Rebecca Treston discusses antioxidants that should be a part of your skincare routine


What does an antioxidant do and which one should I use in my skincare regime?

Antioxidants are the superheroes of skincare and an absolute must if you want to achieve your best possible skin. Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals—think vitamins A, C, E, and green tea—that protect your skin against free radicals, which are molecules in the environment that damage your skin by clinging to your collagen and weakening elasticity. Free Radicals are present due to air pollutants, chemicals, and cigarette smoke, and in essence they suck the life out of your face. The role of antioxidants is to neutralize those free radicals to protect your skin from damage. But that’s not all: Some antioxidants also brighten your skin, calm irritation, and even smooth fine lines. Depending on what you want to achieve skin-wise, there will be a specific antioxidant that you should use.

GREEN TEA is filled with polyphenols that not only scavenge free radicals, but also work as an anti-inflammatory to accelerate wound healing, making it a perfect choice for anyone with rosacea, psoriasis, sensitive skin, and even acne.

VITAMIN C is the ultimate antioxidant for perking up dull, tired-looking skin. As with green tea, it can calm and hydrate your skin, and similar to retinol, it boosts your collagen production to tighten fine lines and smooth uneven skin. But where it really shines is in its brightening powers – it can lighten dark spots and brig hten your overall complexion for a fresher, just-slept-20-hours face.

VITAMIN A is the same thing as retinol—or, rather, retinol is just concentrated vitamin A. This miracle ingredient smooths fine lines, fills in wrinkles, softens bumps and rough patches, brightens skin, fades scars and dark marks, and drastically reduces acne (even hormonal cystic acne). Since you only use retinol at night, you can double it up with other antioxidants in the morning, but avoid using vitamin C along with retinol if you have sensitive, reactive skin, since the combination—even hours apart—can irritate your skin.

VITAMIN E is the popular kid of antioxidants, because it does a little bit of everything, without being too intense. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, a strong shield against free radicals and premature aging, and a pro at keeping skin soft and supple, which is key for preventing scar formation. An added benefit is that it’s even more powerful against free radicals when combined with vitamin C (which is why you’ll see so many vitamin C + E products).