If you’re actively keeping a skincare routine, there’s a good chance that you have certain skincare goals, whether they include clearing acne, improving texture, fading hyperpigmentation, or preventing signs of aging.
We can achieve our skincare goals through good habits, like drinking plenty of water, getting some sleep, and wearing SPF during the day. We can also achieve our goals by targeting skin concerns with certain ingredients. And some are so versatile, they should be in everyone’s routine.
Case in point: antioxidants. Antioxidants are incredibly helpful for a number of reasons, whether that’s brightening, clearing or smoothing. But above all else, antioxidants help protect the skin from impurities in our environment.
Today, we’re talking all about antioxidants, and why they belong in your skincare regimen.
What Are Free Radicals, and Why Do We Want to Prevent Them?
You might have heard before that free radical damage is one of the key contributors to signs of aging. But what, exactly, are free radicals?
Free radicals are a type of molecule found all throughout our environment, and they’re characterized by an unpaired electron. This unpaired electron makes free radicals highly unstable, and they will seek out another electron–sometimes in our bodies. This creates a chain reaction in which electrons are transferred while chemical bonds break down while new ones form, resulting in irreversible damage to molecules.
What Are Antioxidants?
The term “antioxidant” actually refers to a wide range of different molecules found in plant-based foods like berries, dark leafy greens and root vegetables, and they all have one thing in common: they can neutralize free radicals. Since they’re fairly stable with unpaired electrons, antioxidants can act like a “shield” that protects the skin from free radical damage.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring in our bodies, and they absorb free radicals as both enzyme antioxidants like peroxidase, and non-enzymatic antioxidants like vitamins C and E. But because these mechanisms involving antioxidants in our bodies can become overwhelmed, it’s beneficial to consume antioxidants from outside sources like foods, supplements and skincare products.
Benefits of Antioxidants in Skincare
It’s clear that antioxidants play an important role on a cellular level. But like many things in science, it’s hard to appreciate the value of certain mechanisms until we see their “big picture” effect. And with antioxidants, the “big picture” effect is actually pretty versatile–especially when it comes to skincare.
Here are just a few ways in which antioxidants benefit your skin:
Benefits of Antioxidants in Skincare
When free radical damage happens, the stress leads to collagen in the skin breaking down, which impairs the skin’s natural repair response and prompts inflammation. This is a major factor that can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, and loose, sagging skin. Antioxidants help by scavenging these free radicals, which keep the skin looking radiant and youthful.
When inflammation is triggered in the skin, the natural cell turnover process is hindered. Since antioxidants help prevent and reduce inflammation, they help the skin properly repair itself while correcting visible signs of damage. Some antioxidants, such as vitamin C, can even stimulate collagen production.
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Sun Damage Prevention
If we haven’t already made it clear, antioxidants are, by nature, anti-inflammatory. They’re able to dampen the skin’s inflammatory response to not only free radical damage but also sun damage. In other words, antioxidants can help prevent sunburn and photodamage. That being said, it’s still important that you wear sunscreen during the day.
Exposure to UV rays and free radicals can trigger the production of melanin, which can lead to hyperpigmentation in the skin. By preventing sun damage, antioxidants help prevent hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, while promoting radiance overall.
What Are the Best Antioxidants in Skincare?
Antioxidants can be found in a wide range of different skincare products, but it’s hard to shop for antioxidant-rich skincare when you don’t know what to look for.
That’s why we came up with this quick guide to antioxidants in skincare! As you’ll find below, there is practically an antioxidant for every skin care concern. And you can find them at 100% Pure!
If there’s one tried & true ingredient you should have in your arsenal, retinol is going to be your very best skincare friend. As a vitamin A derivative, retinol is especially helpful for hitting “reset” on the skin by encouraging a more rapid rate of cell turnover. Retinol products in skincare are available both by prescription and over-the-counter, and come in a wide range of different forms based on potency, including tretinoin, retinyl palmitate, and adapalene. You can find plant-based retinol in our Retinol Restorative Overnight Balm, our Retinol Restorative Neck Cream, and our Retinol PM Eye Cream.
A crown jewel among skincare staples, vitamin C is one of the most heavily documented antioxidants on the market. As a scavenger of free radicals, vitamin C has a wide array of different skin benefits, including boosting collagen production for firmer, more elastic skin, fading scarring and hyperpigmentation, and more.
In skincare products containing vitamin C, you might notice that vitamin C is listed in the ingredients list as ascorbyl palmitate, L-ascorbic acid, vitamin C ester, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, sodium ascorbyl phosphate or lipophilic vitamin C. All of these are different forms of vitamin C found throughout skincare, and they all work best with the help of sunscreen. You can find vitamin C in our Vitamin C Serum, Vitamin C Boost, Vitamin C Mask, 18.3% Active Ingredients Vitamin C Glow Max Bright Mask, Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Potent PM Serum, and Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants Ultra Riché PM Treatment.
Niacinamide, sometimes referred to as vitamin B3, is a potent antioxidant that’s known to help improve the texture and complexion in the skin. Niacinamide helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles while working to fade hyperpigmentation, all while offering anti-inflammatory properties, which provide anti-breakout benefits. Niacinamide is popular for the treatment of skin conditions like acne and rosacea, but it’s just as widely used for its anti-wrinkle benefits. Try niacinamide with our Niacinamide Boost and our Lavender Niacinamide Pore Minimizer.
Sometimes dubbed the “longevity molecule,” resveratrol is notably packed with anti-aging properties. Typically found in the skin of dark fruits like wine grapes and berries, this antioxidant is known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties. These properties can help soothe the skin, slow down signs of aging, and may even prevent the onset of infection. Enjoy the benefits of resveratrol in our Does It All Sheet Mask.
Vitamin E is an essential antioxidant that many of our organs need in order to function, and this includes the largest organ of all–the skin. Vitamin E is renowned for its affinity for boosting healing in the body, including the skin, making it quite popular in topical products like antibiotic creams, moisturizers, cleansers, and serums. It’s particularly popular for conditioning the skin, replenishing moisture, and protecting from cold, dry weather. You can find vitamin E in many of our products including our Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants PM Eye Treatment and our Multi-Vitamin + Antioxidants PM Facial Oil.
Epigallocatechin, often referred to as “EGCG,” is an antioxidant found in green tea, and it’s known for not only its anti-inflammatory properties, but also for its ability to prevent the development of acne in the skin. EGCG provides a myriad of health benefits throughout the body, but benefits for the skin include firming, clearing, and tightening. You’ll find EGCG in our Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Cream and our Green Tea EGCG Concentrate Cream.