Antioxidants have become a major trend in recent years, promising to cure a variety of skincare woes ranging from inflammation and redness to dry skin to signs of aging. But beyond all the hype, how do antioxidants really work?

Here, we take a deep dive into antioxidants to help you better understand what they are, what they do, and why you need to choose the right antioxidants for your skin’s needs.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that defend skin against damage caused by environmental stressors and pollution like:

  • UV radiation
  • Allergens
  • Chemicals
  • Pollution/Cigarette smoke

They do this by neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are created by your own body and in response to external factors like UV rays. They are, in essence, unstable molecules that contain an odd number of electrons. Since electrons love to travel in pairs, free radicals are constantly on the move looking for stable molecules they can take an electron from in order to make themselves complete. The newly unstable victims are then forced to set out on their own searches for electrons they can steal, setting off a chain reaction that can harm your skin’s cellular structure and lead to things like collagen degradation.

How Do Antioxidants Neutralize Free Radicals?

Antioxidants have a unique ability: they are able to effectively disarm free radicals by donating one of their own electrons without becoming destabilized themselves.

What Can Topical Antioxidants Do for Your Skin?

Using topical antioxidants can benefit the overall look and feel of your skin in a number of ways:

  1. Brighten Your Complexion: Vitamin C in particular is quite good at neutralizing free radicals caused by stress and environmental factors. Vitamin C also improves uneven skin tone such as brown spots.
  2. Soothe Inflammation: By nature, all antioxidants have anti-inflammation properties since they effectively inhibit inflammatory responses to stimuli like UV radiation and pollution.
  3. Reduce the Appearance of Lines and Wrinkles: Antioxidants help to strengthen your skin and prevent the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Some, including vitamin C, have even been shown to actively encourage the generation of new collagen.
  4. Protect Against UV Radiation: Some antioxidants like green tea boast photoprotective properties that shield skin against damage caused by exposure to sunlight. When used in combination with good SPF, maximum protection is achieved as well as prevention of further skin damage in the future.

Why Do We Need to Apply Topical Antioxidants?

Your body does generate antioxidants on its own, however its ability to do that decreases as you age—giving free radicals more opportunities to do their damage. According to studies, applying topical antioxidants has been found to drastically increase the concentration of antioxidants in your skin and provide a protective layer that lasts for several days afterwards (even after washing).

The bottom line: adding antioxidants to your skincare routine is an ideal way to protect your skin and support good overall skin health.

How Important Is Incorporating Antioxidants into Your Diet?

Oral and topical antioxidants often go hand in hand. The more the merrier, as they say!

In one study, 40 women were divided into four groups. The first was given an antioxidant supplement, the second an antioxidant-rich cream, the third the supplement and the cream, and the fourth a placebo. When the results came in three months later, the combination group had the best numbers, increasing skin hydration by 60% and sunburn defence by 20%.

Antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Dark berries like blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and pomegranates.
  • Fruits like oranges, mangos, and peaches.
  • Dark, leafy vegetables like kale and spinach as well as colourful ones like peppers and beats.

To maximize your antioxidant intake even more, try eating fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible.

What Are Some Common Types of Antioxidants?

Popular antioxidants you will find used in skincare include:

  • Vitamin C (other names and forms may include L-ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, lipophilic vitamin, and others) excels at brightening.
  • Green tea is known especially for its calming and soothing properties.
  • Vitamin A is best for anti-aging and in a concentrated form is more popularly known as Retinol.
  • Vitamin E, also called tocopherol, is an excellent moisturizer.

Other common antioxidants include Q10, resveratrol, niacinamide, and flavonoids (just to name a few).

Can (and Should) You Combine Antioxidants?

The answer depends on the antioxidants in question and your unique skincare needs. Vitamins C and E have been shown to work exceptionally well together, for example, while vitamin C and retinol (vitamin A) are less compatible, especially for individuals with sensitive or reactive skin.

How Do I Find the Right Antioxidant Skincare Products?

Everyone’s skin profile is unique, which means your skincare regimen and the products you use need to be tailored appropriately to give you the best results. The ideal way to make this happen—work with a skincare expert to customize a routine to suit you.

At Brampton Cosmetic, some of our favourite antioxidant-rich skincare products include:

ZO Daily Power Defense

ZO Daily Power Defense is a powerful antioxidant serum designed to:

  • Combat free radical damage.
  • Tighten and firm your skin.
  • Promote good overall skin health.

It’s made with vitamin E and retinol, as well as powerful ingredients that introduce enzymes that help speed up natural repair processes.

Vivier C E Peptides

C E Peptides from Vivier is an advanced vitamin C serum made to minimize signs of aging, including fine lines and wrinkles. It is formulated with 100% pure L-Ascorbic Acid (pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C), vitamin E, and a powerful combination of peptides. Vivier’s patented formula maximizes the stability of the product, making it more effective than many other serums available on the market.

Vivier C + E

Vivier’s C + E is formulated to smooth your skin’s tone and texture while diminishing the appearance of environmental damage. It contains 100% pure L-Ascorbic Acid (pharmaceutical-grade vitamin C) and vitamin E. Like C E Peptides, the patented formula makes it more stable and effective than many other products available.

GliSODin Skin Nutrients

GliSODin is a leader in nutricosmetics, dedicated to providing customers with products for the face and body that provide a foundation for optimal health and healthy aging.

Teoxane Redensity [1] – Beauty Booster

Teosyal Redensity (I) Beauty Booster

Redensity [1] is made with a patented formula that combines non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid and essential nutrients, including antioxidants. Redensity [1] is used in Beauty Booster treatments. Whereas traditional microneedling treatments make small pin-pricks on the dermis to prompt natural healing responses, Beauty Booster goes a step further—actually injecting hyaluronic acid under your skin to treat more advanced issues and reveal longer lasting results.

Are you ready to make antioxidants part of your skincare routine? Get in touch with us today to speak to a skincare expert who can help you find the products best suited to your skin’s needs.

At Brampton Cosmetic, we carry a variety of antioxidant skincare products products including cleansers, moisturizers, serums, and more. Contact us today to learn more!

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About Dr. Robert Sleightholm

Dr. Robert Sleightholm is one of the founders of the Brampton Cosmetic Surgery Center and Medical Spa. He is the clinic’s Director of Surgery and, since its opening in 1994, has safely and successfully completed more than 200 cosmetic surgery procedures each year. An Ontario plastic surgery veteran, he is a board-certified Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (FRCSC).

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