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Liberty Lab Notes: What Are Antioxidants?

Are You Using Antioxidants?

They’re the protective skincare ingredients that can help ward off environmental damage. So if you’re not already, it’s probably about time you started to use antioxidants
By: Shannon Peter

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Are You Using Antioxidants?

Are You Using Antioxidants?

They’re the protective skincare ingredients that can help ward off environmental damage. So if you’re not already, it’s probably about time you started to use antioxidants

By: Shannon Peter

Are you using antioxidants? If not, now’s your cue to begin. An important component of any skincare routine, this clever ingredient helps to protect skin from all that the day has to throw at it, warding off premature signs of ageing in the process. “Antioxidants have emerged as the true heroes of skincare,” explains Rowan Hall-Farrise, Global Trainer and Facialist for QMS Medicosmetics. But what makes them so heroic? Liberty investigates…

Read More: Rise and shine with the perfect morning skincare routine

What Are Antioxidants?

In skincare, antioxidants are naturally-occurring substances that help to neutralise oxidative damage on the skin’s surface. Their enemy #1? Free radicals.

“Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that wreak havoc on our bodies, causing damage to cells, proteins and even DNA, contributing to ageing, inflammation and various skin concerns,” Hall-Farrise explains. “Free radicals are generated through various sources such as UV radiation, pollution and even internal processes like the metabolism.”

So needless to say, these pesky molecules are everywhere – meaning regular use of antioxidants is necessary to help mitigate their impact. “Antioxidants work by donating an electron to stabilise these free radicals, thereby reducing their potential harm,” Hall-Farrise adds.

What Are the Skin Benefits of Antioxidants?

The short answer to the question ‘what do antioxidants do?’ A lot. But the longer answer is far more interesting than that. The main antioxidant benefits include:

“Firstly, antioxidants offer protection against environmental damage,” explains Hall-Farrise. “Our skin is constantly exposed to harmful environmental factors such as UV radiation, pollution and oxidative stress. When applied topically, antioxidants act as a shield, protecting the skin from these damaging elements.”

“As we age, our skin naturally undergoes a decline in collagen production, leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin,” Hall-Farrise continues. “Antioxidants can help combat these signs of ageing by neutralising free radicals and reducing oxidative stress, promoting a more youthful complexion."

Antioxidants are also widely applauded for their brightening benefits. “Antioxidants can contribute to a brighter and more even skin tone by inhibiting the production of excess melanin, which causes dark spots and hyperpigmentation,” Hall-Farrise explains.

“Antioxidants also possess soothing and calming properties that can help alleviate inflammation and irritation,” Hall-Farrise concludes.

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Which Are the Best Antioxidant Ingredients Used in Skincare?

Many skincare ingredients fall into the antioxidant family, and while they all tend to offer impressive skin results, their specific benefits do differ. For protection benefits, Hall-Farrise highlights vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea extract, whereas resveratrol and retinol are the ones flagged for their anti-ageing effects.

Which are the best antioxidants for brightening? “Certain antioxidants like vitamin C and niacinamide are particularly effective in reducing the appearance of these skin concerns, giving you a more radiant complexion,” Hall-Farrise explains. And as for soothing benefits, she lists chamomile extract, aloe vera and green tea as great choices for sensitive or reactive skin types.

How Do You Use Antioxidants in Your Skincare Routine?

As antioxidants offer such a range of skin benefits, any and every skin type would benefit from introducing them into their morning regime or PM routine. “Remember that antioxidants are most effective when combined with a well-rounded skincare routine that includes regular cleansing, exfoliation, and sun protection,” Hall-Farrise advises. “Look for serums, moisturisers, and creams that prominently feature antioxidants in their formulations.”

Antioxidants work particularly well synergistically, so it’s worth using a few. “For example, combining vitamin C with vitamin E can enhance their overall efficacy and provide enhanced protection against free radicals.”

Read more: Learn how to layer ingredients the right way with these skincare pairings

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