Antioxidants are substances that help protect your skin cells against free radicals. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food or when you’re exposed to smoke or UV radiation.
If you’ve ever seen a sliced apple turn brown, you’ve witnessed the process of oxidation, which is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have one or more unpaired electrons. To gain stability, they react with other molecules, triggering a chain reaction that damages healthy cells.
Our bodies naturally produce free radicals, but they can also come from exposure to environmental factors like UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, and other chemicals.
Once an overload of free radicals is present in our system, it causes oxidative stress or an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects.
Fortunately, studies have shown that the inclusion of antioxidants in your skin care regimen can help your skin fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress.
The Best Skincare Antioxidants
🍅 Vitamin A a.k.a Retinol – A derivative of vitamin A, this antioxidant is particularly effective due to its small molecular structure, which allows it to penetrate deep enough into the skin that it can effectively stimulate collagen production and accelerate cell renewal and repair. Both over-the-counter retinol and prescription forms of vitamin A (retinoids like tretinoin) are adept at smoothing fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin tone and discoloration.
🍌 Vitamin B3 a.k.a Niacinamide – Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is a powerful antioxidant that improves the skin’s texture and tone. It reduces fine lines, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Thanks to its ability to calm inflammation, niacinamide can also soothe breakouts, improve skin’s barrier function and help fight redness.
🍊 Vitamin C a.k.a Ascorbic Acid – One of the most popular antioxidant, vitamin C is one of the most studied antioxidants out there. As a free radical scavenger, vitamin C has many skin benefits, like boosting collagen production (which leaves skin firmer) and fading dark spots. Use it in the morning to make the most of its ability to prevent sun damage and inhibit hyperpigmentation—and always follow it with sunscreen
🪴 Centella Asiatica – Centella asiatica is a traditional Asian plant popularly known as CICA. It contains a bunch of active ingredients known as terpenoids, which make up around 8% of the weight of the plant. The main four that have been studied for their skincare benefits are asiatic acid, madecassic acid, asiaticoside and madecassoside. They’re sometimes included in a product alone in pure form, or in combination as “Centella asiatica extract. Along with the terpenoids, there are also other components that have skincare benefits: antioxidants, humectant moisturisers and vitamins.
💦 Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone is natural found in the human body. However as we age it slowly diminishes. Thankfully scientists have found ways to create topical products featuring Q10. This nutrient is easily absorbed by the skin and helps stimulate collagen production, which helps improve elasticity and texture.
🥘 Curcumin found in turmeric protects the skin by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation.
🍆 Vitamin E – Vitamin E is an important antioxidant required for the proper function of many organs in the body, including the skin. It’s widely recognized for its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing process. It also helps to stabilize other antioxidants and improve their effectiveness, so you’ll often find it paired with vitamin C or resveratrol.
🌱Ferulic Acid – Ferulic acid, aka hydroxycinnamic acid, is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes free-radical damage from pollution, ultraviolet light, or infrared radiation. It’s naturally found in the cell wall of plants including bran and certain fruit seeds It is best paired with other antioxidants like Vitamin C & E.
☕️Green Tea Extract (EGCG) – : Green tea extract is rich in antioxidants called catechins, which have been shown to increase antioxidant capacity and protect against oxidative stress.
🍉 Lycopene found in red vegetables – Lycopene is a plant nutrient with antioxidant properties. It’s the pigment that gives red and pink fruits, such as tomatoes, watermelons and pink grapefruit, their characteristic color. Lycopene has been linked to health benefits ranging from heart health to protection against sunburns and certain types of cancers.
🍇 Resveratrol (found in grapes) – Resveratrol is an antioxidant found mostly in the skins of fruits like grapes and berries.It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which calm down the skin, reduce skin aging and keeps the skin free of infections.
🧬 Zinc – Yeah I bet you weren’t expecting this one. Zinc in human plays an important role in cell mediated immunity and is also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. The mineral lessens the formation of damaging free radicals and protects skin’s lipids (fats) and fibroblasts. It also helps heal and rejuvenate skin.
Which of these antioxidants do you use? Which ones would you love to try?