Our skin is a peripheral organ, and what this means is that it is at the very bottom of the priority list when it comes to the distribution of nourishing ingredients because tissue regeneration is more important for internal organs.
This also means that due to being the only organ that is exposed to the environment, our skin is constantly at risk of attracting environmental pollution and harmful aggressors.
Antioxidants are agents that protect our skin by limiting the production of free radicals.
You might be wondering what the heck are free radicals?
Well, it’s kinda hard to explain, but I’ll try my best.
Let’s say that everything that surrounds us is made up of small building block known as molecules and atoms. This includes our own skin cells.
Got it until there?
Great, hang in.
Well, let’s also say that all atoms and molecules are surrounded by a cloud of even smaller particles known as electrons. Heard of those? Probably some chemistry teacher mentioned it sometime years ago. Not to worry about them much.
These tiny little electrons are small, negatively charged particles that circle around atoms and molecules at insane speeds. Electrons want to be paired up with each other so that they can remain stable.
Due to external influences such as the dreadful UV rays and hell of a lot of pollution, this balance is often disrupted.
And as a result, various other molecules can end up with an unpaired electron that’s circling around them. And this – my dears – is what you now know is to be a free radical.
Probably a bit too long for an introduction, but I just needed to make sure we’re all on the same page here.
Pretty much everything from cigarette smoke through pollution and radiation from the sun including other toxic chemicals is what is known to trigger the formation of free radicals.
Here are some of the incredible benefits of using antioxidants in your skincare routine as well as which ones are best for your skin.
1. Antioxidants brighten uneven skin tone.
Free radicals form if the skin is frequently exposed to the sun.
The harmful UV rays trigger changes in our skin’s melanin production, and this is what causes tanning but also dark spots and uneven skin tone. This is called photodamage and antioxidants work to reduce it.
By doing this, antioxidants prevent skin pigmentation.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has a brightening effect on the skin tone and it also works as a tyrosinase inhibitor.
Tyrosinase is an enzyme that stimulates melanin production.
2. Antioxidants may help prevent skin cancer.
Some antioxidants such as vitamin E are researched to have anti-carcinogenic properties and this may help to prevent skin cancer.
3. Antioxidants repair the skin.
Antioxidants like B3 also known as Niacinamide has great anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties and by reducing inflammation, this powerful agent helps the skin to repair itself.
Antioxidants like vitamin C can stimulate collagen production which promotes healthy and youthful skin.
The Best Antioxidants For Your Skin
Here are some popular antioxidants that are great for your skin.
Vitamin A (Retinol)
A derivative of vitamin A, retinol is a powerful agent and particularly effective anti-aging ingredient.
It has a small molecular structure which gives it the ability to penetrate deeper into the skin and stimulate collagen production and speed up cell repair and renewal.
This as a result plumps and smooths fines lines and wrinkles, while the active cell renewal process is improving the skin tone.
There are many over-the-counter or prescription-strength options, and regardless of the choice you go for, your skin will truly benefit from this ingredient.
It is important to remember that this product is to be applied to the skin in the evening routine only.
Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
B3 or Niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that helps with improving the skin’s texture by reducing fine lines and wrinkles.
It has excellent anti-inflammatory and hydrating properties and it is often used to treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne.
It is a great product for oily skins and dehydrated skins because it hydrates the skin and controls excess sebum production.
Although the skin feels immediately hydrated after applying Niacinamide, I must say that Niacinamide starts to control and balance sebum production after using it for some time.
An absolute favorite and loved by everyone, this ingredient is probably the most studied and recommended antioxidant on the market.
Vitamin C promotes collagen production and it helps in fading of mild dark spots and besides this, it’s s a powerful antioxidant against free radicals.
Unlike vitamin A, it is recommended to apply vitamin C during the morning routine as it helps to protect your skin from sun damage.
This powerful antioxidant is widely recognized for its ability to moisturize and hydrate extremely dry skins and it is often found in products made to reduce stretch marks.
It is also one of the common ingredients in many skincare products. You can absolutely find it in anything from serums, moisturizers, eye creams…
There are around eight different types of forms of this vitamin and the most commonly found ones are tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol.
Topically applied, it can be very helpful for conditions like acne and sun damage and it even gives healing support for scars and burns.
I hope this cleared the air on how antioxidants work and how your skin will benefit from incorporating them in your routine.