All About Skin

Antioxidants in skin care: why they're important

antioxidants in skincare

We know. Antioxidants: “Ugh, boring. I already know about all of this.” But do you?

OK, maybe you do…but just in case, we thought we’d explain exactly why they’re such a must in skincare. To start with, we’ll review some quick definitions to get us all on the same page.

Antioxidants are naturally-occurring compounds, found in vitamins and minerals, that help protect our bodies from free radical damage (and, in some cases, even help reverse it). We picture them like little shields: no single antioxidant is all-powerful, but multiple antioxidants can shield from different angles.

Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive atoms or molecules that can cause damage to cells, resulting in illness or aging. We picture them like needy little cartoon characters, running around and looking for a friend to glom onto and pull down, causing — in the case of the hapless friend’s face — hyperpigmentation, inflammation, collagen breakdown, and general premature aging. No one wants to be that hapless friend, obviously, which is why we use antioxidants to protect ourselves.

Important detail: these needy little free radicals can come from many places. They can be generated by exposure to UV rays, pollution, unsavory chemicals, and other environmental stressors, and many of us know this already. Many of us also know that they can be generated by inflammation and internal stressors.

But if you’re thinking, “Cool! I can just live in a pristine bubble and meditate and wear sunscreen, and those free radicals won’t touch me,” we have bad news for you: they’re also generated by natural, everyday processes in our bodies, like cellular respiration. These types of free radicals are called “reactive oxygen species,” and Dara and Marie Veronique chatted about them in this interview about mitochondria. They’re just part of the living process, and you know…if we’re living, we’re aging. It’s just what happens.

1. In your effort to age with grace, please use antioxidants. A lot of them. Apply them to your skin in the form of serums — an added line of defense under your sunscreen. And it’s a good idea to not only eat the rainbow, but also supplement with antioxidants, too, because bumping up antioxidant consumption internally as well as externally will reap the greatest benefits.

2. Where antioxidants are concerned, both internally and externally, it’s all about variety — because each antioxidant works a little differently. Some antioxidants are super soothers, while others are excel at brightening, for example. And yes, Vitamin C is great, but it's not all-powerful, so it's just one of many shields we recommend. Green tea is similar: great antioxidant, one of many shields. So as you choose your skincare products, think about looking for the rainbow.

And if you’re thinking, “I just read this long, science-y blog post and now I have to look for the rainbow in these ingredient listings and that is definitely not what I was hoping to do,” here’s our bonus tip to make things easier: this is why we put not one, not two, but six different seaweeds and coastal plants in the Sea Serum. That impressive set of truly legit shields is just one of the reasons why that one product does so many things.

Shop our rainbow of best-selling antioxidant options below — and now that you might know a little more about how this magic happens, check out this post to learn about about the Sea Serum’s rock star effects on our own team members.

Our favorite Vitamin C supplement: LivOn Labs LypoSpheric Vitamin C
Our favorite antioxidant-packed tea: Daphnis & Chloe Greek Mountain Tea
Green tea + superfoods? Sounds like a great idea to us: MIJA Superstar

Our multi-dimensional, super-protective serum with brightening and firming benefits: Dara Kennedy Sea Serum
Our best-selling Vitamin C serums: Marie Veronique Vitamins C+E+Ferulic Serum and Luzern Labs Serum V15
Our power-packed favorite from Dr. Macrene: Macrene Actives High Performance Face Serum
Antioxidants for stressed-out skin: de Mamiel Fatigue Fix
Our gentle brightening favorite from Pedro: TWELVE Beauty Ideal Brightening Corrective Serum


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