Antioxidants aren’t all cast in the same mould. While they’re all designed to protect the cells from UV light, pollution and other environmental elements that produce damaging free radicals, some are found to be more potent than others. Let’s talk about the most popular antioxidants found in your skincare products and what they do
TYPES OF ANTIOXIDANTS
RETINOL (VITAMIN A)
The number one anti-ageing ingredient which has been proven to turn back the hands of time is retinol. Retinol is a vitamin A derivative which penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production. It also accelerates cell renewal and repair, smoothes wrinkles and improves skin tone.
Retinol improves skin’s resilience, which means it makes it feel firm and look more youthful. If you want to minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and uneven skin tone retinol is the key ingredient to use. In addition, it unclogs congested pores and reduces redness.
Retinol comes in different formulations as retinol, tretinoin acid, and retinaldehyde.
Best for Anti-Aging
Retinol smooths fine lines, fills in wrinkles, softens bumps and rough patches, brightens skin, fades scars and dark marks, and drastically reduces acne (even hormonal cystic acne). It also comes with some side effects, which includes “purging” in the form of breakouts, dryness, and flakes.
It should be applied once night a week for one week, twice a week for two weeks, three times a week for three weeks and daily if your skin is able to tolerate it.
What it does:
- Paula’s Choice Clinical 1% Retinol Treatment
- The Inkey List Retinol serum
- The Ordinary Retinol 0.2% in Squalane
- The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 5% in Squalane
One of the best known and studied antioxidants is Vitamin C in addition to being a free radical scavenger, vitamin C has other skin benefits which include boosting collagen production and fading dark spots. However, since vitamin C is inherently unstable it loses its potency when exposed to light or air so is best stored it in a cool dark place.
Vitamin C is often listed as ascorbic acid on product labels and is a strong antioxidant which removes harmful free radicals from the skin. All of these functions help prevent ageing skin, including lightening brown spots, stimulating collagen, and protecting against UV damage.
Best for Brightening
Vitamin C is pretty much the ultimate antioxidant for perking up dull, blah, tired-looking skin. It will lighten hyperpigmentation and dark spots and brighten your overall complexion.
What it does:
Topical vitamin C improves the skin’s resiliency giving it a firmer and smoother appearance as well as improving an uneven skin tone and brightening dull skin. Like most antioxidants, vitamin C also can calm and help hydrate skin so it’s better able to withstand the rigours of daily life and the environment’s impact on how the skin looks and feels.
- Paulas Choice C25 super booster
- Sunday Riley C.E.O. Glow Vitamin C + Turmeric Face Oil
- Mario Badescu Vitamin C Serum
- Drunk Elephant C-Firma Day Serum,
- The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres
VITAMIN E (TOCOPHEROL)
Vitamin E is an important vitamin required for the proper function of many organs in the body, including the skin and is widely recognized for its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing process. Vitamin E has been demonstrated to reduce UV-induced photodamage and decrease the risk of skin cancers, due to its ability to absorb UV light. However is best used in conjunction with vitamin C which helps to stabilize and regenerate vitamin E, making them a great duo to fight against UV damage.
Best for Moisturizing
Vitamin E does a little of everything and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent and a strong shield against free radicals which help keep skin soft and supple, which is key for preventing scar formation.
What it does:
Vitamin E helps defend the skin from the stress caused by UV light exposure.
- Malin + Goetz Vitamin E Face Moisturizer, $50
- One Love Organics Vitamin E Eye Balm, $49
- The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil, $21
- Derma E Vitamin E 12,000 IU Cream, $12
- Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum,
- SkinMedica Vitamin C + E Complex, $102,
- Sunday Riley C.E.O. C+E Antioxidant Moisturizer, $65.
- SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic
Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a powerful antioxidant that improves the skin’s texture and tone. However with age skin loses its ability to heal and retain moisture and weakens making you prone to wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation and dullness. The skin requires a well-functioning epidermis to protect the skin from free radicals; Niacinamide is able to stabilize the epidermal lipid barrier. Allowing it fully absorbs the vitamins and nutrients from our skincare products. It can also be used to treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne without any adverse reactions and can be combined with vitamins A and C, retinol and hydroxy acids to boost their performance.
Best for acne and breakouts
Niacinamide is calming to the skin prevents congestion and reduces breakouts in acne-prone skin
What it does
Niacinamide improves the skin’s texture and tone by improving your skin’s ability to heal and retain moisture
- The Ordinary Niacinamide +Zinc
- CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM ,
- Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster
Resveratrol is an antimicrobial substance found mostly in the skins of fruits and acts as the plant’s defensive armour to protect themselves from air pollution, infection, intense UV radiation and extreme climate changes. Resveratrol possesses antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties and studies suggest that topical application protects against UVB-induced photodamage, pigmentation, and collagen degradation.
Best for calming and redness
Resveratrol has significant skin-calming properties that reduce redness.
What it does:
Resveratrol helps protect the skin’s surface and against negative environmental influences with significant skin-calming properties.
- Dr. Dennis Gross Clinical Concentrate Radiance Booster
- The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic acid 3%.
- SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E
COENZYMEQ10- This is absorbed by the skin to stimulate collagen production, which helps improve elasticity and texture.
POLYPHENOLS- Prevents UV-induced skin photodamage and improves the skin’s natural defence against oxidative stress which prevent skin ageing.
FLAVONOIDS absorb UV light and s also help reduce collagen degradation, delay skin ageing and inhibit skin cancer.
Antioxidants Perform Better Together
When it comes to your skin and antioxidants, remember the old adage: “There’s strength in numbers.” When the top-notch antioxidants detailed above are combined to work together, and reinforced with daily use of sunscreen with antioxidants and other skin-beneficial ingredients, the visible results can be remarkable!
One thing to keep in mind is that antioxidants break down when exposed to light and air, so it’s important to make sure the products you buy are packaged in opaque and airtight or air-restrictive containers. That means no jar packaging, otherwise these vital, but unstable, ingredients will begin to lose their effectiveness once you open the container.
Which of these do you use consistently? mine are Vitamin A,C and NiacinamideFollow me on social media