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The Best Antioxidants for Aging Skin, According to Dermatologists

We asked dermatologists to recommend the best antioxidants for your skin to try—and which products pack the most antioxidant punch.
By Dermspotlight Staff,
Updated November 19, 2020
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Do Antioxidants Help with Sun Damage and Wrinkles?

It’s really important to take good care of your skin over time if you want to slow down the signs of age like wrinkles and fine lines. This means following a consistent skin care routine every day, eating well and drinking lots of water, and protecting yourself from the sun’s damaging rays. The sun can age your skin faster and can cause incredible harm over time if you don’t wear sunblock every day.

If you want to protect yourself from sun damage and other signs of age, it’s key to use high-quality skin products. A good cream with anti-aging ingredients can do a lot to enhance your skin if it has the right ingredients. One thing you should always look for in a skin product is antioxidants.

What are Antioxidants & How Do they Help your Aging Skin

Antioxidants are molecules in the body which are a defense system, killing harmful free radicals. These are compounds that develop when you’re exposed to harmful substances, UV rays, and when your body breaks down food.

They create oxidative stress which could lead to the development of illnesses like cancer and heart disease over time. They also break down collagen, which leads to additional aging including sagging skin. That makes it quite crucial that we use enough antioxidants on skin.

Free radicals also have an impact on the skin, leading to signs of age like wrinkles and fine lines. Therefore, antioxidants for the skin are important. They break down the harmful compounds that age the epidermis. In addition, they also reduce areas of pigmentation and enhance the skin’s general immunity.

Are Antioxidants Good for You?

Antioxidants are good for you in pretty much every way. They enrich your skin, and they elevate your immune system. These molecules are very healing for the body, protecting it from harm and repairing the damage.

Besides using skin products, you should also consume lots of antioxidant-rich foods such as vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and chocolate. There are a number of fruits with antioxidants (1). In terms of vitamins, C and E are the highest in antioxidants and very important to consume.

Where Do Antioxidants Come From?

We have antioxidants naturally in our bodies, which serve as our own natural defense system against free radicals. All plant and animal life has its own antioxidant system; therefore, we can derive them from eating plant and animal foods and taking supplements.

Do Antioxidants Prevent Sunburn?

Antioxidants for skin do decrease the harmful effects of UV rays and prevent signs of aging from developing due to sun damage. In addition, they can help to prevent sunburn. Research suggests that in particular, polyphenols are very effective at staving off the effects of the sun.

These molecules are in chocolate, grape seeds, wine, and green tea. They also have potent anti-inflammatory properties which can lessen the facial redness and swelling on the skin from sunburn (2).

However, remember that this does not mean that antioxidants are a substitute for sunblock. You still need a cream to completely block out UV rays. Include both sunblock and an anti-aging cream with antioxidants in your regimen.

Will Antioxidants Reverse Skin Aging?

Antioxidants for skin can reverse the signs of aging. Their ability to kill free radicals and lessen oxidative stress repairs damage to the skin, including forehead wrinkles and fine lines, and areas of pigmentation. This leads to a more youthful-looking appearance. The best way to derive antioxidants for the skin is by using a good quality organic face cream or a serum. Check the ingredients carefully because you want to make sure the product has a high amount.

Which Antioxidants are Best for Skin Aging?

There are a number of antioxidants that you’ll find in skin creams that are very enriching and effective at getting rid of the signs of aging. We asked dermatologists to recommend the best antioxidants to try—and which products pack the most antioxidant punch. These are some of the popular antioxidants examples to look out for:

  • Vitamin C – This potent antioxidant can kill free radicals and lessen oxidative stress, and it can also enhance the production of collagen. This makes the skin firmer and more elastic and can smooth out wrinkles and fine lines. Vitamin C can also lighten areas of pigmentation (3).
  • Retinol – This is Vitamin A. It can delve deep down into the skin, killing free radicals. It stimulates the production of collagen, which firms the skin and makes it more elastic. This can smooth wrinkles on the skin. In addition, it assists with cell renewal and regrowth. It stimulates new blood vessel growth under the skin, which can enhance your skin color (4).
  • Vitamin E – This is one of the antioxidants vitamins which is essential for the functioning of the body. It prevents skin aging by killing free radicals, and it can also speed up healing. Additionally, it’s used to treat a number of skin conditions such as burns, surgical scars, and wounds (5).
  • Flavonoids – These substances are found in antioxidant drinks such as green and black teas. They are particularly useful for deflecting sun damage by absorbing UV rays. They also lessen oxidative stress, which can prevent collagen breakdown. In addition, flavonoids are high in anti-inflammatory benefits which diminishes swelling and redness on the skin (6).
  • Polyphenols – You can find these in vegetables, fruit, chocolate, and antioxidant drinks like green tea. They can slow down skin aging, and there’s some evidence they can protect against developing cancer. They provide protection against UV damage. Polyphenols are also high in anti-inflammatory properties and are very healthy for the immune system (7).
  • Coenzyme 10 – This exists naturally in the body, but it lessens as we get older. This can lead to signs of age on the skin. This antioxidant kills damaging free radicals on the skin. It also helps stimulate collagen production, firming the skin, and smoothing out wrinkles and fine lines. Therefore, coenzyme 10 can give you an overall more youthful appearance (8).
  • Niacinamide – This substance kills damaging free radicals on the sensitive skin, helping to eliminate the signs of ago. It is particularly effective at improving the tone and texture of the skin. It’s also used to treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne (9).

What’s the Best Antioxidant Face Cream?

It’s difficult to pinpoint one face cream as the best brand on the market because there are many high-quality products. In addition, consider an antioxidant serum. Before you purchase a product, check that the manufacturer is reputable. Consider if the price is something you can afford.

Look carefully at the ingredients to make sure they are high quality, rich in antioxidants, and don’t have anything you are allergic to. If you have a reaction to a cream, stop using it right away and see a dermatologist if necessary.

Conclusion

Antioxidants are one of the best ingredients you can give to your skin, especially if you want to protect yourself from sun damage and diminish the signs of age. They kill harmful free radicals that can lead to collagen loss and skin breakdown. This causes wrinkles and frown lines that you can fix with a regular dose of antioxidants.

When you’re shopping for a good anti-aging face cream, look for substances like Vitamins C or E, Coenzyme 10, flavonoids, polyphenols, or niacinamide. These are just a few examples of the many antioxidants that exist in nature. In addition, remember to consume antioxidants in food. With these ingredients, your skin will be looking youthful and radiant in no time.

Antioxidants are also safe, and you can’t get too much of them. Lather your face in one of these luxurious creams on a daily basis and your wrinkles will disappear.

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Michelle May, MS, RD, LD

By Michelle May, MS, RD, LD

Experienced Clinical Dietitian with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverage industry.