If you’ve been converted to using sunscreen year-round (bravo!), you’ll be glad to hear that this one ingredient will make your sun protection product work even better. We’re talking about antioxidants and how they work hand-in-hand with your favorite sunscreen to fortify your skin against the harmful rays of the sun, 365 days a year.
The Difference Between A Sunscreen and an Antioxidant
Sunscreens work by either physically shielding the skin from the sun and deflecting harmful rays or by absorbing the UV radiation before converting it and releasing it as harmless energy. The truth, however, is that sunscreen cannot protect you from 100% of the sun’s rays. This is where antioxidants come into play.
The radiation that gets past your sunscreen can trigger free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have lost an electron due to exposure to the sun’s UV rays. In order to re-stabilize, the free radicals bounce around, trying to bond to other atoms or molecules, often stealing an electron along the way. This creates a chain reaction of instability, resulting in oxidative stress and damage to cells. For the skin, free radical damage can cause an acceleration of skin aging in the form of wrinkles, dark spots and sagging. Antioxidants do their work by loaning an electron to the free radicals, giving them stability and inhibiting the oxidative process, which can damage otherwise healthy cells.
How Antioxidants Boost Sunscreen Power
Sunscreen and antioxidants are two halves of an equation that add up to maximum protection against sun damage and premature aging of the skin. While sunscreen can protect the skin from up to 98% of the sun’s harmful rays, antioxidants limit or slow down the damage that can result from the radiation that slips past your sunscreen’s defences. When used at night, antioxidants work to repair any damage that may have been caused by sun exposure.
Choosing an Effective Antioxidant
There are many antioxidants that benefit the skin, such as niacinamide, resveratrol and polyphenols. We love all antioxidants but our favorites are vitamins C and E, especially when it comes to protecting from and correcting sun damage. We’ve talked about how antioxidants work better in combinations and when it comes to boosting your sunscreen power, research shows that vitamins C and E are greater than the sum of their parts when protecting against UVA and UVB rays.
Although some sunscreen formulations contain antioxidants, you’d be hard pressed to find one offering a significant concentration. Like a daily one-two punch against sun damage, layering your sunscreen and a stand-alone antioxidant serum not only boosts the effectiveness of sun filters but also fights free radical damage from sun exposure, pollution and other environmental stressors. Our favorite is Apothekari Bespoke Vitamin C serum. While vitamins C and E are the stars of the show, Apothekari’s formula also includes an arsenal of other antioxidants such as green tea extract to further enhance its already impressive benefits. And because Bespoke is made-to-order, you can be assured that the treatment you receive is stable, active and safe to use.
Delivering the best possible results for you skin with products that are effective and safe: that’s Apothekari’s goal. Find out more about getting healthy, beautiful skin in our recent blogs.
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