Would you like a skincare product that will help treat hyperpigmentation, boost radiance, build collagen and reduce wrinkles? If yes, then it’s time to add Vitamin C and other antioxidants to your skincare routine. Vitamin C is very beneficial for skin health and is the secret weapon for evening skin tone, especially for people with melanin-rich skin.
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The Key Steps for Healthy Skin
What Are Antioxidants?
Vitamin C and Vitamin E are examples of two antioxidants commonly found in skincare products. Antioxidants work to combat inflammation and free radicals your body makes when it metabolizes oxygen. They are also good for repairing skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet light and boost the effectiveness of sunscreen. Free radicals cause cell damage and DNA dysfunction and destroy collagen and other parts of your skin’s architecture that normally keep it firm and clear. Since we always metabolize oxygen, and are exposed to sunlight, we need to continuously replenish our supply of antioxidants to protect and repair our skin. The good news is our bodies naturally produce enzymes that work as antioxidants, and many plant-based foods contain vitamins that are strong antioxidants.
Antioxidants and Skin Care
Starting with the concept that “beauty comes from within”, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts is a great way to get lots of naturally occurring antioxidants. Beyond that, there are many skincare products that contain antioxidants and use their ability to protect and heal skin at the cellular level to address multiple skin issues including:
- Dark Marks
- Dry Skin
- Uneven Skin Tone, and
- Damage from UV light
People with dark skin tones often develop discolorations and hyperpigmentation after minor skin injuries, so we should regularly use antioxidants to reduce inflammation and help maintain an even skin tone. There are many different types of antioxidants used in skincare products and found in natural face oils, so knowing which ingredients are effective will help you choose the products that meet your needs.
There is a reason why this powerhouse vitamin is found in so many skincare products! In addition to boosting your immune system, Vitamin C supports collagen production and reverses damage caused by daily sun exposure. Look for products with Vitamin C to reduce hyperpigmentation and fight wrinkles and other signs of aging. If treating damaged skin isn’t enough, this powerful antioxidant also protects skin against photoaging and boosts the effectiveness of sunscreen. The chemical name for vitamin C is ascorbic acid, but that form of Vitamin C is unstable when mixed with water and quickly loses its potency. To make sure serums stay effective, many skincare products use more stable forms of Vitamin C such as sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. When shopping for Vitamin C products, look for products stored in opaque and airtight containers that limit air and light exposure, which can reduce Vitamin C effectiveness over time.
This vitamin comes in different forms, but they all include the name tocopherol, which you will see when reading skincare ingredient labels. Like other antioxidants, Vitamin E reduces inflammation and is great for healing scars and dark marks. Vitamin E is often used together with Vitamin C because they are complementary to one another. Vitamin C dissolves easily in water, while Vitamin E dissolves in oils and fats. When used together, they work to provide antioxidant activity to different parts of the skin’s cells and infrastructure.
This antioxidant vitamin is not as well known for skincare as Vitamins C and E. However, it is very effective against dark marks and used in many brightening products and is a natural alternative to hydroquinone. There are different forms of vitamin B3, but the one used in skincare products is niacinamide and is found in products designed to calm skin, fade marks and promote lipid production to help maintain the skin barrier. When used in combination with stable forms of vitamins C and vitamin E it delivers a potent antioxidant mixture for healthy skin.
Natural Sources of Antioxidants
Effective antioxidants also come from a variety of natural sources such as green tea and grapeseeds. Like other antioxidants, they support your skin by reducing free radicals and inflammation to improve skin infrastructure and repair sun damage. You will find products made from plants that list natural antioxidants including resveratrol, polyphenols, and flavonoids. People who like natural skincare products can look for these plant-based ingredients that are wonderful sources of antioxidants.
How to Add Antioxidants to Your Skincare Routine
There a several skincare products that contain Vitamin C and other antioxidants, but the highest concentrations of these ingredients are found in serums. We encourage a skincare routine that follows the three steps: cleanse, treat, moisturize. Antioxidant serums can be used in your “treat” step and applied after cleansing and before applying moisturizer. Since antioxidants help repair skin that has UV light damage, these serums are great to use during the day.
With so many antioxidants available, you may wonder which can be mixed.
- You may notice Vitamin C serums often contain both Vitamin C and Vitamin E. They work well together because Vitamin C dissolves on water, while Vitamin E dissolves in oil, which allows them to work on different parts of skin cells.
- Ferulic Acid is added to many serums. This antioxidant, derived from rice bran and other plants, helps stabilize Vitamin C and improves the photoprotection of antioxidant serums. You won’t find formulas with this ingredient by itself, but it does boost the potency of other antioxidants making them more effective.
- There are a lot of questions about mixing Vitamin B3, or Niacinamide, with Vitamin C. This is because in acidic solutions Niacinamide can be broken down to Niacin, which can cause skin flushing. With that said, these two antioxidants work beautifully together to address common skin problems. In our experience, the biggest challenge with combining these ingredients in a single product is they require solutions at different pH levels for maximum effectiveness. So, mixing the two in the same formula can be a challenge. It is better to have two separate products with Niacinamide and Vitamin C and simply layer them on your skin. They will work together to provide great antioxidant benefits for your skin with little to no interactions from the two ingredients.
Antioxidants are powerful ingredients that come from nature and are meant to fight free radicals. Whether you have dark marks, uneven skin tone, want to build collagen or simply want to boost your glow, you will find that adding antioxidants to your skincare routine will provide real benefits to give you healthy skin. You may have noticed we did not mention Vitamin A…. that’s because it is so important to skin care we decided to focus on it alone. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installment of the 7 Day Challenge, which is all about Vitamin A.