Antioxidants: Why Two (or More) Are Better Than One

If you’re serious about skin care, you know that antioxidants are one of the cornerstones of a good regimen. And while most antioxidants can be used as a single agent, studies have shown that they work best as a team. You only have to look to nature to see that plants, including fruits and vegetables, contain many different phytonutrients—the source of antioxidants. These phytonutrients serve various functions in plants – some protect against UV radiation while others protect it from insects—all of which work together to protect the plant’s vitality.

The same applies to skin care where antioxidants combat the free-radical damage that is responsible for the visible (and hidden) signs of aging, but also enhance the effectiveness of sunscreens in preventing sun damage. Indeed, during the day, combining antioxidants with sun protection is a strong defense against many signs of aging, including wrinkles, dullness, and discoloration. At night, dosing your skin with a range of antioxidants can promote cellular repair and healing.

Many trendy antioxidants show up in skin-care lines, but they don’t need to be exotic or have a good marketing story to work well. Roots used by the ancient Aztecs or berries from the Amazonian rain forest aren’t the only effective ingredients. What matters most is treating your skin to a variety of antioxidants that are potent, stable and well-researched. Skin benefits most when several antioxidants are applied together, much the same way that eating a varied diet filled with a range of fruits and vegetables is better for you than eating only kale.

While it’s clear that there are many effective antioxidants, some have more research to back up their use:

  1. Vitamin E. Often listed as tocopherol or tocotrienols, Vitamin E is one of the most well-known antioxidants, available in both natural and synthetic forms. Research shows that both the tocopherol or tocotrienol form provides significant antioxidant benefits to skin, but that the natural forms are more potent and are better absorbed better by skin than the synthetic forms.   Vitamin E works in several different ways to protect cell membranes from oxidative damage and from the early stages of ultraviolet light damage. It is very powerful when combined with vitamin C.   We like Apothekari Undercover Agent.
  2. Vitamin C. Listed as ascorbic acid, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, amongst others, it’s a potent antioxidant that is very useful for treating wrinkles, dullness, and brown spots. It can strengthen the skin’s barrier response and reduce inflammation.   It is highly susceptible to degradation upon exposure to light and air so should be packaged appropriately.   Try Apothekari Super C Serum.
  3. Resveratrol. This potent antioxidant is found in red grapes, red wine, nuts, and fruits such as blueberries and cranberries.   When applied topically, resveratrol protects against sun damage, improves collagen production, and reduces cell damage. It also is anti-inflammatory properties making it useful in skin issues including acne, rosacea and eczema.
  4. Retinoids. Oh how we love retinoids (retinaldehyde, retinol and prescription retinoic acids) and all things Vitamin A for the skin! This long established ingredient is not only an antioxidant but also helps create better, healthier skin cells and increase the production of skin-support substances such as collagen, ceramides and glycosaminoglycans (a skin-protecting substance found in young skin). The regular use of retinoids results in in firmer skin with an improved texture and enhanced barrier function.   Our top selling Apothekari A is for Anti-Aging and Green Cream are both high potency and effective retinoid formulations.
  5. Green Tea. This potent antioxidant comes with a range of health benefits, including anti-aging benefits due to its epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG) content.  EGCG extract has been shown to prevent collagen breakdown and reduce UV damage to the skin when applied topically. It is also very effective at reducing inflammation. The benefits of green tea also apply to black and white tea.

When it comes to using antioxidants on your skin, applying a combination of these skin beneficial ingredients along with sunscreen can deliver significant results. Sure, they’re not as sexy as French melons harvested at dawn, but research shows that they work!