All About Antioxidants: How to Keep Your Skin Protected

Antioxidants are often celebrated as some of the best skincare ingredients out there. Many experts consider them an essential part of a good regimen for the protective benefits they offer.  

Yet despite all the praise, it’s not always clear exactly what antioxidants are or how they work.  

In this blog, we’ll provide you with a no-nonsense guide to antioxidants, explain how these powerful compounds work, and walk you through how to choose the right antioxidants for your skin. 

What are antioxidants? 

The word ‘antioxidant’ is a catch-all term that applies to a wide range of molecular compounds. What they all have in common is that they neutralise harmful compounds known as free radicals and prevent them from causing damage.  

Antioxidants are essential for bodily health and integrity and protect the body from disease, inflammation, and premature ageing. Many antioxidants are produced naturally by the body while others are acquired from food intake or supplements. In topical skincare, they are used to protect the skin from environmental pollutants.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do antioxidants work? 

To explain in detail how antioxidants work, we must first explain the concept of oxidative stress. 

Both inside and outside of our bodies, there exist highly reactive molecules known as free radicals. A subset of free radicals are reactive oxygen species (ROS), which contain oxygen as part of their make-up.  

Free radicals are reactive because they have unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so free radicals essentially ‘attack’ other molecules in order to steal an electron from them.  

The robbed molecule will then become an unstable free radical itself, setting off a chain reaction. When these reactions occur in our bodies, they cause damage on a cellular level. 

To deal with the presence of these unstable molecules, the body naturally produces antioxidants. Antioxidants have an extra, unpaired electron that they can give to free radicals, stabilising them and stopping the chain reaction.  

In essence, antioxidants neutralise harmful free radicals and prevent them from reacting with, and damaging, other parts of our cells.  

Oxidative stress occurs whenever there is an imbalance between the amount of free radicals in our bodies and the amount of antioxidants we have to neutralise them.  

When the body is exposed to too many free radicals at once, the unchecked reactivity can cause damage to DNA, proteins and lipids, potentially having devastating effects on the health and appearance of our skin. 

Oxidative stress can be caused by both internal and external factors, such as UVA and UVB exposure, environmental pollutants, stress, or inadequate diet. Essentially, for one reason or another, oxidative stress occurs when you are exposed to more free radicals than your body can naturally handle. 

When you apply antioxidant-rich skincare, you boost your body’s natural defences and combat oxidative stress by helping your skin deal with the presence of excess free radicals. 

Preventing damage from environmental pollutants and oxidative stress can have a significant and transformative effect on your skin’s health and appearance.  

What do antioxidants do in skincare? 

Our skin is the interface between our bodies and the environment, making it the first line of defence against environmental aggressors. Factors such as UV radiation in sunlight or environmental pollutants (such as ozone or contaminants from exhaust fumes) all put us at risk of oxidative stress by exposing us to free radicals.  

Applying antioxidant-rich skincare provides an additional line of defence, one that helps counteract the effects of free radicals by providing additional molecules for pollutants to interact with, thus neutralising potential harmful effects.  

Regular use of antioxidant skincare can have many long-term benefits, including: 

  • Addressing skin pigmentation 
  • Helping to prevent the signs of ageing, including wrinkling and sagging 
  • Improving skin texture and complexion 
  • Enhancing the skin’s ability to repair and rejuvenate itself 

Antioxidants that are commonly used in skincare include: Vitamin A (retinol), Vitamin B3 (niacinamide), Vitamin C, resveratrol, caffeine, and Vitamin E 

Which antioxidants should I use? 

We recommend using the following products to keep your skin protected from oxidative stress: 

Next Level – this AM-only serum is our number one choice for those who want a targeted dose of antioxidants. It contains three types of Vitamin C to shield your skin from harmful environmental pollutants and is suitable for most skin types. 

Glam Squad – this lightweight, water-based Vitamin B and Hyaluronic Acid serum is enriched with antioxidants such as niacinamide to provide a hydrating and protective boost to the skin. Glam Squad is suitable for all skin types and can be easily incorporated into most skincare regimens. 

Dream Team – this serum’s hero ingredient is encapsulated retinol, a powerful compound that has a number of effects, including stimulating skin cell turnover and promoting healthier and more youthful-looking skin. As a form of Vitamin A, retinol is also a potent antioxidant that can provide protection to the skin. It is recommended for those seeking more advanced skin protection and anti-ageing benefits. 

Superhero – this lightweight antioxidant wrinkle defence cream is the recommended moisturiser for those prioritising antioxidant protection. Containing a rich blend of protective ingredients, including resveratrol, niacinamide, Vitamin C, and caffeine, Superhero is the perfect choice to seal in your skincare regimen with a protective layer.  

Eye Do – for those who want antioxiNexdant protection that is targeted to the eye area, look no further than Eye Do. This bestselling cream contains the powerful antioxidants Copper Peptide Complex and Dark Circle Complex that provide protection while targeting the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles. For the ultimate eye treatment, apply Eye Do in the AM and our retinol eye cream Eye Dream in the PM. 

If you have any further questions about antioxidants and how to incorporate them into your regimen, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our dermal clinicians will be happy to discuss your regimen with you. Simply visit here to book a consult. Alternatively, you can take our Skin Quiz at libertybellerx.com.au to narrow down which products are right for you. 

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- DR CHRIS MOSS MB BS, DIP. ANAT., FRACS   PLASTIC SURGEON