What Are the Antioxidant Advantages for Pores and skin? A High Derm Breaks It Down

Within the fields of well being, wellness, and skincare, emerging research and attention-grabbing traits shift the zeitgeist with a close to every day velocity. And whereas I like trying to consultants to provide me the inside track on all that’s new and within the now, I’m most fascinated by the science-backed, tried-and-true practices and elements that hold my mornings and evenings easy, streamlined, and sustainable. With that in thoughts, hold studying for the final word breakdown of the antioxidant advantages for pores and skin to point out you the way this magical MVP of skincare can shine in your routine.

You’ve seemingly heard or at the least come throughout articles sharing antioxidants’ position in serving to you keep a nutritious diet, however do you know this class of elements may be utilized topically to our pores and skin for a recent, glowing, and radiant complexion, too? I spoke to board-certified dermatologist, F. Victor Rueckl, MD at Lakes Dermatology to be taught extra and perceive how we will incorporate these free radical-neutralizing elements into any wholesome skincare routine.

First off, what is an antioxidant?

A buzzword in most wellness circles, antioxidants are written and spoken about everywhere, but am I the only one who struggles to offer up a clear and concise definition when asked? Can’t be. And in a similar vein, while we know we should be making antioxidants a crucial component of our skin health regimen, you’re probably also a little fuzzy on the why. 

Dr. Rueckl defines antioxidants as the group of naturally-occurring compounds working hard to protect your cells from damage. “Free radicals, which are unstable molecules, are constantly being formed in your body and are caused by outside influences like pollution, poor air quality, sunlight, and smoking, among other factors,” he notes. “They are also caused internally through digestion and the lymphatic system.”

Essentially, antioxidants prevent free radicals from doing serious damage to our body. Two conditions that are often top of mind when it comes to skin health, inflammation and premature aging, can result from changes in our cells caused by free radicals. “Antioxidants have extra electrons and are able to donate an electron to free radicals, deactivating them and preventing them from continually causing damage,” says Dr. Rueckl.

Important: The goal isn’t to remove or even neutralize all free radicals. Balancing free radicals and antioxidants is key to helping your body and skin be at their best.

What are antioxidants’ role in our skincare routine?

Antioxidants are everywhere—they show up in over-the-counter products as well as medical-grade skincare. According to Dr. Rueckl, these topical treatments are an important step in keeping our skin healthy and protected. “Since the skin is the largest organ of the body, providing it with antioxidant health is one of the best ways to neutralize free radicals that affect it environmentally and topically,” he advises.

The list of benefits antioxidant-rich skincare products can provide is nothing short of impressive. Calming inflammation, slowing down the effects of aging, and protecting against UV damage are all included. Dr. Rueckl’s go-to favorite? “I love the SkinCeutical C E Ferulic as a result of it’s a fantastic supply of antioxidants and is clinically confirmed to supply environmental safety in opposition to frequent indicators of growing older,” he explains.

Can you mix and match antioxidants?

By now we a’re all aware that less is more in relation to skincare, however I’d be mendacity if I mentioned I wasn’t tempted to pile on antioxidant-packed skincare to reap the myriad advantages. However may this do extra hurt than good? Seems, Dr. Rueckl offers us the inexperienced mild to combine and match as you please. “You possibly can completely combine antioxidants,” he outlines. “There are a slew of antioxidant sorts and also you’ll by no means see the phrase ‘antioxidant’ in your skincare elements checklist. The purpose of all antioxidants is to struggle free radical harm.”

Picture by Riley Blanks

Right here’s a rundown of key antioxidants for pores and skin, and all of the wonderful methods they will profit your pores and skin:

Vitamin C

What it’s: Should you’ve carried out some digging already into antioxidants, then you definitely seemingly know a little bit about Vitamin C. Properly-loved and widely-studied, Vitamin C (additionally known as L-ascorbic acid) is a key participant in forming wholesome pores and skin tissue.

The way it works: Vitamin C boosts collagen manufacturing, protects in opposition to oxidative stress, and presents up seen anti-aging advantages.

Who ought to use it: In accordance with Dr. Rueckl, everybody however there are totally different variations for all pores and skin sorts. He additionally cautions in opposition to trusting any model on the shelf: “The problem with Vitamin C is discovering one that’s correctly formulated as this ingredient is notoriously misused in skincare as a consequence of its instability and issue in formulations,” he stresses. Should you’ll recall from above, his most popular model is SkinCeutical C E Ferulic.

Vitamin E

What it’s: Vitamin E is the important fatty antioxidant that may actually do no improper. Additionally known as alpha-tocopherol, when utilized topically, Vitamin E soothes and heals cuts and scars by dashing up the physique’s pure therapeutic course of.

The way it works: Vitamin E helps in neutralizing free radicals, moisturizing pores and skin, and improves the looks of growing older pores and skin.

Who ought to use it: Delicate pores and skin sorts, rejoice. Dr. Rueckl says that Vitamin E is commonly mixed with Vitamin C merchandise, a very efficient combo for these with delicate and dry pores and skin.


What it’s: Or extra importantly, what isn’t it? This darling of the skincare world is getting loads of consideration these days and it’s all well-deserved. Niacinamide supplies a complete host of advantages with none uncomfortable unwanted effects (irritation and pores and skin harm—no thanks). Word that you may additionally see it known as Vitamin B3.

The way it works: Dr. Rueckl says niacinamide has been proven to strengthen the pores and skin’s moisture barrier. It reduces the looks of discoloration and blotchiness and helps fade darkish marks.

Who ought to use it: You’ll see Niacinamide primarily in merchandise designed for discoloration because of photograph growing older and solar harm (on that observe, reminder to reapply your sunscreen all all through the sunny months and past).


What it’s: Retinol is all over the place today, and opposite to what you’ll have heard, it’s an antioxidant that we will all profit from incorporating into our skincare routine beginning in our mid-20s. This skincare hero comes with no scarcity of wonderful benefits. Bettering texture, taming zits, minimizing the looks of pores, slowing down the pores and skin’s growing older—you identify it, retinol does it.

The way it works: Retinol hastens cell turnover and corporations the pores and skin by plumping up wonderful strains and wrinkles. One other antioxidant that will increase collagen stimulation, retinol is my go-to buzzy pores and skin saver.

Who ought to use it: Earlier than you exit and purchase a bottle, know that retinol isn’t for everybody. These experiencing rosacea, eczema, or psoriasis must be significantly cautious or keep away from it altogether. You probably have a delicate complexion, it’s attainable that retinol might irritate your pores and skin.

However, as Dr. Rueckl jogged my memory, there are various strengths of retinol—”It’s only a matter of discovering one you can management the tolerability of and utilizing merchandise with it that helps to attenuate redness and irritation,” he provides.


What it’s: Elevate your hand should you’ve heard of polyphenols as a result of purple wine is filled with them. In fact, your glass of vino isn’t the one supply of polyphenols—they’re truly probably the most prevalent antioxidant present in a well-balanced food plan. Fruits, veggies, teas, spices—you identify it, eat it, or drink it—it may very properly include polyphenols.

The way it works: Tread cautiously in relation to treating polyphenols as a miracle remedy, as extra work must be carried out in understanding the advantages of those antioxidants. Dr. Rueckl’s take: “Polyphenols have been proven to be efficient in limiting UV publicity, however extra analysis and incorporation into merchandise is required.”

Who ought to use it: At current, topically-applied merchandise containing polyphenols typically have a inexperienced tea base which may be irritating to a wide selection of pores and skin sorts.

Hyaluronic Acid

What it’s: I’m a real hyaluronic acid stan, however know that whereas it’s not technically an antioxidant, it does play properly with antioxidant-containing merchandise.

The way it works: When used topically, hyaluronic acid can have a plumping impact on the pores and skin, lowering the visibility of wonderful strains and wrinkles. It moisturizes and supplies construction for cells, supporting improved pores and skin texture and all-around easy pores and skin.

Who ought to use it: Dr. Rueckl recommends hyaluronic acid for anybody no matter age or pores and skin kind, however provides this caveat: “Hyaluronic acid should be in the fitting formulation or it doesn’t take up in any respect!”

Have you ever began incorporating antioxidants into your skincare routine? Tell us which of them are your faves!

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