The power of antioxidants has been touted for years, ever since health experts declared the blueberry and red wine your new best friends. In fact, the term “antioxidant” has been used so pervasively in the language, culture and industry of health and nutrition — antioxidant supplements alone represent a $500 million industry — it’s easy to take them for granted, sort of like that really nice guy who’ll drop everything every time to help you move, give you ride, whatever. This is especially true when it comes to skincare — it’s so easy to overlook the humble antioxidant for the sexier bad boys of retinoids, peptides and even growth factors. But as more research emerges, we’re seeing that antioxidants shouldn’t be just an afterthought in our skincare — they need to be the foundation of our regimen.
A brief primer: Antioxidants are molecules that inhibit the oxidation of other molecules caused by UV rays, pollution, smoking and even stress. This oxidation leads to free radicals, which damage DNA as well as lipids and proteins essential to the healthy functioning of skin. Over time, such damage results in accelerated skin aging, like wrinkles, sagging, uneven skin tone and even skin cancer. Antioxidants, the foot soldiers of sorts, gobble up these free radicals. Think of antioxidants as the front line in our battle against aging.
Of course, like everything else, as we age, our natural antioxidant defense mechanisms become less effective. And this is a problem because scientists have discovered that sunscreen — roundly proclaimed as the most important protection against premature aging — only protects the skin from up to 55% of UV-induced free radicals. But if you think that’s scary, consider this: Last year, researchers at Yale University discovered that the damage of UV rays on skin continues well after the sun’s gone down.
So what to do? In skincare, the best way to get your antioxidants is to layer them — after all, everything from vitamins C and E to naturally derived ingredients like green tea and soy have antioxidants, and each type of antioxidant operates in a different way. So making sure to incorporate a variety of antioxidants is like buttressing your skin’s fortress with a cannon and some flaming arrows and a super high wall. Here, five ways to get your antioxidant squad not just protecting your back but from all sides.
- Essence: More than a hydrating toner but lighter than a serum, an essence treatment is generally a bouncy liquid that sinks deep into skin to nourish and repair. Blithe Vital Treatment Essence—5 Energy Roots features five different antioxidant root extracts, from red panax ginseng to Indian lotus leaf, to balance, soothe and awaken depleted skin. Meanwhile, Goodal Waterest Tone Up First Essence, an essence-oil hybrid, contains not only 86% of the super-antioxidant green tea extract but an organic, fermented version, which supercharges the antioxidant effect.
- Serum: If you know anything about skincare, you know that the best way to get the highest concentration of actives into your routine is through a serum. Combine that vehicle with the Tundra Chaga Mushroom, considered to be one of the most potent sources of antioxidants in the world, found in our Blithe Tundra Chaga Pressed Serum, and you’ve got one powerful free radical fighter.
- Moisturizer: Camellia seed oil is renown for its moisture magnet superpowers, and it’s packed with antioxidants. Blossom Jeju gets their oil, found in their 100% Camellia Seed Dry Oil, from the lush ecosystem of South Korea’s largest island, Jeju. And when it comes to the delicate eye area, the most susceptible to early aging, it doesn’t get much better than Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence. This 95% organic eye treatment contains a whole host of antioxidants, from fermented lotus and green tea extracts, to the water-free base of chrysanthemum and aloe vera.
- Facial Mist: UV rays, pollution and stress are constantly attacking our skin throughout the day. Provide another layer of protection by spritzing your face with an antioxidant-rich facial mist, like Soyedodam Organic Ginseng Mist, an organic red ginseng, manuka honey, aloe vera powerhouse. Oh, and it’ll also help hydrate skin during these dry winter months, so you basically have no reason not to mist.
- Sleep Mask: Battle the damage incurred during the day — damage that continues well into the night — with an antioxidant-rich sleep mask, like Goodal Brightening Want Night Sleep Cream Pack. Flush with niacinamide, a clinically effective antioxidant, this overnight mask seals in all the goodness from the products applied before it, diminishing evaporation, maximizing effectiveness and fighting free radicals while you sleep. All you have to do is dream of glowing, brighter skin in the morning.
Because knowing that antioxidants have got your back, even as you snooze — there’s no better beauty BFF than that.
Written by me, originally published on Glow Recipe.