If I had to prioritise my beauty routine, it would be 1. Sunscreen, everyday, 2. Hydration, and 3. Antioxidants. Just like I load up my diet with superfoods to boost my health, I pack my skincare routine with potent antioxidants that will help to protect, replenish and restore my skin.
This is my skincare religion year round, and especially during the summer months when I love spending as much time as possible outdoors.
So why are antioxidants important?
You’ve heard about free radicals, right? These are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to DNA, proteins and lipids. They can come from processes in your body, or from outside sources like pollution, cigarette smoke, or the ozone.
Antioxidants help to defend your cells against free radicals. They basically scavenge free radicals, neutralizing them so that they can’t cause damage in your body. In this way antioxidants can significantly slow down the ageing process.
Which antioxidants should you look for?
Antioxidants can be added to skincare products in their pure form, or through natural ingredients that are a potent source of these vitamins. Here are just a few of my top rated antioxidants.
Vitamin A (Retinol)
Known as the diva of anti-aging, retinol is a seriously potent antioxidant that has the potential to speed up cell renewal, as well as improving your skin tone, skin texture and moisture balance. In most cases it’s best to use retinol in the evenings since it can make you more sensitive to sunburn,. You should also always apply sunscreen during the day.
Want to start using retinol? Read this article first.
Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid)
Vitamin C is another superstar ingredient and one I love for summer. It helps to even your skin tone, shield you from pollution, improve hydration and of course fight ageing. Look for Ascorbic or L-Ascorbic acid, Vitamin C in it’s most potent form. Vitamin C is especially potent when combined with Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid.
Our skin makes Vitamin D when we’re exposed to sunlight – which is why it’s known as the sunshine vitamin. It can also be added through a diet high in healthy fats, and through skincare. Vitamin D can help to soothe the skin, boost barrier function and prevent damage to your skin’s structure.
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
Vitamin E works hard to defend your skin against pollution and environmental stress. Vitamin C and Vitamin E are a particularly powerful tag team. Where Vitamin C works mainly on the surface of the skin, Vitamin E goes deeper.
Ferulic Acid is especially fantastic during summer, helping to protect the skin against sun damage and free radicals. It is also said to stabilise other antioxidants like Vitamin C that can easily oxidise, so it increases their potency.
A few of my favourite antioxidant boosters
Keen to introduce antioxidants into your routine? Here are a few products that are worth a try.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Treatment
R2 225 for 30ml, dermastore.co.za
This is one of my top rated antioxidant serums. Formulated to be used during the day, it contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Alpha Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Ferulic Acid, which all work together to fight environmental damage. The Vitamin C is this serum also remains active in the skin for 72 hours after application so you’re getting long-lasting activity. The serum helps to treat sensitised, dehydrated skin, discolouration and signs of ageing.
Environ Focus Care Comfort+ Antioxidant Gel
R435 for 50ml, environskincare.com
This gel formula contains a blend of Beta-Carotene, the plant form of Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which all work to protect the skin from pollution and environmental stress. It also has a cooling, hydrating quality that makes it ideal for sensitive skins. You’ll use this as a serum after cleansing and before your moisturiser, or you can use it on its own as a moisturiser.
Dermalogica Intensive Moisture Balance
R889 for 50ml, dermalogica.co.za
This moisturiser is loaded with antioxidants and nourishing ingredients that help to balance dry skin. It’s ideal to use alongside a more intense antioxidant serum to double up on the potency. While this moisturiser is ultra hydrating, it still has a lightweight, comfortable consistency that makes it fantastic for summer as well.
R225 for 100ml, esseskincare.com
This all-natural facial spritz helps to hydrate the skin and protect it from environmental aggressors. It contains Olive Leaf Extract to combat the negative effects of pollution and sun damage, and Rooibos Leaf Extract with potent anti-oxidant protection. It also balances the skin to a pH 4.5, creating a perfect environment for beneficial microbes.
Sk.in Gloss Radiant Shot
R1 300 for 30ml, skiningredients.com
sk.in is a new line of powerful skincare products by Dr Alek Nikolic. This serum delivers a potent shot of Vitamin C alongside hydrating Hyaluronic Acid, soothing Niacinamide and nourishing Vitamin E. Together these help to counter environmental damage while dealing with hyperpigmentation and ageing. If you’re new to Vitamin C, you’ll start by using it every third morning, and then slowly increasing use as your skin adapts. Apply it after cleansing and before your moisturiser.
Dr. Brandt Power Dose D
R950 for 17,7ml, justskinclinic.co.za
This serum works to stimulate the natural production of Vitamin D in the skin, helping to strengthen your skin barrier, boost hydration and increase radiance. So you get that sunny glow without having to exposure your skin to damaging sunlight.
Any questions or suggestions about antioxidants? Pop them in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you.