Antioxidants are a skincare routine must-have, but how do these little powerhouses benefit the skin, and what do they really do? Touted as the secret sauce to prevent skin aging and slowing down the rate of cellular damage, antioxidants can be sourced in everything from food to supplements and even skincare products. From vitamins to teas and everything in between, we’re sharing how antioxidants in skincare work, how to use them, and the benefits that will have you hooked for the long term.
Table of Contents:
- What Are Antioxidants? The Science
- Do Antioxidants in Skin Care Really Work?
- What Type of Antioxidant Skin Care Products Are There?
- When Should I Use Antioxidants in my Skin Care Routine?
- Are Antioxidants in Skin Care as Important as my Other Skin Care Favorites?
- Why Pick an Antioxidant Over Different Skin Care Ingredients?
- The Bottom Line
What Are Antioxidants? The Science
If you’re wondering if antioxidants are important in skincare, the short answer is yes. Antioxidants are a skincare ingredient staple and for a good reason. Not only are antioxidants your best defense against free radical damage, which occurs from the sun and environs, and pollution, but they also help prevent DNA damage, limiting the risk of skin cancer.
Antioxidants, which can be naturally derived or synthetic, prevent the byproducts and stress that free radicals and environmental aggressors leave behind on the skin. When the skin is compromised and flooded with damaging free radicals, the skin cells become mutated, and skin aging and damage sets in. Some more popular and potent antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, green tea, carotenoids, selenium, berries, and glutathione.
Do Antioxidants in Skin Care Really Work?
Antioxidants are a staple of a well-rounded skincare routine and often come as serums, moisturizers, lotions, oils, and even sunscreens. Most dermatologists recommend using antioxidants in skincare products, especially ones used in the morning, to help ward off free radical damage. Without antioxidants, the skin lacks protection against environmental aggressors, which is why they’re essential to include in your skincare routine. They also help limit stress to maintain the integrity of the skin and its structure.
Getting a daily dose of antioxidants through your diet, food, and supplements is helpful. To maximize their protective capabilities, antioxidants must be used topically and applied to the skin. Since antioxidants protect cellular DNA long-term, they also work in the short term to help neutralize the oxygen species that cause DNA damage. Regular skin protection with antioxidants also helps improve hydration levels. It protects collagen and elastin while reducing the appearance of pigment, fine lines, and wrinkles and decreasing the amount of inflammation within the skin.
What Type of Antioxidant Skin Care Products Are There?
Antioxidants can be found in just about every type of skincare product and formulation including creams, which tend to be heavier on the skin, serums which absorb quickly, sunscreen, and even face washes. Skin type and personal preference are usually the deciding factor when choosing the appropriate type of antioxidant skin care product.
When Should I Use Antioxidants in my Skin Care Routine?
To reap the benefits of antioxidant skin care products, it’s best to use them daily. Some antioxidants work best when applied to the skin during the daytime, while others go to work at nighttime. For example, resveratrol and retinol are better suited for nighttime use because they can increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV light. At the same time, vitamin C works best when paired with sunscreen during the day. At night, the body works hard to undo damage incurred during the day. Applying antioxidants to the skin at night may absorb into the skin better and increase functionality. Every antioxidant product will state on its packaging the instructions and whether it is designed for day or nighttime (or both) use.
Naturally, the more sun and environmental protection your skin receives, like during the summer, the more critical it is to use antioxidants. That doesn’t mean they’re off limits the rest of the year because they should be a mainstay in your routine year-round.
Are Antioxidants in Skin Care as Important as my Other Skin Care Favorites?
Antioxidants are equally as important as other skincare ingredients, but it’s essential to understand what they can and can’t do. Pairing antioxidant with proven active skincare ingredients is an effective combination. Still, when the wrong ingredients are combined or too many, the skin can result in irritation and inflammation. Popular antioxidant and active ingredient pairings include vitamin E and ferulic acid, vitamin A with niacinamide and resveratrol, and vitamin C with E. Most antioxidants also work well with sunscreen for an added layer of protection.
Why Pick an Antioxidant Over Different Skin Care Ingredients?
There are plenty of reasons why antioxidant serums, creams, mists and oils work across the board for skincare newbies and veterans alike. No matter your skincare routine or experience with fancy serums and active ingredients, the benefits of an antioxidant serum reduce the appearance of skin damage, lines, wrinkles, pigment, and elasticity.
This silky-soft antioxidant serum infuses SPF 45 with an advanced shield technology to protect the skin against free radicals. Defending the skin against free radicals and sun damage that can cause premature skin aging makes it more likely to stay healthy and firm.
Oil-based antioxidants are good for sensitive skin because they don’t leave behind a greasy residue. This brightening serum absorbs instantly into the skin and imparts a blend of nourishing oils to restore moisture and elasticity while defending against environmental stressors.
For a dose of moisture that can fight free radical damage and soften fine lines, reach for this hydrating mist. It’s infused with pea extract, rose, and clove to create a free radical damage shield on the skin, leaving it well-protected and fresh throughout the day.
A cult-classic antioxidant serum, this one melds the power of ferulic acid with vitamin C to help brighten the skin. It never clogs the pores or leaves skin feeling oily but instead serves a dose of skin tone corrective powers.
The Bottom Line
Antioxidant skin care is an essential component of a well-rounded skincare routine, regardless of your current skin condition or skin type. An antioxidant serum or cream daily is vital to protect the skin as best as possible. Without a best-selling antioxidant, like those from SkinMedica, SkinCeuticals, and Dermalogica, the skin is far too susceptible to damage that is hard to fix.