Antioxidants are a type of molecule found in key skincare ingredients that keep your skin protected from damage caused by free radicals — that is, pollutants, smoke, UV rays, stress and chemicals that can cause premature aging. If you’re unsure what exactly this means, or how antioxidants are used, read on to find out more about what antioxidants can do for your skin.
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants protect your skin against free radicals, and can also provide other skincare benefits, such as brightening, moisturizing, and cleansing. Common antioxidants include vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, niacinamide (also called vitamin B3), and vitamin A (which is more commonly known in skincare as retinol). Other compound ingredients, such as green tea, may also contain antioxidants (in the case of green tea, it has polyphenols and flavonoids, two powerful protective substances). Snail secretion filtrate, a key ingredient in Biopelle Tensage Growth Factor products through the development of SCA Biorepair Technology, is also known for its antioxidant properties.
What Do Antioxidants Do?
Primarily, antioxidants work to prevent something called oxidative stress — the damage that free radicals cause. This damage, which results in the breakdown of skin’s collagen and elastin, can take the form of premature aging, inflammation and hyperpigmentation.
Antioxidants both aid in protecting skin and reversing signs of aging and damage. But because antioxidants are primarily protective (and preventative), it can take a while to see a benefit from their use. You will likely begin to see improvements in 30 days.
Many antioxidants have multiple uses. In addition to protecting from free-radical damage, retinol can help clear up acne and smooth out wrinkles, Vitamin C and niacinamide are both known for their ability to brighten skin and dark spots, and vitamin E is highly moisturizing.
Why Use Antioxidants?
Due to how antioxidants act as both a deterrent and remedy for free-radical damage that can cause visible signs of aging, photodamage and other negative outcomes, dermatologists often recommend antioxidants as a cornerstone of any skincare routine. It is recommended that antioxidants be used daily in the AM o they can be absorbed and act as a barrier to environmental damage. Follow your antioxidant serum with moisturizer to act as a protective seal.
The exception to this is retinol serums, which should only be used at night. Otherwise, most antioxidant serums can be used once or twice daily.
What Types of Products Use Antioxidants?
You will likely find antioxidants in almost every step of your skincare regimen, but especially in serums and moisturizers, since a major role of antioxidants is in protecting your skin from environmental damage as you go about your day. Because antioxidants also help to protect you from sun damage, many sunblocks these days also contain antioxidants.
How can I incorporate antioxidants into my routine?
Look for antioxidant products that address concerns that you have about your skin — if you are worried about aging, for instance, you might want to consider retinol products. Keep a special eye out for stable forms of antioxidants that won’t oxidize easily — some forms of vitamin C, for instance, can be highly photosensitive — and store these products out of direct sunlight.
What antioxidant products should I use?
An easy way to incorporate antioxidants into your routine without replacing a product you are currently using is by adding an antioxidant serum. Some recommended serums include:
- Biopelle Tensage Daily Serum ($136) This serum, ideal for all skin types including sensitive skin, contains antioxidants such as niacinamide, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, as well as moisturizing ingredients such as snail secretion filtrate and squalane. It can be used both morning and night.
- Biopelle KNR Serum ($126) This serum — which, because it contains retinol, is best for PM use — contains 4% niacinamide and 2% kojic acid, both powerful skin-brightening antioxidants, along with 0.15% retinol for anti-aging effects.
- Biopelle Retriderm Serum Mild ($84) This gentle retinol serum is great for anti-aging without the irritation that stronger retinol products can cause, and it also contains vitamin E.
- Tensage Antioxidant Defense Serum ($125) This oil-free serum is packed with 10% Vitamin C, ferulic acid and deschampsia antarctica leaf extract, a powerful and newly discovered antioxidant for pollution defense.
You can also incorporate antioxidants into a cream or moisturizer:
- Biopelle Tensage Stem Cell Cream ($180) This night cream, designed for mature and aging skin, contains skin-smoothing peptides and ceramides, along with antioxidants including grape seed extract, Vitamin E, and a particularly stable form of vitamin C called Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate.
- Biopelle Tensage Advanced Cream Moisturizer ($81.50) This moisturizer, which can be used morning or night, includes vitamin E, snail secretion filtrate, and the antioxidant-rich botanical meadowfoam seed oil.