We've all heard that antioxidant-rich foods and supplements can benefit our health, skin, and hair. However, many people don't fully understand what antioxidants are and their importance to healthy hair growth. While they may know that antioxidant-rich foods and supplements can benefit health, many people need help understanding what antioxidants are and how they function.
What are Antioxidants and Free Radicals?
Antioxidant is a term used to describe any compound in the body that fights unstable molecules called free radicals. Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive molecules the body creates through normal processes and in response to environmental and lifestyle stresses.
Your body has a natural antioxidant defense system to protect against free radicals. However, the body doesn't produce some antioxidants; you must consume them through food, dietary supplements, or topical preparations.
Antioxidants are found in food, including fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods. Several vitamins and minerals act as antioxidants, including omega-3 and omega-6 fats, selenium, manganese, zinc, and vitamins C and E.
The body produces free radicals naturally. For instance, when the immune system fights intruders, your body releases free radicals that fight and destroy viruses, bacteria, and damaged cells. Some production of free radicals also occurs during exercise and induces some of the beneficial effects of physical activity.
Your body also produces free radicals in response to environmental and lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, and air pollution. While free radicals are a natural byproduct of normal cellular processes, they can cause damage at high levels.
Free radicals can damage DNA, cell membranes, and cellular structure and are linked to several illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Antioxidants have a chemical property that neutralizes free radicals, helping to break a chain reaction that can damage molecules in the cell and other cells in the body.
Antioxidants and Your Hair
Free radicals create an imbalance in the body, disrupting the signaling molecules that regulate your hair's natural growth cycle. In addition, free radicals can cause your hair follicles to become inflamed, which further impedes healthy hair growth. Antioxidants provide critical protection from the damage free radicals can cause and are vital to growing strong, healthy hair in several ways.
Antioxidants Improve Hair Growth
Antioxidants help improve hair growth by increasing blood circulation in your scalp. The boost in circulation increases the nutrient supply to your scalp, encouraging hair growth by ensuring your hair follicles receive the nutrients they need to remain healthy and viable. Research conducted in 2021 by the Society of Cosmetic Scientists determined that antioxidants helped with hair growth and retention. In addition, their study found that adding antioxidants to shampoo and conditioner reduced shedding and increased fullness in people with thinning hair.
Antioxidants Protect Your Hair Follicles From Damage
Antioxidants are protective ingredients that neutralize free radicals that develop due to the body's metabolism and exposure to environmental and lifestyle factors. Free radicals can damage cellular structures such as DNA, lipids, and proteins.
Antioxidants Help Reduce Frizz
Free radicals damage the cellular structure of your hair. This damage can lead to dry, brittle hair that is easily damaged and frizzy. Antioxidants can help prevent this damage and the resulting frizz.
Antioxidants Help Prevent Premature Graying
Melanin in the cortex of the hair strand helps improve color retention and the integrity of your hair. Antioxidants help prevent the breakdown of melanin, which means strong and healthy hair with less graying.
The Importance of Antioxidants for Healthy Hair Growth
Your body and hair follicles need many different nutrients for healthy hair growth. Antioxidants play a vital role in creating the ideal environment for hair growth by reducing free radicals and the damage they can do.
Growing healthy hair is dependent on a wide range of factors. At Mane Image, we are experts at helping clients retain their thick, full heads of natural hair. Contact us today to schedule your FREE initial consultation and learn more about the importance of antioxidants for healthy hair growth.