The research regarding good nutrition is clear: the National Cancer Institute, the Harvard School of Public Health and the Mayo Clinic, all suggest that adding antioxidants through a well-rounded diet is a good idea. In addition to diet, however, antioxidants are also listed as an ingredient in several massage creams.
Can clients and LMTs reap benefits from the topical application of antioxidants?
What are antioxidants?
According to Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine, “Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements.” Examples include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
Antioxidants can also be used to prevent or repair damage to the skin, according to WebMD. Still, the suggested use is to ingest supplements rather than apply topical treatments.
An article published by the New York University Langone Medical Center discussed the topical application of antioxidants to combat photoaging, or damage to the skin caused by the sun. According to the report, antioxidants can help repair the skin, well as protect it.
Most of the antioxidant-related skin care research is focused on Retin-A, which is a form of vitamin A. While some massage creams may contain vitamin A, they are not formulated in the same way Retin-A skin products are. The main benefit, then, of using creams that contain antioxidants is absorption of some of the antioxidants through the skin.
The antioxidants in a massage cream cannot replace the need for a healthy, well-rounded diet that contains plenty of fruits and vegetables. However, it never hurts to use a product that delivers even a small amount of a healthy, natural substance.
Another benefit of antioxidants in massage creams is that they are actually preservatives. As the word implies, antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells. Oxygen allows for microbial growth, which is bad when it comes to the shelf life of your creams, lotions and oils.