antioxidant antipollution food

How can antioxidant rich diet support your daily skincare routine?

Glow from The Inside

How Does Air Pollution Impact Your Skin?

It’s a sad and unfortunate fact that there is no way of totally avoiding air pollution.  It’s everywhere, and, unlike many people believe, it is not limited to big cities; even rural areas are impacted because of the chemical fertilisers, herbicides and heavy machinery used in many forms of agriculture. 

The impact environmental pollution has on our skin is a result of the damaging effects created by the free radicals it produces.  Also known as ‘oxidants’, free radicals are chemically unstable molecules, due to the fact they have an unpaired electron…stay with me here.  In order to render themselves stable again, each free radical needs to ‘steal’ an electron from a stable molecule; this could be a skin cell, lung cell or actually any number of cells.  Although the free radical can then stabilise itself, the action of stealing the electron from another molecule has resulted in that molecule becoming a free radical or ‘pro-oxidant’ itself.  This oxidant will then need to neutralise itself by continuing the process of stealing electrons, potentially creating a damaging chain reaction.   It is this chemical cascade that has the potential to result in oxidative damage and the signs of premature aging which accompany it, such as dark spots, sagging skin, lines and wrinkles.


Where Do Antioxidants Come In?

Antioxidants are ‘electron donors’ and have a critical role in the maintenance of health.  They have the ability to break the free radical chain reaction and inhibit the oxidation of another molecule thus, helping to reduce the damage created by air pollution, or any free radical damage for that matter. 

Did you know that we create free radicals everyday inside our own bodies as a consequence of normal metabolic processes?   We do, and we also create our very own antioxidants, though this production can decline with age.  Without an adequate supply of antioxidants to combat free radicals, our bodies may become vulnerable to oxidative stress which can lead to skin damage.

So How Can We Top-Up on Our Antioxidants?

There are a number of different nutrients which act as antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E, polyphenols, beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, co-enzyme Q10, alpha-lipoic acid, resveratrol and glutathione.  Antioxidants work synergistically as part of the antioxidant cycle offering protection against all types of free radicals.  No single antioxidant can provide complete protection as each antioxidant contributes to the overall affect.  The balance between your intake of antioxidants and your exposure to free radicals has the potential to make the difference between maintaining optimal health or succumbing to the signs of premature aging.  Therefore, it’s vitally important to consume a variety of antioxidant nutrients on a regular and continuous basis.

Rich food sources of antioxidant nutrients include but are not limited to:

Berries: goji berries, dried bilberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries.

Other Fruits and Vegetables: Prunes, kale, red cabbage, beetroot, spinach, plums, broccoli, orange, grapes, red peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, watercress, peas, cauliflower, lemons, tomatoes, cabbage, kiwi fruit, chilli, onion, garlic, artichoke, apricot and apples.

Seeds, Nuts, Legumes and Grains: Alfalfa sprouts, beans, chestnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, buckwheat, hazelnuts and almonds.

Herbs and Spices: Allspice, clove, cinnamon, oregano, mint, rosemary, thyme, sage, ginger, garlic, turmeric and cumin.

Oily fish: Herring, sardines, mackerel and salmon. 

antioxidant food
Kelly Youren for FOM London

Kelly Youren


Kelly is the brain behind Alyve Wellness that offers personalised vitamin formulas according to requirements and health goals of a client. 

You can contact Kelly here and order your very personalised vitamins.