You may have antioxidants in your diet, but are they in your skincare routine? The likes of vitamin C and vitamin B3 will revolutionise your skin, and in this edit, you’ll find out why…
What are antioxidants, and how will they benefit my skin?
Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals like air pollution and cigarette smoke. In our diet antioxidants reduce the risk of diseases; in skincare, they neutralise external aggressors and shield our skin from damage. We need this protection in our skincare because free radicals wreak havoc with our skin; we’re talking dullness, irritation, wrinkles and more.
The good news is, there are a whole host of antioxidants to choose from, and free radical protection is just the tip of the iceberg. These innovative ingredients offer a whole of other benefits. Scroll to find your antioxidant match…
1. Vitamin C
Popular forms of vitamin C: tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (THD), L-ascorbic and ester-C.
Benefit: fights free radicals, fades dark spots, boosts collagen production.
Best for: dullness, hyperpigmentation, and fighting first signs of ageing.
Vitamin C is one of the most well-known antioxidants. As well as being a free radical scavenger it’s best-loved for its brightening qualities, collagen-boosting powers, and its ability to fade dark spots. No matter your skin type or age, vitamin C is an antioxidant that can benefit every skincare routine if you want to keep signs of ageing at bay.
Vitamin C can become unstable when exposed to light and air, which is why I always recommend Eucerin’s Vitamin C Booster. The 10% pure vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) formula comes in a shake and press tube that activates the formula when you’re ready to use it. There’s more than one antioxidant at work here though, Licochalcone A’s anti-inflammatory properties also helps to keep the complexion calm and soothed.
2. Vitamin A
Popular forms of vitamin A: Retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinoic acid.
Benefit: Stimulates collagen production, improves cell renewal and repair, and smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
Best for: Anti-ageing and radiance.
Vitamin A is the anti-ageing antioxidant.
Popular forms of vitamin A: retinol, retinyl palmitate, retinyl acetate and retinoic acid.
Benefit: stimulates collagen production, improves cell renewal and repair, and smooths fine lines and wrinkles.
Best for: anti-ageing.
Vitamin A is the anti-ageing antioxidant. There are only two ingredients proven to prevent signs of ageing, and vitamin A is one (SPF is the other). There are many forms of vitamin A, and it comes in a variety of strengths, but retinol is the most widely known. The benefits of this antioxidant include smoothing fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin texture, brightening, plus improving the appearance of acne and dark spots. If ageing is one of your concerns, look no further.
When using retinol, it’s essential to ease yourself in; using a potent strength too soon could lead to irritation. For that reason, start with La Roche-Posay Redermic R once a week, and slowly increase your use over time. With a mild 0.3% strength, this retinol cream is an excellent choice for beginners.
Don’t forget: Always use SPF the day after using retinol as it increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Find our favourite sunscreens for face here.
Popular forms of polyphenols: resveratrol, green tea.
Benefits: anti-inflammatory, improves the look of sunspots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
Best for: anti-ageing and hyperpigmentation.
Polyphenols are in many things we eat. Chocolate and wine are two of my favourites! In our diet, polyphenols help protect our internal cells, while in skincare they, you guessed it, shield our external cells.
When it comes to polyphenol-packed skincare, you can’t go wrong with Caudalie Premier Cru The Serum. The antioxidant at play here is resveratrol; this ingredient is found in berries, peanuts, red grapes and helps protect the skin’s surface from environmental aggressors, collagen degradation, plus it helps to brighten, and calms redness. What’s extra special about Premier Cru The Serum is that resveratrol isn’t the only antioxidant at work, viniferine also helps to even the skin’s tone, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Popular forms of vitamin B3: niacinamide
Benefit: improves skin texture and tone.
Best for: Moisturising, anti-ageing and irregular texture.
If the texture and tone of your complexion are playing on your mind, niacinamide is the antioxidant answer. While the antioxidants featured so far are found in plants, vitamin B3 is mostly found in meat; it’s praised for its ability to improve hydration, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, plus even the skin’s tone.
A fail-safe and purse-friendly recommendation if you’re looking to add niacinamide to your skincare routine is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. The daily treatment is a dab hand at treating enlarged pores and breakout, and the addition of zinc helps to regulate sebum production.
5. Vitamin E
Popular forms of vitamin E: tocopheryl acetate and tocopherol.
Benefit: moisturising and soothing.
Best for: dry skin types.
Vitamin E, or tocopherol as you may see it on an ingredient label, is an incredibly nourishing antioxidant. It’s fat-soluble, which means it can sink deep into your skin and preserve the lipids (fats) in your face while healing your skin’s barrier.
One of the latest vitamin E skincare launches is Avene Les Essentiels Rich Revitalising Nourishing Cream. An everyday moisturiser for dry skin types, the buttery cream is packed full of stable vitamin E, plus hydrating Avene thermal water, and shea butter to quench and soothe skin.