Why Antioxidants Are Important in Skin Care

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It’s hard to believe that there was a time when antioxidants didn’t “exist” in skincare: we didn’t know they existed or their potential, but they were still there. Now they are one of the biggest buzzwords and trendiest ingredients. A skincare routine without antioxidants is ruined, which is a personal opinion, but one I share with many top dermatologists. Here’s why they continue to receive immeasurable praise.

What are antioxidants?

In scientific terms, antioxidants are molecular compounds that inhibit the process of oxidation, which is a chemical reaction that can produce aggressive free radicals (compounds in the body that can cause disease if their levels get too high). Our bodies have their own antioxidant-fighting mechanisms to keep these levels low, but adding antioxidant protection can further strengthen these mechanisms. In our diet we can find high levels of antioxidants in foods like spinach, carrots, kale, avocados and many more, and in our beauty regimens we can use antioxidants to protect and rejuvenate our skin.

What role do antioxidants play in skin care?

“Antioxidants protect the skin by neutralizing free radical damage and oxidative stress caused by sunlight, pollution, infrared light, etc.,” says Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias. “These stressors lead to aging effects such as wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, growths, and even skin cancer, and antioxidants can help protect against this damage.” Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill explains that antioxidants play an important role in skin care products for this reason and can also help “reduce inflammation, allow skin to repair itself and help brighten skin tone and complexion”.

Are antioxidants more effective in skin care when combined?

“Yes,” said Dr. Elias. “Interestingly, studies show that by combining vitamin C and vitamin E and stabilizing them in ferulic acid, they are more stable and more effective in preventing premature skin aging.” I remember the first time I tried SkinCeuticals famous CE Ferulic Serum and heard about the groundbreaking antioxidant discoveries of Dr. Pinnell (the brand’s founding scientist; he was also a dermatologist). As the first product to combine Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Ferulic Acid in a single, stable formula, CE Ferulic changed the skincare antioxidant space forever. Since then, there have been many imitators, but the OG is still loved by dermatologists (and beauty editors!) around the world. “SkinCeuticals revolutionized antioxidants, and CE Ferulic is still the gold standard,” adds Dr. Elias.

Which antioxidants are best for skin care?

Although vitamin C is supported by most research, other noteworthy antioxidant ingredients include niacinamide, retinol, resveratrol, green tea, and vitamin E. Each provides its own unique benefits, so it’s best to talk a dermatologist or esthetician to find the right product for your skin.

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