Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Skincare Tip: Add Antioxidants to Your Home Skincare Regime March 1, 2010

This post deals with the topical use of antioxidants in skincare products.  In addition, this post is meant only as an introduction to the whole idea of why you should incorporate skincare products with antioxidants in them into your daily skincare routine since the topic of antioxidants is a very large and complicated one.  There is always new research being published about the topical use of antioxidants and about antioxidants in general.  Sometimes it seems as if almost everyday a new, powerful antioxidant has been discovered.  This post will try to stay away from the hype so that hopefully you’ll understand the important facts about antioxidants in skincare products by the time you finish reading this.

Why You Want to Use Products with Antioxidants In Them

There are many, many antioxidants.  Examples include vitamins (such as C and E), botanical extracts that contain polyphenols (such as green tea, coffeeberry, pomegranate, and resveratrol from grapes), natural fatty acids like alpha-lipoic acid, natural antioxidants like coenzyme Q10, plants such as soy and wild yam, and synthetic antioxidants like idebenone. 

Antioxidants fight free radical damage caused by the sun and pollution, reduce inflammation, can repair DNA damage, restore the skin’s surface barrier, protect the skin from environmental stress, brighten the skin, help the skin build more collagen, and some new research indicates that some antioxidants might help protect the body from skin cancer.   Antioxidants can indirectly stop damage to collagen and DNA in skin cells thus stopping new wrinkles from forming.  It is important to note that antioxidants work slowly over time.  You will hardly see an over-night change to your skin when you use products with antioxidants in them, but rest assured you are doing your skin a lot of good by using products with antioxidants in them.   And not all antioxidants do all of the above mentioned tasks.  For example Vitamin C brightens, builds collagen, and fights free radical damage while green tea soothes, fights free radical damage and inflammation.  But all antioxidants do help fight free radicals in the skin and just for that reason you want to incorporate them into your skincare regime.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are unstable, oxygen molecules.  These molecules have lost an electron and are actively trying to steal electrons from other molecules.  Once they succeed in stealing electrons from another molecule they damage that cell.  And if the free radicals aren’t stopped the cycle just continues eventually leading to damaged DNA and premature aging in your skin.  Antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals so that they no longer steal electrons from other molecules.  Since the sun causes free radical it is a great idea to use an antioxidant serum in the morning (before you apply your sunscreen) and/or to use a sunscreen with antioxidants in it.  You can also look for moisturizers with antioxidants in them; just be sure that the antioxidants are among the first eight or so ingredients in the ingredient list.  Otherwise there is just a “dusting” of the ingredient in your product, and it won’t do much of anything for your skin.

As mentioned above there are many, many antioxidants and new ones are being discovered all the time.  There are some antioxidants which have a lot of reputable research to back up the claims made about them.  Vitamins C and E (you can find these two vitamins together in a lot of products), green tea, and alpha-lipoic acid are good antioxidants to look for in products.


Products to Consider Trying:


Antioxidant Serums/Lotions:


Sunscreens with Antioxidants:


Sources and Further Reading:


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