Human skin is the largest organ in the human body and often the first line of defense against the world around us. It protects our internal organs from the weather, trauma, dehydration, and microorganisms. The special cells in our skin use carotenoids to help maintain the integrity and pliability of this organ. When there has been a lot of damage to the skin from the solar radiation or smoking, scientists have found that the carotenoids in the skin have been depleted. Boosting the levels of carotenoids in the diet can help the skin fight oxidative damage.
Oxidation is a chemical process that occurs when an atom loses electrons in a reaction. When we think about oxidation as a biological process, we think of cells and tissues becoming damaged because of this electron imbalance. Antioxidants are compounds that have extra electrons that can be used by the body to keep that instability from causing damage within the body. We often do not directly see an immediate change from antioxidant use because they prevent disease in tissues and organs.