Pro-oxidants are like the anti-matter of anti-oxidants. Pro-oxidants are the formation of free radicals that suppress anti-oxidants and lead to acne marks.
How Pro-Oxidants Work
According to BotanicalCuisine.com, “Pro-oxidants have an electron-imbalance – they possess an unpaired electron, which is chemically very unstable. As a result, pro-oxidants aggressively seek out an electron from another molecule around them (an unwitting “donor”). If not quenched immediately upon production, they will proceed to “steal” an electron from bodily cells, which harms these cells and literally makes the body “rot or rust.”
This means, if your body has an excess of pro-oxidants it can create an unstable cellular environment and will eventually begin to break down in the presence of oxidative stress.
Why It Matters
Benzoyl Peroxide is one of the best acne fighters on the market. But did you know it is also a pro-oxidant? Benzoyl Peroxide reduces epidermal vitamin E levels by 95% and vitamin C levels by 70%! Using an anti-oxidant prior to applying Benzoyl Peroxide to the skin can help minimize the negatives effects of the pro-oxidant. However, using an anti-oxidant and a pro-oxidant at the same time can have damaging effects, so make sure to apply one in the morning and one at night as per your skincare routine.
Also, pro-oxidants are known to accelerate aging. Long term use is not recommended if you want to keep your skin wrinkle-free.
They Are Not All Bad
- Pro-oxidants produce reactive oxygen, which, although highly toxic, is necessary to our body. Without this oxidation small cases of the flu would kill us.
- Pro-oxidants generate inflammatory responses in our bodies that are essential in protecting our overall health.
- Pro-oxidants may damage our healthy cells, but they also damage cancer cells.
How To Protect Yourself
With all of the harmful chemicals, free radicals, and environmentally damaging substances we are exposed to on a daily basis, we can’t expect our body to fight them all alone. Our bodies need remarkable external assistance to stay healthy, such as anti-oxidants and raw foods. Some other helpful tips are:
- Many fruits (especially exotic ones) and veggies are ascribed with the ability of providing necessary anti-oxidants to shield us from oxidative stress
- Anti-oxidants combat the effects of pro-oxidants. However, not all vitamins are the same. In order to maintain optimum health you need a variety of Vitamin A, B, C, D, and E
- Oral vitamins A and E calm lipid peroxidation in acne (causing scarring)
- Studies have shown that green tea and EGCG can inhibit tumorigenesis during the initiation, promotion, and progression stages
- Anti-oxidants like Selenium, EGCG, and IV vitamin C have a negative effect when used in excess and begin to act like pro-oxidants instead
Vitamin C (Deserves it’s own subsection)
As mentioned, vitamin C, when used in excess, has a pro-oxidant alter ego. However, this variation can benefit arteries by increasing the production of Reactive Oxygen Species.
Vitamin C is great for your skin. However, when applied topically it can undergo oxidation and may result in the formation of free radicals. Vitamin C Ester and Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate are more resistant to oxidation and can easily penetrate the skin.
When Vitamin C and Ergothioneine (EGT) are combined they are a surefire way to ensure the most active anti-oxidants combat and reverse signs of aging.
Like all anti-oxidant supplementation, it is difficult to quantify the effect of long-term supplementation. Oral supplements may be used to boost effectiveness.
#1 Way To Win
Anti-oxidants treat acne, but they cannot do it alone. If you want to avoid the unstable option of pro-oxidants, be sure to consume and apply a variety of anti-oxidants and give yourself time to see effects. Also, when treating your acne, sticking to a regimen of glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and oil-free cleansers and lotions (ZENMED DermaCleanse Acne Gel and Oil-Free Day Lotion) will help you reach your goal of long-term, pimple-free skin that will be flawless for many years to come.