Antioxidants play a vital role in skin health and anti-ageing skin care.
Antioxidants are mainstays in the professional skin care industry for good reason. UV radiation and pollution can create reactive oxygen species, or free radicals. These unstable molecules attack skin cells to become more stable, permanently changing the structure of those cells.
By scavenging and deflecting these free radicals, antioxidants help prevent and correct visible signs of ageing and give skin a more youthful glow. Neutralising free radicals allows the skin to protect itself against further damage and even repair the damage caused.
Over the years, we have learned that antioxidants can do more than simply scavenge free radicals before they cause cellular damage. We are learning of the powerful properties of antioxidants to work synergistically to stimulate the production of collagen and stimulate repair of DNA damage to allow for healthy functioning cells and to ward off age-related degeneration.
Antioxidants also reduce inflammation, which impedes the skin’s renewal process. Think of inflammation as the enemy brought on by pollutants, environmental stressors and internal stressors, such as too much sugar or alcohol or lack of sleep. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow skin to repair itself and correct visible damage.
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝗼𝘅𝗶𝗱𝗮𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗻 𝘀𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗲
No matter what stage of life your clients are in, there is always a benefit to using topical antioxidants. Those in their 20s and early 30s will benefit from antioxidants’ ability to protect against UV-induced skin damage and unwanted pigmentation, while those who have damaged skin will benefit from the reparative and collagen-inducing action of antioxidants.
Following are some of the most effective and studied antioxidants that combat the signs of ageing:
𝘝𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘊, 𝘰𝘳 𝘓-𝘢𝘴𝘤𝘰𝘳𝘣𝘪𝘤 𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘥, is a tried- and-true antioxidant with multiple anti-ageing properties. Applied topically, it is effective in protecting skin against UV exposure thereby helping in regulating pigment synthesis, which improves uneven skin tone and skin radiance.
As with most antioxidants, vitamin C also helps hydrate skin so that it is better able to withstand the rigours of daily life and the environment’s impact on how skin looks and feels. Vitamin C stimulates collagen synthesis in the skin, and helps prevent free radical damage, which makes it an ideal ingredient to incorporate daily underneath a sunscreen.
𝘝𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘈, also known as a retinoid, has been the gold standard for anti-ageing skin care for decades with good reason. Vitamin A-derived actives, including retinol, retinyl esters, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate and retinsphere technology, work to not only prevent damage to DNA, but also to reverse the ageing process of the skin.
Vitamin A acts on a cellular level to increase the turnover rate of skin cells, revealing fresh, healthy skin but also, importantly, upregulates the genes for collagen production. This translates into improvement of existing wrinkles and a reduction of wrinkle formation over time. As an added benefit, it also has been shown to unclog congested pores through exfoliation and soften the appearance of the red areas that many people perceive as surface imperfections.
𝘎𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘛𝘦𝘢: When it comes to pure antioxidant capacity, green tea polyphenols are extremely gentle but exhibit 25x to 100x the antioxidant capacity of vitamin C. These natural polyphenols are suitable for all skin types including the most sensitive skin and are naturally anti-inflammatory as well.
This powerful antioxidant calms the skin, reduces excess sebum production and protects against photo ageing. Green tea polyphenols are especially useful around the eyes, where they help to combat dark circles or redness due to fragile blood vessels.
Green tea is easily oxidised when exposed to ambient light and loses efficacy when stored at higher temperatures. As with vitamin C, store these products in a cool, dry place away from direct light to keep the phytochemicals in top condition.
𝘝𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘌, 𝘰𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘱𝘩𝘢-𝘵𝘰𝘤𝘰𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘰𝘭, is another valuable antioxidant that promotes healthy blood circulation in the skin. It works along with other antioxidants to protect cell membranes and prevent damage to enzymes associated with them, while helping to reduce sun damage. Vitamin E is included in many formulas to enhance the efficacy of other actives, particularly vitamin C.
𝘝𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘯 𝘉𝟥 𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘪𝘷𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘴, such as niacinamide and nicotinamide are anti-inflammatory ingredients that also help prevent UV-induced skin damage, making them popular antioxidant actives for clients with acne and rosacea. They also help skin retain moisture and enhance DNA repair.