What are vitamins and antioxidants?

vitamins & anti-oxidants

What are vitamins and antioxidants? 

You have probably heard the term antioxidants in skincare, or beautiful stories about strong treatments with vitamins A or C for younger skin. What does this actually mean? And does it really work?

Vitamins A, C and E have a proven effect 

Vitamins are micronutrients and have an important function for all cells of our body. Also for your skin cells, the small factories that ensure proper cell metabolism, the formation of new tissue, supply building materials or play a role in blood clotting.  Specifically for the skin, there are a number of vitamins that have a scientifically proven positive effect. These are vitamins A, C and E.


Vitamin A, retinol and pro-vitamin A. What’s the difference?  

Vitamin A is also called retinol and comes from animal sources (dairy, egg yolk, fish, organ meats). Because Witlof is a vegan skincare brand, we use the vegetable variant, pro-vitamin A or also called beta-carotene. This vitamin is converted by your body into vitamin A.  (Pro-) vitamin A has a tissue renewal effect, ensures the production of new skin cells and the building materials collagen and elastin. So it’s very useful.  Pro-vitamin A is safe.  Only, with too much vitamin A you can build up toxic amounts in the body, because it is not water-soluble and you cannot pass an excess. Too high a vitamin A value can be harmful to your liver or cause abnormalities during pregnancy. The great thing about vegetable beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A is that the body stops converting it to vitamin A if there is an excess in the body. You do need much more beta-carotene than vitamin A for the same effect (but we prefer to eat extra carrots).


Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant

Vitamin C is a very strong antioxidant (we’ll go into that in a bit). It protects the skin against aging, is a building material for the production of collagen and also protects against hyperpigmentation, because vitamin C prevents the clumping of melanin cells in the skin.  We cannot make vitamin C ourselves and we have to get it from our diet. The lists of types of fruit and vegetables and the amounts of vitamin C they contain are very interesting. Rose hips, for example, contain 25 (!) times as much vitamin C as oranges. Rosehip seed oil is therefore packed with vitamin C – and beta-carotene – and therefore a super ingredient for your skin (and you can find it in our Regenerating Oil Serum).   There are several forms in which vitamin C is used in skin care; L-ascorbic acid is the most common, but you can identify them all by the word “ascorb” in one of the names.  Vitamin C.


Be careful with the concentration! 

However, it is important to be careful with high concentrations of vitamin C that are used directly on the skin. This can cause irritation, redness and allergic reactions. Too much on your skin is therefore not wise. In fact, the right form of vitamin C has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect on the skin. If you are bothered by a product with vitamin C, try a different variant of vitamin C on your skin. The same applies to vitamin A, too high a concentration on the skin can cause flaking and irritation or an allergic reaction. You also have to watch out for direct sunlight with both vitamins.


Vitamin E

Vitamin E (tocopherol and tocotrienol) is a strong antioxidant, just like vitamin C. It extends the life of a skin cell and has a tissue strengthening effect. It also ensures the absorption of oxygen and has a restorative effect on scar tissue. There are four types in the spectrum (alpha/beta/gamma/delta) and it is preferable to have all four and from an original, natural source, because the natural variant is much more effective. In that case there is a letter ‘d-‘ in front of the words ‘alpha, beta, gamma, delta-tocopherol’.   We have added the natural, full spectrum variant of tocopherol to the Witlof Skincare products and tocotrienol is, for example, found in grape seed oil that we use in our Cleansing Milk.


What are Antioxidants? 

Free radicals occur in the body, substances that ‘attack’ cells and initiate a process of oxidation (also called decay, or aging). These are, for example, UV rays, air pollution or poor nutrition, but stress can also cause free radicals in the skin. To ensure that these free radicals do not kill the cells, you can stop the oxidation process by protecting the cells. You protect it by neutralizing the free radicals with antioxidants. These substances are found in green tea, selenium, zinc or vitamin E.


The vitamins and antioxidants in Witlof Skincare 

All Witlof products contain vitamins and antioxidants. Because we always use the plant-based variant, you don’t have to worry about any harmful effects. At the same time, we have put so much in it that it does have an effect!  You will find vitamins A and C in our Facial Cream, Mousse, Milk and Oil Serum. And the Pure Argan Oil is packed with Vitamin E.   Do you have questions about dosage or which vitamin or antioxidants you can use best? Mail us at hello@witlofskincare.com.


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