Antioxidants are up there with sunscreen when it comes to making your skin a much better place. Packed with so much good stuff, they’re super important for the look, feel, and health of your skin – especially in this day and age when you’re constantly battling against invisible nasties that age up your skin lightning fast.
But what does this really mean? Sure, you know topical antioxidants are great for your skin. But why? And what exactly are they?
What Are Antioxidants?
To understand antioxidants, first you need to know about free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules generated by the environment and your lifestyle – everything from the air you breathe to the food you eat. They have an essential electron missing from their outer shells (which makes them unstable), so to become stable, they steal electrons from other atoms and molecules, causing a reaction called oxidative stress.
This is bad news for your skin because oxidative stress weakens the cells and is extremely damaging to important components like DNA, collagen and elastin.
But it’s not all doom and gloom because this is where antioxidants come to the rescue. Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals that are happy to give up the odd electron without becoming unstable. This leaves all the good stuff in your skin free to go about its business, keeping your skin strong, supple, firm, and healthy.
The human body naturally has its own, pretty awesome antioxidant system that battles hard against free radicals. However, as you age and are exposed to more and more environmental and lifestyle stressors the balance becomes tipped in favor of those dastardly free radicals. Which is why you need help from topical antioxidants.
How Antioxidants Benefit Your Skin
By neutralizing free radicals and the consequent oxidative stress they create, antioxidants help protect your skin from damage. This means they’re ideal for holding off things like fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Of course, they can’t halt your natural aging process completely (they’re not magic!), but they do help your skin look its best, for longer.
And that’s not all. Certain antioxidants can also brighten your skin, reduce irritation, increase hydration and plump up your skin.
Interested in getting in on some of that? Then read on for our pick of the three best antioxidants in skincare.
3 Of The Best Topical Antioxidants
You may love a morning cup of green tea with your breakfast – and good on you – but did you know, green tea is just as incredible in your skincare as your teacup? Otherwise known as camellia sinensis, green tea is chock full of polyphenols which are major players in the antioxidant world. Green tea also has anti-inflammatory properties so it’s ideal for reducing irritation, redness, and dark circles around your eyes.
One of the most widely used and highly researched antioxidants in skincare, vitamin C is officially a big deal. Often seen on your labels as l-ascorbic acid (the potent stuff) or sodium ascorbyl phosphate (its gentler, but effective cousin), vitamin C not only puts free radicals in their place but it also inhibits melanin production making it a go-to for perking up dull, tired or patchy-looking skin.
Say hello to the popular kid of the antioxidant bunch. Kind to the skin and with a smart way of hydrating and moisturizing at the same time, vitamin E (tocopherol or tocopheryl acetate) is an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant wonder ingredient that works hard to fight free radicals while soothing, calming and balancing your skin. It may also help speed up the healing process which is why you’ll often find it in moisturizers, oils and face serums.
All of our products contain a carefully curated blend of antioxidants from both natural and mindfully synthetic sources. Whole Repair Serum, for example contains green tea, vitamin C AND vitamin E as does our Skin Cell Energizing Clay Mask. Meanwhile, Essential Proteins + Vitamin C Spray not only contains the obvious vitamin C but is packed with botanicals, many of which are naturally high in antioxidants.