Antioxidants are one of the most powerful ingredients to be included in your skincare regime. Alongside sunscreen, they are invaluable in protecting your skin from premature ageing. Here, we aim to give you all the tools to identify antioxidants in your skin routine & to understand why antioxidants are one of our hero products.
Antioxidants & the Science of Ageing
To understand the importance of antioxidants, you must understand their vital role in slowing down “extrinsic” ageing. The way in which they slow down this ageing process is by neutralising “free radicals”.
Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules, formed as a result of UV radiation exposure, air pollution, smoking, radiation, alcohol use, exercise and exposure to certain heavy metals.
These free radicals contain an unpaired electron, therefore they seek and steal electrons from other molecules including vital molecules in skin cells, leaving them damaged.
Free radicals lead to inflammation, which is believed to play a role in skin ageing.
They not only cause damage but they also increase the production of other enzymes responsible for the breakdown of collagen. Remember collagen is a key skin protein. It keeps your skin strong, plump and line-free. Still confused about terms, refer to our handy skin thesaurus.
Okay, I understand Free Radicals but how do I stop them?
Your body has its own defence mechanism, known as anti-oxidants to fight against free radicals but as we age our body’s natural store of antioxidants decrease. Moreover, exposure to UV radiation speeds up this decrease in our body’s natural anti-oxidant stores. Another reason to never forget to wear sunscreen!
Topical application of antioxidants can result in the creation of an antioxidant ‘bank’ or ‘reserve’. This in turn helps to slow down the ageing process.
There are many antioxidants available, most of those available are believed to work synergistically together and enhance the efficacy of each other.
Vitamin C is one of the most popular antioxidants available. It is an ingredient that should be in almost everyone’s skincare regime.
This is the best antioxidant available but it’s a diva ingredient and to work well as an antioxidant it needs to be a specific concentration, specific pH and formulated in a very precise manner, The ideal concentration is 10-15% L ascorbic acid, pH <3.5 and it needs to be blending with ingredients that stabilise it. The best stabilising molecules to blend with vitamin c are other antioxidants including: ferulic acid, vitamin e, phloretin. By including a precise blend of these ingredients you can increase the potency of your vitamin c by up to 8x its strength!
Vitamin C has an impressive list of benefits to the skin which you can learn more about here.
Vitamin E, or tocopherol is a fat soluble antioxidant which plays a role in preventing skin cancers and photo-damage (ageing caused by UV radiation). An excellent antioxidant in it’s own right but combined with vitamin C the antioxidant protection is x4 greater than using vitamin C alone.
Ferulic acid is an antioxidant found in the cell walls of plants such as rice and oats and the seeds of apples and oranges.
Ferulic acid has the ability to absorb UV radiation, therefore reducing photodamage.
Resveratrol is found in the skin and seeds of grapes, berries, peanuts and red wine. It is often referred to as the “longevity molecule”. It strengthens the skin’s natural antioxidant defence system to help neutralise free radicals, as well as increasing skin firmness and elasticity.
Known for its antioxidant properties, levels of Coenzyme 10 in the body tend to decline with age. A topical version of this antioxidant has been scientifically proven to improve uneven skin tone and winkles and reverse sun damage.
The primary flavonoid used for antioxidant protection is Phloretin. Phloretin is derived from apples and the root bark of fruit trees. It improves uneven skin tone, stabilises Vitamin C and neutralises free radical damage.
More about these in out superhero document but suffice to say this is a true hero. It helps with oil control, wrinkle formation by strengthening the skin and it’s also a powerful antioxidant. Learn more here
This is an antioxidant but it is also an antioxidant up-cycler! This is exactly as it sounds. Glutathione helps to maximise other antioxidants by recycling them. Our bodies naturally produce glutathione but the levels of it decrease with age.
How to store & apply your Vitamin C
Vitamin C in serum form is the most effective in our opinion. We recommend applying a Vitamin C serum every morning after cleansing and toning, before applying thicker creams such as moisturisers and sunscreens.
Vitamin C should be stored in a dark brown or amber bottle to prevent oxidation. Always store your vitamin C serum in a cool, dark place as it will help it last longer. When it is first opened, it will be a pale golden colour. As its exposed to air, it will become a burnt amber colour. It is still safe to use but this change in colour indicates it is losing its effectiveness.