Antioxidants are agents that neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals — molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.
The atoms in your body try to maintain an even number of electrons to remain stable. If an atom has an uneven number of electrons, it will steal an electron from another atom to become stable.
When your skin takes a beating from outside factors, such as the sun’s ultraviolet rays, your body produces free radicals — atoms with an uneven number of electrons — and when they form inside your body, they steal electrons from healthy cells like the ones that make up your skin. This can cause a damaging chain reaction, and that’s where antioxidants like vitamin E come in.
Antioxidants neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damage from occurring. Vitamin E is one of the most powerful antioxidants, but your body can’t produce it, so have to make sure you’re getting enough of this valuable nutrient in your diet.
Eating foods high in vitamin E and taking vitamin E supplements can help prevent premature aging of your skin and damage to your DNA. Studies show that taking vitamin E long term can even reduce sunburns from exposure to UVB radiation, but it doesn’t mean that taking vitamins or applying topical vitamin E will allow you to abuse sun bathing. You simply can help your skin stay healthier and suppler by ensuring you get enough of this antioxidant vitamin.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin found in many nuts, fruits and vegetables. According to the U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance, an adult needs 15 milligrams of vitamin E every day, and vegetable oils — such as corn oil, olive oil, sunflower oil and wheat germ oil — are a good place to start.
Snacking on nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts, can also help you get your daily dose of vitamin E.
Aside from oils and nuts, certain fruits and vegetables can also provide you with vitamin E. One sweet potato can give you 40 percent of your daily allowance, and a mango or an avocado can give you at least 15 percent. Apples, asparagus, turnip greens, spinach and tomatoes can help you get there as well, but you’ll need more than one serving — they each account for less than 10 percent of your daily allowance.
The key to getting enough vitamin E is eating a balanced diet that includes a mixture of fruits, vegetables and nuts.