Hey guys! Today I'm going to be sharing with you some of my knowledge about antioxidants and the vital role they play in keeping your skin healthy. If you do not have some sort of antioxidant serum/cream in your skincare routine, you are really missing an important step to protecting your skin from premature aging. Obviously we are all going to age, but the key is doing it gracefully and keeping your skin wrinkle-free as long as possible.
Why SPF is not enoughUV exposure is hands down the main reason for premature aging (other culprits include smoking, diet, and not getting enough sleep). As our ozone layer depletes, its becoming even more and more important to protect ourselves from solar energy everyday. However, wearing SPF alone is not enough. You see, SPF only protects from UVA/UVB rays. Unfortunately it does not protect against the biggest part of solar energy, which is infrared radiation. What infrared radiation does is it penetrates your skin and produces free radicals, which are basically unstable oxygen molecules. Air pollution can also cause free radicals. These molecules cause damage to your skin cells because they steal electrons in order to stabilize themselves.
What can you do?The good news is antioxidants have been shown to stabilize those free radicals before they have a chance to start attacking your healthy skin cells. They also assist in the product of collagen and elastin, which are both great for keeping your skin smooth. A good way to get antioxidants is to eat antioxidant rich foods such as berries, broccoli, garlic, green tea, tomatoes, spinach, carrots, and whole grains. However, antioxidants that are ingested will typically go to other uses inside your body first instead of your skin. Therefore it's important to also apply an antioxidant-infused skincare product directly to your skin everyday!
Which product should you use?You need to be picky when choosing yours; a lot of companies have caught on to the antioxidant trend and are throwing antioxidant labels onto their products even when they may not necessarily contain sufficient amounts. Typically you need a high concentration of these antioxidants (about 10-15%) before they have any benefit on your skin, and many drug store brands only have negligible amounts. Additionally cleansers with antioxidants have almost no benefit, since you're literally washing them down the drain.
So what should you use? Antioxidant serums are probably your best bet because they are formulated with a very high concentrations of ingredients. Additionally dermatologists recommend using a blend of antioxidants because they seem to work better together. The product most celebrities use is the Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum by Dr. Sheldon Pinnell. He formulated a blend of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and ferulic acid that was proven to work in an independent study. This combination is apparently the best way to get your antioxidants because the Vitamin E and ferulic acid stabilize the Vitamin C, which is one of the best antioxidants to use on your skin but is also notoriously unstable. However, this little bottle of 1 oz is going to cost you $153.
Thankfully, many companies have produced their own versions of this antioxidant blend that are much more affordable. Cosmetic Skin Solutions, in particular, makes one that has an almost-identical ingredient list for only $39. That is the one I use, because I don't know about you guys, but I do not have enough money to shell out $153 for 1 oz!
Cosmetic Skin Solutions Vitamin C + E Serum
This serum is great; it has 15% Vitamin C, which in addition to protecting against radiation and enhancing production of collagen and elastin, also diminishes hyper pigmentation. The Vitamin E makes the Vitamin C more powerful and also promotes enzyme activity (which makes wounds heal faster). The ferulic acid is a powerful sunscreen and also enhances the Vitamin E/C. Lastly it also has hyaluronic acid which keeps your skin hydrated.
I've been using this serum everyday under my SPF for a couple of months now, and I've definitely noticed an improvement in my skin tone. It's much more even and clear, and my acne scarring has greatly diminished. I almost made a couple of other changes that have contributed, but I'll save that for another blog post.
Other OptionsIf you want a more affordable option, the Neutrogena Ageless Restoratives Anti-Oxidant Moisture Night Cream offers a great blend of antioxidants for only $18. UK brand Boots also makes a great antioxidant serum, Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum, which combines antioxidants with the power of peptides. You can find it at Target for only $24. (Edited to Add: I also wrote a blog post about two really affordable options here.)Whatever you buy, make sure that it is in a dark or opaque bottle and preferably with a pump, as air and light cause instability in antioxidants. For the same reason, be sure to always layer SPF over it in the daytime. Below are some common antioxidants to look for when you are looking for your antioxidant skincare product! Remember, blend is better.
Green Tea Polyphenols
Alright that's all for now, I hope you found this post informative and helpful!