Updated: Dec 10, 2020
When it comes to antioxidants in skincare, there are more than a few star players: There's Vitamin C for evening out skin tone and promoting collagen production, Vitamin E which is known for strengthening the skin barrier, Vitamin A aka: retinol - famous cell reorganizing and skin repair factors and there are a host of plant derived antioxidants that calm, soothe and protect skin from environmental damage. Here's one you probably never heard of but will want to keep on your radar: Sulforaphane. This antioxidant is quickly becoming a powerful force in skincare.
Life is full of pollutants just waiting to create havoc with the free radical damage they cause in your skin. Your kidneys and liver are the major systems of detoxification for the body so to detox your skin you must start by making the right choices as to what you put in your body to encourage detoxification. Picture a plate of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli sprouts: This family of vegetables, known as cruciferous vegetables, include sulfur containing compounds that break down into other compounds that contain sulforaphane. This rising star in skincare supports your body's natural detoxification systems. When eaten, sulforaphane from broccoli, garden cress sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables activate enzymes in your body that pick up pollutants and flush them out.
In the skin, garden sprout liposomes containing sulforaphane control the release of hormones in skin cells called keratinocytes that suppress melanogenesis. This is the process where the production of pigmentation can lead to liver spots, age spots and uneven pigmentation. It is hypothesized that a lot of those age spots come from inflammation caused by toxins in your diet that build up in your skin, not just from the sun. Sulforaphane helps clean up those aggressors. It is also rich in polyphenols - another type of antioxidant that quells inflammation. Incorporating high amounts of polyphenols in your diet may help to promote a reversal of age spots. Note: Sulforaphane also helps maintain collagen homeostasis by promoting the production of healthy new collagen of the proper type. New research touts sulforaphane as the next up-and-coming antioxidant for skincare detoxification, skin energizing and skin brightening.
Swiss garden cress sprouts in a liposomal preparation for your skin can be delivered right into skin cells, bringing in powerful antioxidant polyphenols and sulforaphane for brightening the skin. These inhibit pigmentation by targeting and neutralizing reactive oxygen species and stimulating a natural hormone that inhibits the melanin cascade that causes pigmentation. Garden cress is rich in phytonutrients and Vitamin C. Sulforaphane, with its capacity to neutralize reactive oxidants, is the predominant phytonutrient in garden cress. Sprouts are much richer in sulforaphane than the mature plant. Some studies suggests eating cruciferous vegetables will help fade age spots, especially eating sprouts. Sulforaphane is a natural brightening ingredient that has time-released activity due to this liposomal form.
As a loyal reader of this blog, you undoubtably will be familiar with how antioxidants work. Antioxidants stabilize free radicals by donating an electron to render them harmless. Sulforaphane works a little differently though. Sulforaphane activates a protein, which in turn stimulates antioxidant genes in your body (epigenetics). This means sulforaphane doesn't actually give up electrons, it activates the body's natural detoxification through antioxidant enzymes. Essentially, sulforaphane can support your skin in the same way it does your body's detoxification processes by flushing out harmful toxins.
In skincare, sulforaphane has also been shown to reverse photoaging by protecting against UV-induced skin damage. According to one study on sulforaphane, using sprouts for three days in a row prior to UV exposure helped manage UV skin damage. Sulforaphane also provides healthy aging benefits; according to that same study, sulforaphane helped by managing inflammation, spurring the healing process against inflammatory skin conditions like acne and chronic inflammation that leads to a breakdown of the barrier layer and exacerbates skin aging.
How to increase levels of sulforaphane.
Simply put, make cruciferous vegetables part of your daily diet. Broccoli sprouts are not the same as eating broccoli. All cruciferous veggies contain sulforaphane but broccoli sprouts have an outrageous amount — about 10 to 100 times more than most cruciferous vegetables. I add it to my daily salad which also includes baby kale, tomatoes, red onions, carrots, raw broccoli, red cabbage, a hard boiled egg, half an avocado, some blueberries, a few sunflower seeds and some crushed macadamia nuts. Sounds like a lot but this first meal of the day starts after a sixteen hour intermittent fast. By the way, for dressing I only use first pressed virgin olive oil (domestic) and organic balsamic vinegar.
SPROUTS is a newly formulated detoxifying mask created by LONGEVITY by Elizabeth Renee. It features garden cress sprouts for sulpraphane’s detoxifying effects. Our lab sources the ingredient from 4–5 day old garden cress sprouts. In addition to inhibiting melanin formation, the ingredient brightens the skin, fades the appearance of discolorations, reduces the effects of daytime stressors to reduce inflammation caused pigmentation. As with all active ingredients, your skincare products work best using the optimal percentage in it's formula. Sulforaphane should be formulated at 2–5%. To further boost it’s detoxification effect we also include ocean derived sea algae (laminaria digitata) to help neutralize pollution particles and keep your skin looking fresh.
Skin that needs detoxification may show signs of increased sensitivity, redness, and blemishes. Other skin types may start to see the appearance of dull, devitalized skin that needs a jumpstart to regain it's vital glow. Sometime there is a combination of both conditions on separate areas of the face. Pink and reactive on the cheeks while dull and pale on other areas. Skins that are most prone to pollution accumulation tend to be combination to oily. This is sebum can more easily oxidize when exposed to pollution or pore diet choices. A regular skincare routine that includes a skin detox masque can limit or even reverse these changes. Additionally, it can brighten your skin to reduce the signs of skin damage caused by toxins built up in your skin. Dedicate one or two nights a week to eliminate impurities, dead skin cells, pollutants, and toxins. You can revitalize and renew your skin back to an even, fresh, clean canvas.
Here is a simple detox treatment you can do at home:
Start with a freshly cleansed and toned skin.
For exceptional exfoliation try REVEAL the Cranberry Peel. After 5-10 minutes remove the peel and rinse well using your milky cleanser.
Apply Sprouts our new detox mask. Leave on until completely dry. Rinse completely with a slightly warm wash cloth.
Tone and apply Sunrise Solution under your night cream. Sunrise Solution is a polyphenol rich antioxidant serum that will boost detoxification.
Comment below if you have questions or feedback you'd like to share.
Elizabeth believes in "Longevity Skincare", the idea that beautiful skin can endure throughout one's lifetime when utilizing the best that science and nature has to offer. LONGEVITY is a science-based skincare line that appreciates skin of all ages. LONGEVITY by Elizabeth Renee provides hydration, nutrition and protection from environmental aging. Your skin will receive high performance ingredients to help energize and repair its cells, resulting in a healthy skin with an enduring, vital glow.