DAY 4 OF 7
Antioxidants to the Rescue
You hear about antioxidants quite a bit in skin care circles, and for good reason. Antioxidants directly combat signs of skin aging by neutralizing free radicals, which can damage skin cells and inhibit the production of collagen and elastin.
The jury’s still out on which route is most effective at delivering antioxidants to your skin. Since they can play such an important role in skin health (not to mention overall health), we recommend getting them any way you can, whether through food, supplements, or your skin care routine.
Below we delve into some of the most effective topical antioxidants, including products recommended by our dermatologist.
Few ingredients are revered as highly in skin care as vitamin C — aka L-ascorbic acid —, which is renowned for its ability to protect against and repair sun damage. For best results, buy a vitamin C product that:
- has a 10–20% concentration of vitamin C (concentrations higher than 20% may be less effective)
- is a serum, rather than a cream or toner
- also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid (which boosts effectiveness)
- comes in a sealed, opaque container (vitamin C is super sensitive to light and oxygen)
Lastly, Vitamin C serum goes bad 3 months after opening. Toss any expired products ASAP.
Derm pick: SkinCeuticals C+E Ferulic
We rarely recommend a product this expensive. But with an ingredient as unstable as vitamin C, the delivery method is extremely important. And this proprietary SkinCeuticals formula is regarded as the best in the biz.
Vitamin A, aka retinol
Known for brightening the complexion, stimulating collagen production, and fighting acne, retinol is a no-brainer for any skin care routine — but especially for pro-aging goals.
If you’re going to start using a retinol, make sure to:
- Start with a concentration of 0.025%. Apply every few days and gradually increase the strength and frequency of use from there.
- Use it in the evening.
- Follow up with a moisturizer.
- Avoid layering with BHAs, AHAs, hydrogen peroxide, or any other drying ingredients.
Vitamin B3, aka niacinamide
This trending ingredient is great for improving skin firmness and elasticity. It’s also hydrating, so it can improve the appearance of fine lines and roughness. Most importantly, it’s well-tolerated by most skin types and not sensitive to light or oxygen.
Hyaluronic acid is usually raved about for its hydrating properties (it retains 1000% of its weight in water!). A lesser-known but equally important fact about hyaluronic acid is that it’s also a powerful antioxidant.
Today’s challenge: Figure out when you can add more antioxidants into your daily life, either through diet, supplements, or skin care (or all three!).
Time to glow up: Tomorrow we’re back with everything you need to know about hydration, the secret to skin radiance.