It seems to us that every time we turn a corner there’s a new skincare product that we MUST use, or a new treatment we MUST have. This is all well and good, but there comes a point where one simply doesn’t have enough energy, time, or even enough space on your face to fit all these things in! After cleansing, exfoliating, toning, moisturizing (using a serum, a lotion AND a cream), SPF, and then finally applying makeup and finishing it all off with some mist is there really room for another potion in your regimen?
Unfortunately, if you aren’t using an antioxidant the short answer is YES. There is. Don’t panic just yet, you may find that many of the products you are already using actually contain antioxidants, so perhaps you are safe after all? Here is a basic rundown of which antioxidants might serve your skin and why:
You may find that some of your products list Vitamin C (or ascorbic acid) in their ingredients, and this means you are already a winner! Vitamin C is not only a powerful collagen activator, but it also works against pigmentation, dullness, brown spots and wrinkles. Vitamin C strengthen’s the skin’s barrier response, enhances its repair process, is anti-inflammatory and helps skin withstand exposure to sunlight. This does NOT mean you can forgo your sunscreen for rubbing an orange on your face every morning, but rather that using a product that contains vitamin C in conjunction with your daily SPF will help your skin protect itself from the harmful effects of the sun better than using a sunscreen alone.
(Note that Vitamin C is light and air sensitive, and should be appropriately packaged and stored to have the most benefit for your skin)
Vitamin E (or tocopherol) is best used in conjunction with Vitamin C, and also has powerful antioxidant properties, protecting cell membranes from oxidative damage and from UV damage too. Vitamin E being a fat-soluble vitamin also replenishes the lipid layer on your skin, aiding in moisturization. Look out for products that contain Vitamins C and E together for an extra boost for your skin!
Vitamin A (or Retinol) is something we have already discussed so you SHOULD already be using this if you want your skin to look amazing for many years to come. Vitamin A reduces red marks, brown spots, scarring, pore size, fine lines and breakouts, which just about covers the list of things you would want to reduce in your skin. Retinol firms your skin and increases collagen production as well as speeding up cell turnover, meaning you will always have shiny new skin on the surface rather than dull old skin. Vitamin A can be found in both facial and body treatments, but care should be taken to use it only at night since it sensitizes your skin to the sun.
Resveratrol is found in red berries (like red grapes and cranberries), nuts and most delightfully red wine! Topical Resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory, sun protective, reduces cell damage by oxidation and increases collagen production. Please note that copious amounts of alcohol will do nothing for your plight against aging, so this is not an invitation or excuse to drink a bottle of wine every night in the name of beauty.
Ferulic acid (naturally found in the leaves of some plants) is another antioxidant that protects your skin against the oxidative damage done by UV. What’s more, Ferulic acid helps to stabilize both Vitamins C and E, making them almost double as potent when combines with Ferulic acid as they are alone.
Found in nature in red fruits and vegetables, Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant that improves skin texture, promotes collagen production and reduces the oxidative damage that causes wrinkling.
We could go on all day here, (theres still Green Tea, Coffee Berry, Grape Seed, Niacinamide and the list continues) but you get the idea don’t you? Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and prevent and reverse oxidative damage meaning you are better protected from the sun and that your collagen is boosted. Better sun protection means less chance of developing skin cancer, brown spots, pigmentation and wrinkles. More collagen means better skin tone, more resilient skin and fewer wrinkles. Less inflammation means you are less prone to redness and break outs. These are all things we surely want from our skincare products.
On top of this, these are the only ingredients that also address damage caused by infra red, heat and cold damage, which you may not have thought of before, but which really makes sense in terms of how proteins become denatured in the presence of these factors. This also means better skin quality and fewer signs of aging.
All of these antioxidants can be found within a healthy, balanced diet. The problem is that your body needs antioxidants on the inside too, and so many of them are set to work repairing damage inside your body and never make it to your skin. This is why a topical solution targeting the skin alone is recommended. And when it comes to topical solutions, more is more. Choose an antioxidant formulation that offers you a cocktail of ingredients rather than just one for more benefits. For example, combining Vitamins C and E makes for a more powerful antioxidant effect than using either of those ingredients alone. You can also layer your products (if have enough space on your face) to give yourself even more antioxidant power.
Antioxidant formulations are freely available in almost all over the counter beauty products, and although they are better absorbed if used as a targeted formulation (rather than mixed in with your moisturizer) they will work whether you take them in tablet or dietary form, or use them topically. The price range of these items varies wildly, and using the most expensive of the options is not necessarily going to give you the best results. Speak to someone in the know about your specific needs and try out a few products before settling on one that makes a visible (or palpable) difference.