Antioxidants for skin can be a powerful weapon in your antiaging skincare arsenal, but not all antioxidants are created equal. Traditional antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, neutralize only oxygen-based free radicals that are caused primarily by UV exposure. But new studies link environmental pollution's nitrogen-based free radicals to inflammation, acne, and wrinkles. Microscopic carbon particles from air pollution, traffic exhaust, and soot can sink deep into skin's dermal layer releasing collagen-damaging free radicals. More versatile antioxidants, such as those found in Indian gooseberry (amla), neutralize both oxygen- and nitrogen-based free radicals.
"Many topical antioxidants have the ability to protect and repair skin damage caused by free radical production," says dermatologist Debbie Palmer, creator of the Replere antioxidant-based skincare line. In addition to her private practice, Dermatology Associates of New York, Palmer writes and lectures about how antioxidants for skin can improve skin health and appearance. She shares her knowledge here on skin repair solutions for three of the most common concerns:
Using Antioxidants for Skin for:
"Some of the causes of undereye circles include heredity, allergies, eczema, fatigue, thinning of the skin, fat loss, and excess pigmentation," Palmer says. Simple tips she suggests include getting enough sleep; applying chilled tea bags; protecting eyes from UV rays with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses; patting on an eye cream containing the antioxidants vitamins C and E, and coffee fruit (caffeine also constricts blood vessels); and applying a retinol cream before bed.
"My favorite antioxidants to treat epidermal hyperpigmentation, or brown spots, are retinol, glycolic acid, and azelaic acid. I find that using a combination is most effective. I also advise using daily sunscreen; wearing protective clothing; using extra caution near water, snow, and sand; and avoiding tanning beds."
Wrinkles and Sagging skin
"Exposure to the sun's UV rays, smoke, and pollution damages the skin and leads to wrinkle formation and sagging skin. Look for products with the antioxidants vitamins C and E and coffee fruit, retinol, and glycolic acid. I also recommend moisturizers with hyaluronic acid for their firming effects."
- Eye Bright Restore the natural color under your eyes with Hyalogic Episilk Dark Circle Lightening Face Serum. Hyaluronic acid hydrates skin to provide volume and lift, while the proprietary peptide Eyeseryl lessens the appearance of puffy eyes, and Regu-Age (made with soy, rice peptides, and yeast protein complex) helps lighten dark circles. Use this concentrated serum day and night for a smoother, brighter undereye area.
- Super Serum Protect your skin from all forms of environmental pollution with Reviva Labs Ultra-Potency Vitamin C+ Antioxidant Serum. This powerful serum neutralizes oxygen-based free radicals from sun exposure with high-dose vitamin C, plus vitamin E and CoQ10. Antioxidant emblica from Indian gooseberry also neutralizes air pollution's nitrogen-based free radicals. The silky serum smooths skin with hyaluronic acid, retinyl palmitate, and nourishing plant oils. The airless pump protects its potency. Use alone or layer under makeup and moisturizers.
- Cellular Support Brighten and hydrate your skin with MyChelle Dermaceuticals Perfect C Radiance Lotion. This rich moisturizer provides a potent 12 percent dose of highly-effective L-ascorbic acid combined with Plant C-Stem (cell culture from mung beans), and licorice root extract to help brighten, repair, and protect skin from the effects of environmental pollution.
- Egyptian Wisdom Repair skin damage with Shea Terra Organics Egyptian Pomegranate Oil. This cold-pressed face oil delivers regenerative vitamins B1 and B2, as well as rare omega-5 and antioxidants to protect skin from environmental damage. It also decreases wrinkles by boosting cellular turnover, moisture retention, collagen production, and elasticity, as well as balancing skin's pH. The light oil is ideal for mature, oily, and acne-prone skin.
- On the Cutting Edge It's the unique form of vitamin A in Mad Hippie's Vitamin A Serum that gives this antiaging treatment an edge. Retinyl retinoate is a more bioavailable form of vitamin A, which translates to better absorption and performance. We love that you'll also find antioxidant-rich coffee berry and alpha lipoic acid here. And phytoceramides (the newest star in skincare) and oat beta glucan hydrate skin and protect its lipid barrier.