healing and fade scars and pigmentation!

Before we delve deeper into how these powerful topical antioxidants can help improve acne, scarring and pigmentation, we need to get a better understanding of how acne is cause and the reaction that takes place within our bodies that causes a pimple to form.

Inflammation plays a key role in the formation of acne. Most people believe that acne inflammation is the final symptom of a number of different reactions that take place before the red pimple appears but in actual fact, inflammation is the initial trigger that sets the stage and kick starts the entire acne process!

Acne happens when our sebum oxidises and results in excess keratin which creates a clogged pore that allows the p.acnes bacteria to thrive and results in an inflamed pimple. These factors don't just happen out the blue! Sebum oxidisation, hyperkeratinisation and bacteria overgrowth are all the result of one key trigger that is putting our skin out of whack.

Can you guess what that one trigger is?

You guessed it. Inflammation.

What causes inflammation in the first place?

When you think of inflammation in relation to acne, the first thing that probably springs to mind is the red, swollen bumps on your face, but this is only a fraction of the full story! There are also hundreds of other sources of inflammation that could be affecting your body in ways we don't even realise. Just some of the potential inflammatory triggers include:

  • Digestive problems
  • Stress
  • Pollution
  • UV Damage
  • Toxic Ingredients
  • Harmful Chemicals
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Sugar
  • Artificial Sweeteners (Aspartame)
  • Refined Vegetable Oils

How to combat skin inflammation with topical antioxidants

When it comes to fighting inflammation, antioxidants are the key player when it comes to reducing oxidative stress. As mentioned earlier, sebum oxidation is one of the initial phases in acne formation. If we are able to reduce sebum oxidation by using topical antioxidants, we can stop the chain of events that follow sebum oxidisation (hyperkeratinisation and bacterial overgrowth) which will prevent the formation of acne altogether.

By eating lots of antioxidant rich foods (think colourful fruits and vegetables) and minimising inflammatory foods you can significantly reduce oxidative stress and inflammation from the inside out, but topical application of antioxidants will help prevent sebum oxidation from the outside.

How do topical antioxidants actually work?

It took me ages to get to grips with how antioxidants actually worked - for ages I just knew that free radicals were bad and antioxidants were good, but that's pretty much as far as my knowledge on the subject went! Now I have a much better understanding on the here goes!

Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress by neutralising free radicals. These skin nutrients (specifically vitamins A,B3,C,E etc) donate electrons to the damaged, unstable free radicals to make them complete and prevent them from attacking the skin and causing oxidative damage to sebum.

Free radicals cause oxidative damage to sebum which sets the wheels in motion for hyperkeratinisation, clogged pores, p.acnes bacteria overgrowth and eventually an inflamed pimple!

If you're still not quite sure on the science behind free radical damage, this infographic really helped me get a better understanding of the relationship between antioxidants, free radicals and inflammation!

Originally posted on Skyn.Therapy.

Amy Saunders is an expert in natural beauty and founded her virtual acne clinic Skyn.Therapy after suffering from severe acne for 13 years. Amy delves deeper into the root causes of acne, proving you don't need harsh chemicals to achieve a flawless complexion. Find Amy on Twitter, Instagram, and on her blog Skyn.Therapy.