Antioxidants Buying Guide

Antioxidants are everywhere these days--blueberries, enhanced water, face wash, eye creams, vitamin supplements, etc etc. Now that antioxidants are associated with beauty, internal health, and external youth, you should really have an idea what all the buzz is about. This guide is designed to help you understand the hype, navigate the chemist's shelves, and find the perfect product for you. 

Antioxidants, such as vitamin A, E, and C, zinc, selenium, caretonoids and flavonoids, are nutrients that neutralize oxidation and fight free radical damage that occurs inside the body. Antioxidants can be taken orally via food or supplements . Antioxidants are more and more frequently found in skin care products , such as moisturiser , which when applied topically, may help protect the skin against further free radical damage.

The Facts

  • Antioxidants are well known to provide health benefits when ingested (See Skin Supplements) and should be your first line of defence against ageing along with a well-balanced diet.
  • There is much debate over whether or not antioxidant products applied topically can produce the same benefits.
  • It is mostly agreed that topical application can protect the skin and supply it with larger than average doses of antioxidants that will absorb into the skin and remain there for several days. While this sounds great, the problem still remains that in order to have this effect on the skin, the antioxidants must be formulated in the perfect concentrations and in such a way that they remain perfectly stable.

There are four main antioxidants that you should consider including in your anti-ageing skin regimen, which are described below. Other, more trivial ingredients include green tea  (polyphenols), aloe vera ,rosa mosqueta ,kinetin ,hyaluronic acid ,alpha lipoic acid  and fruit acids .

Vitamin C : Vitamin C, a common vitamin found in cosmetic products, is an antioxidant meant to strengthen and even promote the production of the skin's collagen. The most important factor in choosing antioxidant vitamin C products is making sure that the vitamin C is in L-ascorbic acid form, which is the only truly effective form of the vitamin. Do not buy products that use ascorbyl palmitate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, which do nothing to affect collagen. Also be certain that the product you are buying is sealed in an air-tight container that is dark or opaque so that it cannot be affected by sunlight.

Vitamin E : Vitamin E is a major antioxidant and emollient known for protecting against cancer, promoting a healthy heart and healing scars among other things. Since it cannot be produced by the body it must be supplied via food or supplements. It is also known to be very effective when applied topically. Note that it belongs to the tocopherol family of drugs and that many beauty products will claim to contain tocopherol although it is often artificial. Only the natural form of vitamin E is acceptable as an efficient antioxidant.

Copper Peptides : Copper Peptides are considered to be a potentially powerful antioxidant which has properties that can heal and protect the skin from environmental damage. Peptides contribute to improving the skin's elasticity, stimulating collagen formation and elastin production.  (Note: Copper peptides and Vitamin C skin care products can not be used simultaneously or they nullify the effect of each other.  Simply use at different times of the day.)

Vitamin A : Vitamin A (beta-carotene) is a retinoid and a deficiency of this vitamin leads to dry skin. Not only does it play a part in healthy skin, but it also performs a variety of other functions in keeping the body healthy from vision to bone growth and even your immune system.

Choosing Antioxidant Products

  1. Topical antioxidants can be very pricey, costing as much as $600 (think of the 1.4 ounce Kanebo Sensai Premier The Cream ). Only you know how much is realistically within your budget and how much you are willing to spend on a beauty product that may or may not be worthwhile.
  2. Stick to common antioxidants that are known for their efficacy, such as vitamin E, C and selenium, and leave the less researched ingredients alone, especially if they cost an arm and a leg.
  3. Opt for moisturisers and serums rather than cleansers. Since they are able to absorb into the skin completely, you can be sure that the antioxidants will have time to work. Cleansers on the other hand are just going to get washed off.
  4. In order to select an effective product, make sure that the concentration of the active antioxidant ingredient is identified.

Top Picks

Less Expensive

Kiss My Face Moisturizer Olive & Aloe 

St. Tropez Ultimate Rapide Face Cream 

Alaffia Rooibos & Shea Antioxidant Face Cream 

Vita-C Max One Minute Facial 

ESPA Regenerating Moisture Complex 


Vichy Myokine 

Clinique Superdefense Triple Action Moisturizer SPF 25 

The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Cream 

Neroli Face Cream 

Healing Anthropology Rejuvenating Face Cream 

Top of the Line

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel Kit 

MD Skincare Hydra-Pure Antioxidant Firming Serum 

Murad Essential-C Daily Renewal Complex 

Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer 

Estee Lauder Resilience Lift Overnight 

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