Antioxidants have become a beauty buzzword that’s been plastered across many products and advertising campaigns and it only seems to be getting more noticed. It’s used as a term to describe plant-based nutrients that help keep us feeling our best but now it also helps us look our best which is why brands are adding more nutrients, or simply marketing them, onto our skincare products but should we be incorporating antioxidants into our skincare routines?
There are many benefits to including antioxidant-rich foods into your diet and now even your skincare and one of the main reasons is because it protects the skin by limiting the production of free radicals – which can damage skin cells, causing premature ageing, sagging or loose skin. For those that have read the words “free radicals” numerous times but aren’t exactly sure what they are or what it means, they are a toxic byproduct of oxygen metabolism that can cause quite some damage to living cells and tissues – a process called “oxidative stress” – but can be counteracted by the vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, that the body has to think of it this way; certain nutrients help the body and skin from the inside and antioxidant-rich based skincare helps the skin from the outside. But here’s the important bit…
What’s causing our bodies to have oxidative stress? Well, it’s all the bad stuff like fried foods, alcohol, tobacco smoke, pesticides, air pollutants, even too much exercise and many more! This is also a reason why we’re seeing so many products advertised to help from environmental stresses and protect your skin from pollutants – it’s because they’re packed full of vitamins and minerals. So, how can we make sure our skincare is made up with antioxidant-rich ingredients? Here’s just a few…
Vitamin E (shown as tocopherol or tocotrienols) is one of the most well-known antioxidants. It works in many ways to protect and defend your skin from free radicals and other elements that can damage your skin. Vitamin E works best with Vitamin C. Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream (£29.52, 50ml) not only have vitamin E and C but it also has a form of retinol (vitamin A) in it too! The lightweight cream absorbs quickly into the skin allowing you to move onto your next skincare step without waiting. I use this when my skin is feeling and looking a bit, normal. Not overly oily or dry skin, just, normal.
Vitamin C (shown as ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, and various other names) is a powerful antioxidant that’s really beneficial for diminishing fine lines, wrinkles, dullness and my personal favourite, uneven skin tone. Vitamin C also helps the skin keep its resiliency, elasticity and firmness and there’s more – it also helps brighten your skin! Definitely an antioxidant to an eye out for. I’ve recently blabbed about this product like a thousand times but the Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum (currently £67.57, 30ml), is honestly one of the best vitamin C products I’ve ever tried as it’s helped with my pigmentation and acne scars – something I’ll be adding straight back onto my wishlist.
Retinol (Vitamin A)
Retinol has become one of the best antioxidant ingredient known to help with a lot of skin concerns from uneven skin tone, enlarged pores and rough skin surface to fine lines and wrinkles and even improving skin luminosity. If that’s not enough it’s also been shown to unclog congested pores and soften the appearance of red areas of the skin. I can’t shout enough how amazing and beneficial this ingredient really is. Mentioned above it is formulated in the Dermalogica Skin Smoothing Cream but also The Ordinary Retinol 1% Squalane (£5.80, 30ml), is great for as a concentrate and once your skin gets used to the 1% you can move onto the 2%.
Green tea isn’t just good for drinking but for applying on your skin too. There are ingredients in green tea that are bursting with antioxidants that help clear cell damage on the skin and repair wrinkles, blemishes and other impurities. When applied, it can also help reduce sun damage by getting rid of inflammation. Personally, this is something I have amongst my other products such as the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (£26, 118ml), which is something I’ve invested in purely because of salicylic acid to help with my acne but is a bonus to have green tea to help with any inflamed skin.
There are loads of ingredients that are antioxidants and there are loads of skincare products but what I can’t stress enough is that in order to help with any skin concern, it’s best to read a little into the ingredients, know what your skin needs and then go shopping.