Under the microscope

Anti-oxidants in skin care


If you’ve ever watched an apple or avocado brown—or noticed the greenish patina on a copper statue—then you’re likely familiar with oxidation. The same process is a normal part of our body’s metabolic functioning. Anti-oxidant ingredients are regularly extolled by skin care experts and nutritionists alike for their ability to balance the effects of oxidation.

‘Under the Microscope’ is a series exploring some of the ingredients that make recurring appearances on the labels of our brown bottles, and what makes them so useful in the lab.

Understanding anti-oxidants

Anti-oxidants are molecules that are naturally produced by the body—though they’re also available in many nutritional sources. They can help to fortify the skin against environmental aggressors, such as airborne particulates; and lifestyle factors, such as stress and diet, that can contribute to free radicals being produced in excess.

Free radicals and oxidative stress

The term ‘free radicals’ may call to mind resistance fighters, but in biology, the phrase refers to unstable atoms that are a by-product of oxidation, a naturally occurring—and necessary—part of the body’s metabolic process. Our bodies constantly produce free radicals, and it’s important to note that they’re not inherently villainous: on the contrary, they serve essential functions, such as regulating cell growth and death, and fighting infections.

Ideally, the human body seeks to maintain an equilibrium between free radicals and anti-oxidants; however, various internal and environmental factors can tip the balance in favour of free radicals, resulting in oxidative stress—which can have a deleterious effect on cells. Broadly speaking, free radical damage has been linked to a number of ill effects. In the context of skin, oxidative stress has potential to compromise the lipid 'mortar' of the stratum corneum, adversely affecting the barrier properties of the skin. This can lead to skin dehydration—as water loss increases—as well as a greater propensity for reactivity, sensitivity and aggravation.

Anti-oxidants in skin care

As mentioned above, anti-oxidants are readily available via nutritional means. Regular intake of beans, raspberries and cavolo nero, among other foods, can help to boost anti-oxidant levels in the body.

Many Aesop formulations employ skin-fortifying anti-oxidants, with each ingredient carefully selected for the benefits it offers to the skin. Vitamin C, for example, is a potent anti-oxidant known for its brightening properties and role in supporting skin suppleness and resilience; while Vitamin E—also a superb anti-oxidant—is renowned for the nourishing and skin-softening benefits it confers. Many essential oils and botanical extracts are also renowned for their anti-oxidant properties, including Parsley Seed, Blue Chamomile and Green Tea, ingredients frequently used in Parsley Seed Skin Care formulations.

Dark chocolate, blueberries, artichokes and pecans are all rich dietary sources of anti-oxidants.

Recommended regimens for city-dwellers

The Parsley Seed Skin Care range is the result of extensive research into the most effective way to meaningfully deliver anti-oxidants to the skin. The range is particularly beneficial for those living in urban areas, but holds broad appeal, containing formulations to suit a variety of skin types and concerns, climates, and textural preferences.

For dull, stressed skin

Cancelled trains, long workdays, rush-hour commutes: skin exposed to the day-to-day stressors of city living can often take on a patchy or dull appearance. Enter careful cleansing and layering of appropriate anti-oxidant-rich formulations to fortify the skin and boost hydration.

Morning and evening, massage Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser into damp skin, and allow its Lactic Acid to effect a gentle chemical exfoliation. Rinse thoroughly and follow by Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner to balance skin and impart an initial layer of fortifying anti-oxidants. Finish with hydrating Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum, whose film-forming ingredients create a breathable barrier to guard against airborne particulates.

Once or twice weekly, apply clay-based Parsley Seed Cleansing Masque to refresh the skin and draw out impurities in the time it takes to enjoy an episode of your favourite show or podcast.

For dry skin and cool climates

In climate-controlled interiors, skin is particularly vulnerable to moisture loss. For those experiencing dryness or dehydration, we recommend an approach that seeks to maintain or impart hydration at every step while fortifying the skin against the effects of environmental stress.

Exceptionally mild Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil forms a comforting emulsion on contact with water, gently removing make-up and grime without stripping skin. After cleansing, apply Aloe-based Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner to balance skin and prepare it for hydration. For those who prefer a cream-based moisturiser, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Hydrating Cream is an excellent choice, formulated with emollient botanicals and skin-supportive Tocopherol. Where a lighter texture is preferred, we suggest Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Hydrator for rapidly absorbed replenishment. Either moisturiser may be blended with Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment for a nourishing anti-oxidant boost, as desired.

Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream contains generous doses of Vitamins C and E to help support the delicate skin around the eyes. 

This topical approach is best complemented by a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and plentiful daily water intake to boost hydration from the inside out.

For oily skin and warm climates

Many with normal-to-oily skin prefer a lightweight formulation. So, too, those in hot or humid environments—just as heavier fabrics feel burdensome in oppressive weather, products with a heavier texture can feel excessive. It’s important to ensure the skin remains hydrated, however, as it loses moisture through perspiration and in air-conditioned settings.

We recommend a straightforward regimen that delivers both hydration and skin-supportive ingredients. Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser’s Lactic Acid effects a gentle chemical exfoliation, leaving the skin smooth and refreshed. Follow with balancing Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Toner and Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Intense Serum, a lightweight yet fortifying preparation that forms a breathable, non-occlusive film to help guard against airborne particulates. Though not part of the Parsley Seed Skin Care range, B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel also delivers potent doses of anti-oxidant ingredients, and is ideal for ‘normal’, combination and oily skin types.

Tailored advice

If you’re in search of personalised advice online, we invite you to reserve a one-on-one appointment with one of our trained consultants at a time convenient to you. Kindly reserve your place with our Live Consultation service to receive tailored suggestions from the comfort of your couch.

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