Are you finding your skin looking lacklustre? Is it looking dull, feeling prone to congestion and red, sunburnt and uncomfortable to the touch? You could be missing an antioxidant in your routine. A powerful skincare ingredient that protects your skin, especially when used in tandem with sunscreen

What are antioxidants and why do you need to add them to your skincare routine?

Free radicals are molecules that want to become stable. They do that by snatching electrons from anything in their path, including DNA, proteins and cell membranes. Essentially, the more you can give free radicals electrons from antioxidants, the more your skin is protected. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, and they can manifest on the skin as dark spots, fine lines, laxity and pigmentation. These oxidants appear at places with higher levels of UV radiation, HEV radiation, pollution and cigarette smoke. 

Topical antioxidants in skincare—like Vitamin C, Vitamin E and the polyphenols in green tea—work by giving their molecules over to the free radicals, essentially acting as an off switch for them. This breaks the chain reaction that affects other cells in the skin. 

The 6 best topical antioxidants to try now

If you need to soothe your skin, try green tea 

Green tea is rich in polyphenols and flavonoids. Especially epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which improves skin barrier function and serves as antioxidant protection. It scavenges free radicals and also works as an anti-inflammatory ingredient to improve wound healing. Plus, when applied topically, it can help soothe a sunburn, reduce sun damaged induced redness and actually promote a reduction in cell damage. You can find it in serums, moisturisers and creams—the cooling ingredient really helps calm the skin down. 

If you’re looking to moisturise parched skin, Vitamin E is a good addition to your routine

Vitamin E— you may also find it on ingredient labels as tocopherol—is able to reduce UV-induced photodamage by reducing free radical effects on the skin. It has moisturising benefits too, and it helps to strengthen barrier function. So, it soothes the skin in the process too. It also serves as an emollient barrier on the skin, helping to prevent sun damage that way. Its fat soluble properties make it an excellent additive to oils or moisturisers. Vitamin C has been shown to stabilize and help regenerate Vitamin E, so they’re best used together. You will often see that they’re formulated in tandem in many popular products. 

If you need to brighten dark spots, Vitamin C can be your go-to

Free radicals and sun exposure can trigger changes in the skin’s melanin production, which can cause dark spots and areas of uneven skin tone. By reducing photodamage from the inside-out, Vitamin C can help prevent skin pigmentation. It also helps in inhibiting tyrosinase, which is an enzyme that stimulates melanin production. Vitamin C is able to donate electrons from the second and third carbon. This is why it’s a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals through the day as they crop up. This function helps prevent aging skin, stimulating collagen, and protecting against sun + HEV damage.

If you want to reduce congestion, pick resveratrol 

They say that a glass of wine can really help your skin glow. But you’d need more than a 1000 glasses to get the results you need. Pick a topical resveratrol product instead—they inactive free radicals while supporting fibroblast production, which are responsible for creating healthy collagen .It is able to activate sirtuin 1, which improves cell repair, so it helps calm inflammation without irritating the skin at all in the process. Due to its antimicrobial properties, resveratrol inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria too. So it fights acne and congestion while protecting the skin.

If you’re looking to treat inflammatory skin conditions, you can try niacinamide 

Vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide or nicotinamide, is a powerful antioxidant. It is known for its skin barrier boosting properties too, making it a win-win. It increases the thickness of the top layer of your skin. This helps it hold on to moisturise and prevent transepidermal moisture loss. It also really reduces inflammation, so it’ll help with skin conditions like acne, eczema and redness. This water-soluble ingredient is best used in serums or moisturisers You want to let it sink in and really get to work before you layer on more products on top.

If you’re searching for an anti-ageing approach, look to retinol 

A derivative of vitamin A, retinoids have a small molecular size and structure, which allows it to penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and improve cell renewal and repair. Pros prescribe patients with pre-cancerous lesions to apply retinoids, because they are able to protect the skin from UV damage-induced free radicals, making it a powerful pick. It can be a strong ingredient, so it is best to start slow (with low concentrations and a small dollop) and then build up tolerance to reduce the chances of peeling, drying and retinisation. 

The best part is, there’s one for all skin types! Incorporate an antioxidant in your routine today, and if you are wondering how to, reach out to us via Whatsapp for a customised routine.