1st and 2nd Generation Antioxidants

Defying the “immediate results” marketing trope, Annee de Mamiel practices holistic skincare with the long view in mind, formulating her potent products to address imbalances and alleviate stress on the skin and body, often chronic conditions that have built up over time from chemical, environmental and emotional stressors. One distinct point of difference in her formulae is the use of both 1st and 2nd generation antioxidants, which work synergistically to safeguard skin immediately, and over the longhaul. In an illuminating conversation with Annee, I discovered that antioxidants aren’t created equal and their complexity extends far beyond their ORAC value. So, what exactly determines an antioxidant’s pecking order, and how do 1st and 2nd generation antioxidants work together and separately to support our skin health?    

First, let’s define the antioxidant. According to Khalid Raman, in his study on free radicals, antioxidants and co-factors defines an antioxidant is any molecule that has the ability to stabilize or deactivate free radicals before they attack cells. Sounds good, but there is much more to it.  And while we aren’t going to give you a complete biochemistry lesson, it is interesting to understand how antioxidants work in the body and on the skin and how a complex formula, like this month’s de Mamiel Hero product, Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir achieves its results, over time with consistent use. 


1st Generation Antioxidants – The Defenders

A 1st generation antioxidant protects our cells from metabolic activation, which means that they prevent toxins and oxidants from reacting with our cells, binding to our DNA and becoming mutagenic or carcinogenic.  This is, no doubt an important function.  You can think of these antioxidants as the defenders who are constantly working to keep stress from changing the optimal functioning of our cells.  These antioxidants are often referred to as enzymatic antioxidants.  If we look at this month’s Hero product, Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir you will find first generation antioxidants  that guard against pollution – ferulic acid (derived from rice bran) and superoxide dismutase, produced from bio fermentation. 

2nd Generation Antioxidants – The Detoxifiers

2nd generation antioxidants trigger our antioxidant response helps our cells detoxify and rid our cells of environmental toxins, so they don’t build up and cause further damage to our cells. They function as scavengers and detoxifiers, identifying and expelling the molecules that may be harmful to our cells. In Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir, malachite (copper) extract and quercetin derived from sophora japonica flowers were chosen specifically as second-generation antioxidants.  Other common second-generation antioxidants are vitamin C, E, alpha lipoic acid, carotenoids and flavonoids. 


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