All The Benefits Of Antioxidants For Your Hair

Antioxidants are "man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage," according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. They are known to fight off free radicals in the body that can cause illness and disease. This is why antioxidants are recommended as part of your diet through different foods, such as berries, pecans, and tomatoes. Healthline says that other factors can cause excessive free radicals in your body, along with oxidative stress, making some people need antioxidants more than others. Some of these factors include toxins, high blood sugar, radiation, infection, and even your environment.

Antioxidants are not only crucial to the inside of your body but also to the outside. Your hair's overall health is largely based on antioxidants. Common antioxidants that have been linked to improving hair health are vitamins, phytochemicals, beta-carotene, selenium, and trace minerals. Without these antioxidants, your hair will tremendously suffer as it is attacked by free radicals. Both internal and external triggers, such as your environments and the food you ingest, can form radicals and create an imbalance "which disrupts the body's natural metabolic pathways and hair cycle," according to AK Clinics. This can lead to hair loss and damage. Luckily, by consuming or using products infused with antioxidants to help improve current hair state and prevent damage like this in the future. We have curated a list of the biggest benefits of antioxidants for your hair.

Encourages hair growth

Long and luscious hair will come faster when you add antioxidants into your daily routine. Oftentimes, constant hair loss, thin strands, and slow growth are caused by a lack of blood circulation and nutrients in the scalp. One of the biggest ways to fix this is by using hair products with antioxidants in them. In 2021, The Society of Cosmetic Scientists completed a study that proved people who struggle with hair thinning lost less hair and saw more fullness when they added antioxidants to their traditional hair routine (via National Library of Medicine).

Slow hair growth is also common because of free radicals that are not neutralized, causing a lack of blood flow and nutrients on the scalp. Blood flow and nutrients are key factors in long and healthy hair growth. Antioxidants are a great way to improve blood flow during the anagen phase of hair growth, making them grow longer. Hair follicles get their nourishment from the blood in the scalp, so consistent blood flow is essential to long and healthy hair.

Protects follicles

Antioxidants can be used to protect the hair follicle itself. Professor of dermatology Dr. Macrene Alexiades tells Well + Good that "Direct damage is not only done to the cuticle or the outer layer of hair but more importantly to the matrix cells themselves, which permanently reduces hair quality." So you may not only see damage to your current strands but also to future strands as well. 

Antioxidants will work to neutralize the free radicals that cause damage to the follicles, leaving you with healthy hair for years to come. These free radicals can be as simple as the sun hitting your scalp when you walk to work or even the pollution in the air. While there is no way to avoid these things, antioxidants provide you with a defense. When it comes to protecting your follicles from the inside out, you need to be sure to ingest antioxidants in your foods, as well as apply antioxidants to your hair.

Improves the overall look

Poor air quality, sun exposure, and even overall health can cause free radicals to form that damage cellular structures. Damaged cellular structures, no matter how they became that way, cause negative effects on the overall look of hair. To combat the damage, antioxidants can be added to your daily routine. According to Healthline, antioxidants such as vitamin E will neutralize these free radicals, which can help decrease the damage that has been done to your luscious strands and prevent future damage.

Damage caused by free radicals often leaves hair frizzy and dull due to the removal of the fat layer on the hair strands. This makes the hair both hard to manage and style. Hair treated with antioxidant-rich products becomes renewed as the antioxidants help rebuild this fat layer, as well as give a barrier to prevent future damage. This results in easier-to-manage, shinier, and sleeker hair.

Prevents early graying

As you age, the pigment cells in your hair follicles fade away, leaving your hair with no choice but to lose its color. Luckily, there are natural ways to help prevent graying from coming before you are ready. "Antioxidants prevent the breakdown of melanin in the cortex of the hair strand which helps improve color retention and the integrity of hair," BosleyMD-certified trichologist tells Byrdie

Melanin is what gives your hair its natural color, so keeping it is the goal when attempting to prevent early graying. Early on-set graying can be caused by free radicals attacking the hair with no antioxidants to neutralize them. Changing your diet to include more antioxidants, taking a multivitamin, or even using antioxidant-rich hair products are great ways to fight graying in daily life. As we know, antioxidants keep the hair follicles healthy, so it's only natural that it will help the follicle keep its pigment cells for the longest amount of time possible.

Reduces dandruff

Dandruff has become a hush-hush topic, as many people are embarrassed by the flakiness of their scalps. Not only can it be embarrassing, but it is often uncomfortable, as it is itchy. Contrary to popular belief, dandruff doesn't mean you are dirty but instead means that your skin cells are growing and dying off too fast, according to WebMD. No one knows what exactly causes the cells to do this, but there are ways to combat this with a healthier scalp. 

Luckily, antioxidants help a variety of skin conditions, including seborrheic dermatitis (AKA dandruff). Many common shampoos for dandruff relief include the antioxidant zinc. Zinc helps fight the free radicals causing your dandruff and, therefore, can improve your hair and scalp condition. Many people who struggle with chronic dandruff also incorporate antioxidant-rich foods into their diet to fight these free radicals long-term. Some of these foods include avocados, blueberries, and dark chocolate.