“Antioxidant serums help protect the skin from the free radicals it is exposed to daily. They also help prevent fine lines and other visible signs of aging and can heal and repair the skin,” he said. Jaliman. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and cause premature aging.
Skin types to use: Since we are regularly expose to free radicals, antioxidant serums are ideal for all skin types. Just be sure to take a look at the ingredients to make sure a serum doesn’t contain any potentially irritating ingredients to your skin type. Perfumes, dyes, sulfates, and, in some cases, citrus or mint can irritate.
Ingredients to look for: Vitamins A, C and E, resveratrol, niacinamide, melatonin and L-ascorbic acid.
Remember: “I generally recommend that my patients apply vitamin C serums in the morning under their sunscreen for extra UV protection,” Zeichner said.
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How to Find the Best Antioxidant Serum for your Skin Type
Look for Key Players: “The best antioxidants to try are backed by most research and clinical trials,” says Sapna Palep, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology in New York City. These include:
- Vitamin A (retinol or retinoic acid) is a powerful anti-aging agent and great for acne-prone skin. “Retinols help unclog pores by preventing dead skin cells from clogging them,” says Dr. Kaminska.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has other practical abilities besides being a free radical scavenger, such as increasing collagen production and discoloration of dark spots, says Dr. Kaminska.
- Vitamin E (tocopherol) has anti-inflammatory properties that even out skin tone, improves texture, and brightens the skin. “It also contains moisturizing properties that can soothe dry or sensitive skin,” says Dr. Kaminska.
- Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) is another powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant that can help reduce skin irritation and signs of aging, says Dr. Kaminska, including fine lines, skin tone, and texture.
- The polyphenols in green tea have severe anti-inflammatory properties that can even out skin tone, reduce dark spots, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Resveratrol contains skin-soothing properties that can help reduce redness and even skin tone.
- Curcumin can also help fight acne due to its antibacterial properties.
Watch out for Irritants
If you’re dry or sensitive, “be careful about using retinol-based antioxidants,” says Dr. Kaminska, because one of the most common side effects of vitamin A is excessive dryness and excessive dryness. The same goes for vitamin C, which can cause stinging and redness until your skin adjusts.
Sensitive skin should also look for products that do not contain fragrances or preservatives, as both can cause skin irritation. Consistency matters too. Choose a lighter-textured antioxidant serum if you have acne-prone skin (check “oil-free” or “non-comedogenic” on the label, Dr. Palep says) or thicker formulations if your skin is dehydrated.
Build Your Tolerance – Reactions like those mentioned above can be minimized by starting with a lower concentration of the antioxidant and increasing your intake or increasing your use of the moisturizer during the adjustment period.
Packaging is Everything
“Consumers should be aware of packaging,” says Rina Allah, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist at Montgomery Dermatology in Philadelphia. “An opaque and airtight bottle to prevent oxidation is vital.” This helps protect antioxidants from environmental elements that can cause them to break down faster, such as air and UV rays, thus extending the shelf life of your product.
Expect a Higher Price
Due to the complexity of formulating an effective antioxidant serum, they are generally price higher than other skincare products. “The quality, the proportions, the stability of the ingredients used, and the research can influence the price,” says Dr. Kaminska.
Some Good Options
- Tarte Youth Or Dare Multi-Acid & C Serum, $ 42, Sephora
Treat fine lines and grayness with vitamin C, glycolic acid, and hyaluronic acid
- La Roche-Posay Anthelios Daily Antioxidant Serum 50 AOX, $ 37 (usually $ 43), Amazon
Get double the protection against free radicals with a boost of Antioxidant Serums and a potent dose of SPF 50 in this daily serum.