What are antioxidants and what do they do for your skin?


Skincare routines are as multifaceted as there are many different faces to treat and take care of.  That fact isn’t surprising at all, given that the personal care industry is growing at an unprecedented pace towards becoming a billion dollar industry by 2020, based on reports of leading industry analysts.

The role of antioxidants in skincare

As a result of the robust nature and profitability of skincare, there is no shortage of studies that try to find out what works and what does not.  Based on research, below are the most common ingredients found in skincare products that actually deliver real and visibly noticeable improvements:

  1. Vitamin A derivatives:

Still hailed as the gold standard in anti-aging skincare, stable Vitamin A derivatives including retinoids, retinols and retinyl palmitate, are favorite ingredients in skincare products.

Vitamin A has been demonstrated many times to protect skin from wrinkling and creasing.  Unfortunately, Vitamin A is also reputed for causing photo sensitivity among long-time users.  Vitamin A derivatives can also be extremely irritating to the skin, which is the primary reason why not many people are able to tolerate it in their beauty regimens.

  1. Alpha hydroxy acids:  

These are comprised by lactic acids and citric acids which gently lift dry, damaged and dead skin cells and flushes them out.  In the process, it stimulates deeper layers of the skin to turnover and allow younger, unblemished skin to surface.

  1. Moisture giving ingredients:

These are often comprised by emollients which condition the skin.  More advanced formulations fold in hyaluronic acid and co-enzyme Q10 which help lock in moisture while simultaneously attracting water from nearby areas of skin.

  1. Pep-tides:

These supply the extra protein needed by the skin to fuel processes that repair and rejuvenate tired and damaged skin cells.

  1. Antioxidants:

These are active components of cells naturally produced by the body but at significantly lower quantities starting at age 20. To make up for this loss, antioxidants may be taken orally or applied topically using plant-derived antioxidants to re-energize cells and protect these from aging — all of which are caused by antioxidants.

Use of antioxidants in skincare have the Free Radical Theory of Aging as basis.  The theory states that damage caused by unstable free radicals which dynamically combine with healthy cells, steal an atom that eventually causes oxidation and cells to either die or become free radicals themselves.  More antioxidants on your skin, therefore, puts you at lower risk that cells will be overrun by free radicals.

Uses of antioxidants in skincare

Generally, antioxidants act to neutralize the damaging nature of free radicals.  When left unchecked, free radicals catalyze a series of chemical reactions at the cellular level that cause skin cells to become damaged or, worse, end up dead.

Below are three of the most beneficial types of antioxidants you should be looking for in your anti aging cream.  The benefits of antioxidants are listed beside each.

Vitamin C. 

This powers up the sluggish skin cells to reawaken their power to naturally heal and treat damages on the skin matrix.  Vitamin C has also been demonstrated to support the abundant production of collagen while inhibiting the production of matrixmetalloproteinase which damages the protective layer of the skin.

Vitamin E.

It is an antioxidant in itself, but also enhances the beneficial effects of Vitamin C. It also provides protection against damaging UV rays.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide).

It helps speed up cellular metabolism, turnover and regeneration for flawlessly looking skin.  It helps clear skin of hyperpigentation, wrinkles and dullness.  Unfortunately, this ingredient remains largely overlooked by majority of skin care products available in the market today.

These three antioxidants are believed to be the most effective ones for their ability to deeply penetrate skin  and actually make a positive difference from within..  These observations are based on a 2004 study published in the International Journal of Cosmetological Science let by Bis sett and Miyamoto.


Antioxidants are the new powerhouse in skincare.  These may prove to have lasting beneficial effects to the skin.  It is also possible for these to be overcome by another promising ingredient to erase every small and huge signs of skin aging.  For now, you have to believe in the power of antioxidants to heal your skin.  “Beauty is only skin deep. I think what’s really important is finding a balance of mind, body and spirit,” says celebrated artist and fashion icon, Jennifer Lopez.

Reference: http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-looks/skin/the-truth-about-antioxidants-and-your-skin/


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