When it comes to skincare, there are a lot of buzzwords that get thrown around, often leaving us scratching our heads wondering, “what’s that all about”? One such buzzword is the term, antioxidants.
Although the term sounds more at home in a high school chemistry textbook, “antioxidants” actually play a big role when it comes to skincare and overall health. In this article, we’ll demystify what antioxidants are all about and highly why they are the hero of your skincare routine!
What are antioxidants?
We could go all mad scientist and use technical jargon, but we thought a real-world example would explain it best.
Ever sliced an apple, left it out for a while and slowly see the fruit turn brown? That’s the process of oxidisation. This process is caused by free radicals. Not to be confused with the 90s band, free radicals are unstable molecules that interact with other molecules, causing a reaction that damages healthy cells.
In the context of skin, that’s definitely not a good thing.
Our bodies naturally create free radicals, but they can also come from exposure to the sun (via UV rays), pollution, smoking and other chemicals. An overload of free radicals within our system can lead to “oxidative stress”, placing strain on collagen and weakening skin elasticity.
The result? Fine lines, wrinkles, loose skin, acne or blotchy skin.
This is where antioxidants come in. Their job is to combat these free radicals and bring balance - and when it comes to skin, that leads to better skin repair and a healthier complexion. Yay!
Get to know your antioxidants
There are many types of antioxidants, such as Vitamin A, B, and C. Some are more potent than others and some are better suited for specific skin-related conditions. Typically, you will want to find an antioxidant that can protect your skin cells from factors such as UV light, pollution and other environmental factors that produce damaging free radicals.
So we’ve compiled a list for you to look out for:
Vitamin A - Anti-aging
You might recognise this one under as retinol (a derivative of Vitamin A) and its ability to turn back the clock on aging skin. Due to its small molecular structure, it can penetrate deep into the skin and stimulate collagen production and speed up cell renewal and repair!
Vitamin C - Brightening skin
When it comes to antioxidants, Vitamin C is the all-time hall of famer. It’s mainly known for its collagen-boosting properties (for firmer skin) and ability to perk up dull, tired-looking skin.
Vitamin B3 - Texture and tone
Also known as niacinamide, this antioxidant packs a punch and can do wonders in improving skin’s texture and tone. By reducing fine lines and wrinkles, it also has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe breakouts and fights redness. Additionally, it’s ideal for sensitive skin.
Vitamin E - Moisturising
Vitamin E can be found in a lot of moisturisers and for good reason. This antioxidant is well known for its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing process.
Overall, as you can see, there are a whole host of benefits antioxidants bring to the table.
Now, keep in mind, this isn’t an exhaustive list. There are other antioxidant heroes out there including, CoQ10, Polyphenols and Flavonoids - but this should help you start your journey in spotting antioxidants within your skincare products.
Circling back to our sliced apple example, if want to minimise the effects of environmental factors having a negative impact on our complexions, make sure to look out for these hero additives in your next skincare product!