Published: May 15, 2022
The beauty industry can be overwhelming. With countless products on the market and an overwhelming amount of tips and tricks promising to help you achieve your smoothest, most youthful looking skin, how do you know which products to choose? Reading ingredient labels and identifying products containing key ingredients proven to improve skin can help, but which ingredients will work best for you?
Antioxidants combat harmful free radicals to reduce fine lines and preserve youthful skin. Topical treatments containing potent antioxidants can help improve your skin health. Skincare products with antioxidant properties are flooding the beauty industry—to find the best for you, let's start by explaining how antioxidants work before walking you through our top 10 antioxidants for skin care.
Antioxidants are molecules found in vitamins and minerals that combat free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to the cells.
To better understand the true power of antioxidants, we have to understand the nature of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause cell damage, leading to diseases, illnesses, some cancers (including skin cancer), inflammation, and rapid aging of the skin.
Free radicals are unstable due to their uneven ratio of electrons and protons (a stable molecule has an even amount of electrons and protons). An unstable molecule will try to balance itself by taking an electron from another molecule, which creates another free radical. This domino effect of electron stealing and free radical formation can damage the cells involved, including your skin on a cellular level.
Antioxidants keep skin cells healthy by providing the missing electron to unstable molecules, balancing them and preventing cell damage.
Our bodies produce natural antioxidants, but we also absorb antioxidants through a lot of the healthy foods we eat, including fresh fruits (particularly the skins of fruits), vegetables, and nuts. However, you can boost your body's supply of antioxidants by using skincare products formulated with synthetic antioxidants or consuming antioxidant supplements.
Antioxidant ingredients are commonly found in skin care products because they provide many skin benefits. For example, antioxidant products reduce inflamed skin, including from skin conditions like rosacea. Topical antioxidants can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while promoting firmer skin. Antioxidants have skin hydration properties and can create visibly brighter skin. Antioxidant skin care can also prevent premature aging, reduce the effects of photo damage, and promote healthy skin.
Antioxidants' anti-aging properties are due to their ability to reduce oxidative stress, the cellular damage caused by free radicals. Oxidative stress is a major cause of skin aging. Our skin incurs oxidative stress through environmental stressors, like pollution and UV rays, and through unhealthy habits, like cigarette smoke and the consumption of processed foods.
By stabilizing free radicals, antioxidants shield the skin from oxidative stress, promoting healthy skin cells and allowing for cell renewal. They also reduce the appearance of common signs of aging, since free radicals destroy the natural collagen and elasticity in our skin, which causes wrinkles and fine lines to appear.
Hyperpigmentation, which can appear as uneven skin tone, dark marks on the skin, or sunburn, can be caused by hormonal changes, sun damage, acne, and irregular melanin production. Many people experience some level of hyperpigmentation, but luckily, skin tone can be rebalanced with antioxidants.
Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase which is responsible for melanin production. By inhibiting tyrosinase, vitamin C stabilizes melanin production to even the skin tone, reducing dark spots and hyperpigmentation for a balanced and bright complexion.
According to the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, free radicals are not only the cause of premature aging, they may also be to blame for acne. The unstable molecules cause skin inflammation, which creates clogged pores. Over time, clogged pores become red, swollen blemishes, or pimples. Because antioxidants diminish the effects of free radicals that lead to acne breakouts, antioxidants are an effective anti-acne solution.
Antioxidant benefits extend further than youthful, glowing, acne-free, firmer skin. Antioxidants also:
There are many different types of antioxidants, each with unique benefits for your skin. Next time you're shopping for skincare products, keep an eye out for these antioxidant ingredients to support healthy cells and glowing skin.
Vitamin A is the first powerhouse antioxidant on our list. Vitamin A, which is also called retinol, is jam-packed with skincare benefits. This antioxidant stimulates collagen production, reducing fine lines and wrinkles on the skin to make skin firmer. Vitamin A also increases cellular turnover, helping the skin to shed old, dead skin cells and generating new, revitalized skin cells.
Adding an antioxidant natural retinol serum to your skincare routine can provide a rejuvenated complexion with reduced fine lines and imperfections.
Vitamin C should be in your skincare cabinet for a number of reasons. This antioxidant is vital for optimal skin health and overall body health. In fact, a sufficient intake of vitamin C can reduce inflammation, reduce skin damage caused by free radicals, hydrate the skin, and aid the body in healing wounds. Without adequate vitamin C levels, you can develop scurvy, skin lesions, or other health problems.
When it comes to skincare, vitamin C products create brighter skin, even the skin tone, and reduce and lighten hyperpigmentation. Additionally, topical vitamin C serums can lessen the appearance of enlarged pores, balance the skin's pigment, and reduce wrinkles to preserve youthful skin.
If you need more convincing to add vitamin C to your skincare regimen, here's a review of our vitamin C booster from Christine Lee, a board-certified esthetician and Comfort Zone Master Educator:
"Skin Regimen 15.0 Vitamin C Booster delivers antioxidant protection in two ways—first through the Maqui Berry, which is part of the Longevity Complex woven through much of the system. This Chilean berry is three times more potent than blueberries and is particularly rich in anthocyanins, which are a powerful ally against oxidative damage. The second way is through the 15% Vitamin C, which is kept in a stay-safe sachet to guarantee maximum strength, to help brighten skin while boosting collagen production."
An antioxidant you can consume through red wine? Count us in. Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in wine, grape skins, peanuts, cranberries, and blueberries, can reduce inflammation in the body and lessen the chances of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes from developing.
Resveratrol counteracts damage caused by harmful environmental factors that we encounter every day. This antioxidant brightens the skin and reduces the visible signs of aging.
Niacinamide, also known as nicotinamide, is a form of vitamin B that protects the skin from environmental damage, reduces fine lines, reduces the appearance of enlarged pores, and brightens the skin for a fresh appearance.
This antioxidant works well with skincare ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, and hyaluronic acid. Using an alcohol-free toner with niacinamide alongside a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum will help your skin to retain moisture and treat wrinkles while also producing a plumping effect.
Tocopherol, a form of vitamin E, is one of the top antioxidants to add to your daily regimen. Like other antioxidants, tocopherol protects the skin from free radical damage; it improves cellular activity by countering the effects of oxidation on the skin. This ingredient also lessens inflammation and hydrates the skin to preserve a firm and full appearance.
Green tea is one of the healthiest and tastiest types of teas you can add to your diet. Polyphenols (naturally occurring micronutrients in green tea) contain a powerful compound called catechin, which protects the cells from damage and provides an anti-inflammatory effect for the skin.
Green tea extract detoxifies the body from free radicals, protects the skin from sun damage, and even promotes weight loss, making it one of the best antioxidants for the skin and body.
Coenzyme Q10, a substance found naturally within our bodies, creates energy for cells. This substance is also replicated artificially as a supplement to increase its abundance in the body.
This antioxidant can be applied directly to the skin to protect the cells from free radical damage, stimulate cellular activity, and retain moisture for optimal hydration levels that yield plump, smooth skin.
Curcumin, a chemical compound found in turmeric, is another vigorous ingredient that prevents oxidative damage to the skin. This antioxidant is known to reduce inflammation, prevent cancers from developing, protect the body from heart disease, and prevent collagen from breaking down in the body. Curcumin also works as a microbial to kill acne-causing bacteria and treat skin diseases.
Flavonoids are antioxidant-packed phytonutrients that are responsible for the colorful pigments of fruits and plants. This antioxidant can protect the skin from the sun's UVB rays similarly to sunscreen. Flavonoids also mitigate the damage done to the skin by harmful environmental factors and reduce the rate and amount of natural collagen deterioration in our skin, promoting healthy, firm skin rich in collagen and elastin.
Antioxidants come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors, so transitioning to an antioxidant-abundant lifestyle doesn't have to be a time-consuming process. After all, every one of us is searching for the quickest way to improve our skin while also keeping up with our hectic, fast-paced lives.
By protecting the skin from harmful free radicals and boosting collagen and elastin production, antioxidants can help you to achieve your healthiest glow.
Use an anti-pollution cleansing cream or an antioxidant face serum each day along with an antioxidant-rich diet and skincare routine can protect your skin from damage caused by city pollutants and intense UV rays. Give your skin the care it needs to breathe new life into your appearance and slow down the effects of natural aging.