This guest post is by Althea Giscombe, Founder of Thea Skincare.
Antioxidant is the new buzz word in skincare but do we really know what they are and why they are so good for your skin?
Well going back to our school chemistry days, we learnt that we need oxygen for all our bodily processes such as breathing and breaking down the food we eat so that it can be easily absorbed by our organs. During these processes, free radicals are formed as toxic by products and it is these free radicals that can cause harm to our body.
Free radicals are unstable, they can attack normal healthy cells and as a result can cause pre-mature ageing. Our body can normally handle free radicals but if antioxidants are not present, or if the amount of damaging free radicals in our body becomes excessive, due to pollution, cigarette smoking and eating excessive fried food for example, then damage to normal healthy cells inside our body takes place. To make it worse, free radical damage accumulates with age.
It is thought that by regularly consuming food and drinks such as tea that are rich in antioxidants can ‘soak up’ these damaging free radicals.
So, by drinking tea regularly each day you can top up your antioxidant count to fight these excess free radicals and help to combat premature aging.
Why is tea so good for your skin?
Tea is widely known to be rich in a particular group of antioxidants called Polyphenols.
Tea polyphenols, possess natural anti-oxidant properties and are chemical compounds such as flavanoids and tannins that are found naturally in tea. Depending on how the tea is harvested, handled, processed,and brewed, the polyphenol level in the tea can vary. As polyphenols are antioxidants that fight free radicals, they not only help to combat ageing skin but they are known to be able to combat developing coronary artery disease and a number of other health problems.
Nowadays, tea is an important ingredient in good skincare products as well as being considered a super food. Whether it’s black, green, white, oolong or the latest talked about tea in skincare, the South African rooibos tea, the Polyphenols in teas detoxify cell-damaging free radicals in the body.
Types of teas that are rich in antioxidants
Rooibos Tea, from the Aspalathus plant group, a native of South Africa (and traditionally know as red bush tea) is a new generation of herbal teas which is now found in skincare products. It is packed with powerful anti-ageing antioxidant properties. Like regular tea, rooibos tea contains flavonoids equivalent to those found in green tea. The Japanese called rooibos tea ‘Long Life Tea’ because of it’s excellent anti-ageing properties. The Japanese have done studies that have shown that rooibos tea is comparable to green tea regarding the amounts of polyphenols it contains. It also shows some anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties.
Most other traditional teas come from the camellia sinensis tea plant which is know to be rich in polyphenols, These wonder nutrients scavenge for cell-damaging free radicals in the body and detoxify them, says Weisburger. “Astounding” aptly describes tea’s antioxidant power, he tells WebMD. “Whether it’s green or black, tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables.” Tea has about eight to 10 times the polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables according to long-time tea researcher John Weisburger, PhD, senior researcher at the Institute for Cancer Prevention in Valhalla, N.Y.
The use of tea in skincare products is now increasing due to the recognition of its high antioxidants levels which we now know can slow down the ageing process. Antioxidants in skin care products make it possible to counter the free radicals our skin may suffer from on a daily basis, so that wrinkles and fine lines can be minimised with the use of antioxidants skin care products.
Good natural skin care products focus on maintaining a healthy, youthful dermis, preventing premature ageing, reducing the appearance of lines and wrinkles, and retaining proper moisture.
Antioxidants also help to produce collagen and elastin. As we age, the production of these two weaken. Collagen keeps the skin firm and elastin adds and maintains elasticity. In other words, it helps to prevent wrinkles and fine lines and it also adds resistance that helps prevent the skin from sagging.
Skincare products with tea antioxidants are approved and recommended because of the beneficial abilities antioxidants have on the skin. Being able to fight free radicals and being able to apply them topically is an advantage that has now been discovered.
While there are already antioxidants skin care products on the market, companies are still trying to come up with the best blend of antioxidants. These blends need to be proven as beneficial, that is why companies are taking their time in producing new formulas. From the initial target of skin care, which is to help skin retain moisture and keep it firm, the goal has been moved to more sophisticated and skin nutrition approaches after realising that antioxidants can help to minimise wrinkles and lines, and can even make your skin resistant to damages.
So, drinking a few cups of tea each day can not only keep the doctor at bay but can give you good healthy skin too.
Althea Giscombe, BSc (Hons), MSc, Founder of Thea Skincare
Althea was born in the UK and attended Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, England at the age of 18, where she gained an honours degree in Combined Sciences and a year later was awarded a grant from the Science and Engineering Research Council to do a masters degree in Manufacturing and Polymer Technology at Loughborough University.
Althea has worked in a number of corporate companies including Avon Cosmetics where she learnt about cosmetic skincare formulations and marketing brands in different countries and within different cultural environments.
In 2008, Althea took a break and went to Africa for the first time. She went to Malawi which changed her life and perception of nature and Africa itself. It was there that Althea learnt about life that was simple, pure and natural. She lived in a mud hut within a traditional African village for a month and experienced life as a local Malawian, learning about living with nature and their way of life and how they used their natural environment to survive and to look after their skin.
Althea enjoyed the natural environment and one of her African experiences was when see was sitting by the lake one day just thinking how breathtaking it was and how lucky she was to be there, when all the women from the village arrived at the lake and suddenly began to take off all their clothes. They then proceeded to rub sand all over their bodies. Unsure at first what was happening, Althea soon realised that they were using sand to exfoliate and condition their bodies. These experiences were the inspiration for Thea, natural and organic skincare.
It was the trip to Africa that really made Althea’s dream about creating her own natural skin care become a reality. On her return to the UK, she began to embark on her passion full-time and her long term dream to launch her own natural and organic skin care range Thea Skincare. www.theaskincare.com