Alastin / 


What are antioxidants? 

In skincare, antioxidants are widely used — and widely praised — for their anti-aging, skin-protecting benefits. But what are antioxidants exactly? Antioxidants can be any substance (naturally occurring or synthetic) that may prevent, delay, or repair damage to the cells that make up our body.1

Antioxidants can be found naturally in many whole foods like fruits and vegetables (think blueberries, sweet potatoes, broccoli, etc.), and they are available as dietary supplements, too. While antioxidants in your diet are beneficial for overall health, when formulated in topical skincare, antioxidants have a number of benefits for the skin as well.

Antioxidants aren’t just good for the skin — in many cases, they are critical. For example, antioxidants like zinc, selenium, and vitamin E in our diet play critical roles in helping new cells to regenerate, and preventing wrinkles from forming.2

To understand the benefits of antioxidants for skin, we need to take a step back and look at free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can do damage to other molecules — and your skin is producing them constantly. This process happens naturally through cellular respiration (aka converting energy to create new skin cells). Free radicals can also be created due to external aggravating factors (think sun damage, pollution, smoking, blue light, and inflammation). 

When free radicals are left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on your skin, damaging cell membranes, amplifying existing issues (or creating new ones), and modifying the structure of DNA. All of this shows up in your skin as signs of stress and aging. Wrinkles, redness, patchy skin, dark spots, rough texture, and more will appear. 

Antioxidants are important because they fight against free radicals. They protect your skin from damage by neutralizing free radicals before they can cause damage. In some cases, antioxidants may also help to reverse existing damage. 

Antioxidants have many proven benefits for skin. Major perks include: 

  • Helping to support the production of elastin and collagen
  • Improving skin hydration
  • Helping smooth skin texture 
  • Reducing the appearance of redness 
  • Protecting against photo-aging (the cause of 90 percent of visible aging) 
  • Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. 

Yes! Another central benefit of topical antioxidants is lightening the look of dark spots and unwanted pigmentation, while helping to create the appearance of brighter, more luminous skin. In some cases, antioxidants can help decrease the production of unwanted pigmentation within the skin, while in others, antioxidants work to help decrease inflammation that can cause dark spots to form.

There are a number of different antioxidants found in daily and procedure skincare products. Some of the most powerful antioxidant ingredients include: 

Arnica montana extract: This naturally derived ingredient is made from the flower of the Arnica montana plant (also known as leopard’s bane or wolf’s bane), and has been shown to help reduce the appearance of inflammation, while calming and soothing the skin.

Products with Arnica montana: 

Bisabolol: Derived from the chamomile plant, this powerful antioxidant has been shown to have antimicrobial properties, while also improving the look of visible signs of aging. 

Products with bisabolol: 

Green tea extract: Made from the green tea plant, this antioxidant (also known as Camellia Sinensis) is used to protect against sun damage, while reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, textured skin, and unwanted pigmentation. 

Products with green tea extract: 

Niacinamide: This form of vitamin B-3 helps prevent moisture loss, encourage hydration, and improve the look of aging skin. 

Products with Niacinamide: 

Phytoene & Phytofluene: These colorless carotenoids have a wide range of anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Products with Phytoene & Phytofluene:

Silver mushroom extract: One of the world’s most powerful anti-aging hydrators, Tremella Fuciformis also has antioxidant properties. 

Products with silver mushroom extract: 

Silymarin: Also known as milk thistle extract, this antioxidant has been shown to help minimize the look of photo-aging. 

Products with silymarin: