A commonly used term in skincare and health, antioxidants are key ingredients that you need in your daily skincare regime to defend free radicals, environmental pollutants and harmful chemicals that our skin is exposed to on a daily basis. But do you really need them in your skin regime? How many do you need? How often can you use them? Fret not, this article will walk you through everything, letting you choose the best antioxidant for that supple, natural glow you have been waiting for.
What are antioxidants and why do you need them?
So, what are free radicals that skincare experts keep talking about? To put it simply, free radicals are tiny, unstable molecules with unpaired electrons that move in a radical or destructive manner. Though they are often scrutinised under a negative light. We do need a certain number of free radicals in our body to perform effectively as they are a part of our immune system. It helps to turn the nutrients we consume into energy and helps our heart pump more blood in stressful situations. However, according to the Free Radical Theory of Ageing, these harmful molecules attack healthy skin cells, accelerating the ageing process by damaging the structure of our cells through oxidative stress when produced in excess.
On the other hand, antioxidants are stable molecules that do not mind donating one of their electrons to neutralise unstable free radicals and stop them from causing destruction. Therefore, adding antioxidants to your skincare routine can help to protect your skin from the damage caused by free radicals. We must maintain a keen balance between both antioxidants and free radicals. Listed below are the benefits of antioxidants in your skincare routine:
1. Prevents premature ageing
Free radicals alter the structure of the cells by tearing down proteins and lipids. Collagen is a protein found in cells that contributed to the elasticity of the skin making it look plump and youthful. Antioxidants can help to correct visible signs of ageing and give skin a more youthful glow.
2. Combats acne
As we know that oil, dirt and environmental pollutants are the key causes of acne. But, before this process even begins acne is ignited due to the oxidative stress caused within the pore. Lipid peroxidation is the process when free radicals take electrons from the cell damaging it in return causing inflammation that aggravates acne.
3. Brightens the skin
Prolonged exposure to the harmful rays of the sun can break down your skill barriers causing a change in melanin production by making your skin look dull and lifeless causing dark spots and pigmentation.
4. Protects the skin from harmful UV rays
Harmful UV rays can get through layers of clouds, curtains and even our clothes. It is known to accelerate the aging process and cause even more severe medical concerns such as cancer. Sunscreens definitely work well on their own, but using it along with antioxidants can give you more efficient results. SPF combined with Vitamin C is the perfect power couple to give you maximum protection and repair any skin damage. The antioxidant acts as a buffer to neutralise any free radical that can be caused due to penetration of UV rays. A few harmful rays are likely to seep into the skin despite the best effort of your sunscreen and Vitamin C helps to create an additional layer of defence.
How do you choose the right antioxidant for your skin concern?
Your body already produces antioxidants naturally to combat free radicals. However, following an unhealthy lifestyle such as eating oily and sugar heavy foods, not getting enough sleep or exposing your skin to harmful UV rays can reduce the number of antioxidants produced to overcome free radicals. The best way to control this is by making a conscious change in your daily routine by carrying out healthy practices and compensating by using external skincare products to restore balance.
1. Vitamin A
It promotes collagen production which thickens the other layer of skin, diminishes fine lines, and is essential for firm, youthful skin.
Targeted skin result: Anti-ageing
Also known as: Retinol
Product we recommend: Neemli Naturals Retinol & Peptide Serum with its collagen stimulating retinol and firming peptides, this serum brings together powerfully effective ingredients that help combat all visible signs of aging including fine lines and wrinkles giving you smooth, younger looking skin without any irritation.
2. Vitamin B
Works best for those with oily, acne prone skin. It helps to produce newer and healthier cells that naturally improve the texture of your skin.
Targeted skin result: Texture and tone
Also known as: Niacinamide
Product we recommend: Vaunt Daisy Flower + Vit B Face wash is a luxurious, sulphate free, non - foaming face wash that is perfect to cleanse your skin, leaving it fresher and also visibly soft. Pure Daisy flower extracts work with B Vitamins to nourish your skin and keep it protected from the harsh elements of the day.
3. Vitamin C
A great ingredient to use during the day time to protect your skin for the UV rays. It also cures dark spots and patches caused due to hyperpigmentation.
Targeted skin result: Brightening
Product we recommend: Martiderm Photo-Age 30 Ampoules | 15 % Vitamin C | Anti-aging Carefully formulated with 15% Vitamin C, the most powerful antioxidant which is responsible for protecting your skin from free radicals, stimulating collagen production and helps your skin battle pigmentation.
Note: The ampoules are stored in amber glasses to prevent oxidation. One thing to keep in mind is that antioxidants break down when exposed to light and air, so it is important to make sure the products you buy are packaged in opaque and airtight or air-restrictive containers. That means no jar packaging, otherwise these vital, but unstable, ingredients will begin to lose their effectiveness once you open the container.
4. Vitamin E
It is a fat-soluble compound and one of the most commonly found antioxidants that aims at keeping the skin soft and hydrated by accelerating the skin's healing process. A great way to get most of it is by using Vitamin E and C together.
Targeted skin result: Moisturising
Product we recommend: Dear Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin E mask can be used as a mask, sleeping pack or daily moisturiser. Its memory foam texture transforms into a rich essence when in contact with the skin, maintaining moisture for at least 8 hours, even for dry skin. And helps reveal brighter, firmer, and more hydrated skin overnight.
This is a naturally derived chemical found in plants, fruits and vegetables. It is most often found in Green Tea, Matcha or Turmeric and works wonders due to its anti-inflammatory component, specifically EGCG.
Targeted skin result: Protection against UV rays, soothing and repair
Products we recommend: Conscious Chemist Indulge Facial Cream with Matcha Green Tea & Hemp Seed Oil that contains Matcha, a plant powerhouse packed with nourishing antioxidants and deactivates free radicals. It helps to reduce sun damage and decreases puffiness.
6. Manuka Honey
Honey is an ancient skincare remedy to treat rash, redness or any other form of irritation due to its healing and anti-bacterial compounds.
Targeted skin result: Anti-inflammatory, acne
Product we recommend: Organic Riot Zap – Anti Acne Serum is A weightless & invisible serum for those prone to break-outs or occasional blemishes by using this as a spot treatment with its Manuka Honey and Tamanu Oil formulation.
How long does it take to see results?
The best time to use antioxidants is during the day when we are out and exposed to the harmful chemicals and pollutants in the environment. This does not mean that you cannot use them in the night to repair and regenerate your skin cells. It takes approximately a month to see the noticeable difference your antioxidant is making. However, that greatly depends on the type of product consistency and method you choose to incorporate your antioxidant with.
For instance, antioxidants are most commonly found in moisturisers, face masks and serums. While it may take 2 to 3 uses to see results from your moisturiser, you may notice an instant difference while using a face mask. Click on the link to know more about How long should you wait to see results after trying a new skincare product?
All in all, we can sum up antioxidants in two words that is - “Anti” - “oxidants”, those chemicals that defend our skin against the oxidising stress caused by free radicals. Just as we all need some zen to hold our lives together, antioxidants play a similar role in our body by maintaining a balance between the good and bad chemicals to keep us healthy inside out.
- Howrah Lookmanji