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Role of Antioxidants in Skin Care

Jun 29, 2022

Skin Care

Famed as a main pillar of skin care health, antioxidants are one of the most cherished categories of ingredients and an absolute staple in summer skin care (hint, hint: Sunscreen). You read about them while researching the ingredients of beauty products – but do you really know what antioxidants do for skin? We know they’re critical to protecting it, but why and from what? Keep reading to demystify all things antioxidants.

What are free radicals?

Before understanding what antioxidants do, we need to understand what they’re protecting our skin from. Introducing, free radicals. These are unstable molecules that are created when your skin is exposed to things like high levels of sun/UV rays, pollution, cigarette smoke, farming pesticides, and more. That being said, free radicals aren’t all bad – they can sometimes be used to fight bacteria. The issue with them comes when there is an imbalance or an excess of free radicals.

How they harm your skin

In a nutshell, free radicals cling to your collagen and weaken its elasticity. They steal electrons from other, healthy molecules (a.k.a. collagen), and damage them in the process. This can lead to wrinkles, dryness, sunspots (or hyperpigmentation), and more.

What do antioxidants do?

Now that we’ve learned all about free radicals, enter antioxidants. The name comes from “anti” (against) and “oxidants” (oxidation, the process that naturally creates free radicals). Antioxidants find free radicals to bind to, supplying the electron that they’re missing and helping to stabilize them.

Where are they found?

We know what you’re thinking — where can you find these free radical-fighting molecules? Thankfully antioxidants are naturally occurring and are often associated with fruits and vegetables — specifically Onions, Garlic, and Berries, along with Nuts, Fish, and Poultry. While eating those foods is a great way to get a dose of antioxidants, it’s certainly not the only way.

How they help skin care

Many skin care products use natural ingredients that contain antioxidants, like our Glow Activating Exfoliator and Purifying Oil Cleanser. Benefits of adding antioxidants to your skin care ritual include:

  • Protection against UV damage: Antioxidants are often found in different sunscreens to help protect skin against UV rays. How does it work? Antioxidants increase the natural antioxidant reserves of the human body, which are then able to eliminate any ROS (which stands for “reactive oxygen species” and is a type of free radical) generated from UV that has reached your skin.
  • Soothes inflammation: Antioxidants can reduce inflammation by neutralizing the free radicals that are causing inflammatory responses from your skin.
  • Delay premature aging: Like we’ve mentioned, free radicals can often damage the collagen in our skin, which helps with skin elasticity. Antioxidants fight against those free radicals, which helps prevent premature aging.
  • Brighten skin: Free radicals and sun exposure can cause dark spots and hyperpigmentation in certain areas of our skin. Antioxidants work to combat abnormal skin pigmentation, brightening and evening skin tone.

Now that you’ve seen the plethora of benefits that antioxidants offer, it’s time to incorporate them into your skin care routine.

Best antioxidants for skin

So, what sources should you keep your eyes peeled for? Keep reading for some of the best antioxidant-rich ingredients to look for when shopping for your skin care.

  • Vitamin C: One of the most widely-used ingredients in skin care is also the ultimate antioxidant for brightening hyperpigmentation and dark spots. It boosts your collagen production to prevent fine lines and smooth uneven skin as well.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E is great for all skin care types because it's so gentle. It dabbles in a bit of everything, making it a must-have in your routine. Vitamin E is a natural anti-inflammatory, keeps skin moisturized, and helps fight against premature aging.
  • Vitamin A (Retinol): Vitamin A, a.k.a. retinol, is the champion in the anti-premature aging skin care arena. It smooths fine lines, fills in wrinkles, softens unwanted texture, brightens skin, and helps with hyperpigmentation.
  • Green Tea: Green Tea is one of the most soothing antioxidants. It reduces inflammation and is a pro at helping heal wounds.
  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a multi-purpose ingredient and does a lot for your skin. It minimizes the appearance of pores, improves skin texture, restores skin’s defenses against moisture loss, and visibly evens out skin tone and sun discoloration.
  • Coenzyme Q10: This antioxidant protects the skin from environmental stressors, energizes skin, and helps retain moisture.

As you can see, there are several different routes to explore when it comes to antioxidants. So, if you don’t know where to begin, this list is definitely a great place to start.

Protect your skin today

Antioxidants are clearly essential to healthy skin, and there’s no better time than the summer to start incorporating them into your ritual. Spending so much outside means it’s important to protect your skin from these free radicals (and their causes). For antioxidant-rich products, try our Glow Activating Exfoliator or Purifying Oil Cleanser today. 

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