Antioxidants combat harmful free radicals to reduce fine lines and preserve youthful skin. Here are 10 of the best antioxidants for skincare and their benefits.
We’re always on the hunt for the best ingredients to add to our skincare regimen. 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 are worth trying?
Antioxidants are known to provide significant benefits for the skin, but what exactly are antioxidants? How do they work? Which antioxidants are the most effective? We’re here to give you the facts to help you make informed decisions when it comes to your skin. Here’s everything you need to know about antioxidants for skin care.
What are antioxidants?
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 damage the cells, leading to diseases, illnesses, cancers, 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.) When a molecule splits and it’s left with an unpaired electron, the molecule becomes unstable. An unstable molecule will try to balance itself by searching for an extra electron and stealing it from another molecule (in the atoms of your skin). This creates a domino effect of electron stealing, which damages the cells.
Antioxidants provide the missing electrons for unstable molecules, preventing the need for these molecules to steal an electron from another molecule. This process stops the domino effect of electron-stealing, which heals the cells and prevents damage as a result of free radicals.
Our bodies naturally produce powerful antioxidants like glutathione. We also absorb antioxidants through a lot of the healthy foods we eat, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Antioxidants are found naturally in our bodies and in some of our foods, but they’re also synthetically replicated as skincare products to benefit the skin. They are also replicated as supplements in some foods and drinks.
What are the benefits of antioxidants for skincare?
There are many known benefits of antioxidants for the skin. The transformative benefits include moisturization and brightening of the skin, reduction of fine lines and wrinkles, and alleviation of inflammation and rosacea.
Oxidative stress (cellular damage caused by free radicals) is a major cause of skin aging. Our skin incurs oxidative stress through environmental factors, like pollution and UV rays from the sun, and through unhealthy habits, like cigarette smoke and the consumption of processed foods.
By stabilizing free radicals, antioxidants shield the skin from oxidative stress, allowing the skin cells to heal and regenerate at a much quicker rate. Free radicals are infamous for destroying the natural collagen and elasticity in our skin, which is where rapid aging comes into the picture.
Antioxidants have an anti-aging effect.
With years of sun and pollutant exposure, our skin starts to show the effects of oxidative stress. Antioxidants work to combat this damage by balancing the unstable molecules that reduce our natural collagen and elasticity, and damage our skin tissue. This stabilization process helps to diminish fine lines and wrinkles and restore the skin’s natural youthfulness.
Antioxidants brighten the skin and reduce hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation, caused by hormonal changes, sun damage, acne, and irregular melanin production, can be regulated 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.
Antioxidants combat acne.
Not only do those pesky free radicals cause the skin to age rapidly, but one study by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology determined that free radicals are also to blame for acne. These unstable molecules cause inflammation on the skin, which creates clogged pores. The skin reacts to clogged pores with red, swollen blemishes, or pimples. Because antioxidants diminish the effects of free radicals that lead to acne, antioxidants are an effective anti-acne solution.
The benefits of antioxidants extend further than youthful, glowing, acne-free, firm skin. Antioxidants also:
- Improve brain function
- Help to prevent cancers from developing
- Aid hair growth
- Improve eye health
- Improve dental health
- Improve vision
- Improve quality of sleep
- Support liver function
- Support a healthy digestive system
And the list goes on. Antioxidants are loaded with powerful benefits that can drastically improve your quality of life.
Are you impressed by antioxidants yet? To delve further into their extensive benefits, we’ve rounded up the 10 best antioxidants for your skin.
10 Best antioxidants for your skin
1. VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is the first powerhouse antioxidant on our list. Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is jam-packed with skincare benefits. This antioxidant stimulates collagen production, reducing fine lines and wrinkles on the skin for a firm complexion. Vitamin A also increases cellular turnover, meaning it supports the skin in shedding old, dead skin cells and generating new, revitalized skin cells.
Adding an antioxidants face serum like the 1.5 retinol booster to your skincare routine can provide a potent, renewing treatment to reduce the appearance of fine lines and imperfections for a firm, rejuvenated appearance.
2. VITAMIN C
Vitamin C should be in your skincare cabinet for a number of reasons. Well-known for its brightening effects, vitamin C helps to even the skin tone by reducing and lightening hyperpigmentation.
This antioxidant is vital for optimal skin health and overall body health. In fact, a deficiency in vitamin C can lead to scurvy and skin lesions. 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.
Topical vitamin C serums can lessen the appearance of enlarged pores, balance the skin’s pigment, and reduce wrinkles to preserve youthful skin.
3. VITAMIN E
For people who struggle with acne, psoriasis, or dry skin, vitamin E is an excellent skincare ingredient to include in your daily regimen. With the ability to treat sun damage, reduce inflammation, moisturize the skin and prevent sunburn, this antioxidant is a common component in many moisturizers and serums—and for good reason.
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 niacinamide alongside a hydrating hyaluronic acid serum will help your skin to retain moisture and treat wrinkles with 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.
7. GREEN TEA POLYPHENOLS
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 offers an anti-inflammatory effect for the skin.
Green tea 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.
8. COENZYME Q10
Coenzyme Q10, a substance found naturally within our bodies, is purposed to create energy for our 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 exist in fruits and plants and are responsible for the colorful pigments of these foods. This antioxidant can protect the skin from the sun’s UVB rays in a similar fashion to sunscreen. It also mitigates the damage done to the skin by harmful environmental factors (as all antioxidants do, of course.)
Flavonoid antioxidants reduce the rate and amount of natural collagen deterioration in our skin, promoting healthy, firm skin, rich in collagen and elastin.
To boost your skin quality, integrate some of these antioxidants into your skincare routine. Antioxidants come in different shapes, sizes, and flavors. 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 ways to improve our skin while also keeping up with our hectic, fast-paced lives.
Antioxidants can be tasty, and the benefits of antioxidants for the skin are worth your consideration. 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 antioxidant face serum) each day, along with antioxidant-rich diet and skincare routine to protect your skin from damage caused by city pollutants and intense UV rays. Give your skin the regular TLC it needs to breathe new life into your appearance and slow down the effects of natural aging.