Antioxidants for skin can be a powerful weapon in your antiaging skincare arsenal, but not all antioxidants are created equal. Traditional antioxidants, such as vitamins A and E, neutralize only oxygen-based free radicals that are caused primarily by UV exposure. But new studies link environmental pollution's nitrogen-based free radicals to inflammation, acne, and wrinkles. Microscopic carbon particles from air pollution, traffic exhaust, and soot can sink deep into skin's dermal layer releasing collagen-damaging free radicals. More versatile antioxidants, such as those found in Indian gooseberry (amla), neutralize both oxygen- and nitrogen-based free radicals.
"Many topical antioxidants have the ability to protect and repair skin damage caused by free radical production," says dermatologist Debbie Palmer, creator of the Replere antioxidant-based skincare line. In addition to her private practice, Dermatology Associates of New York, Palmer writes and lectures about how antioxidants for skin can improve skin health and appearance. She shares her knowledge here on skin repair solutions for three of the most common concerns:
Using Antioxidants for Skin for:
"Some of the causes of undereye circles include heredity, allergies, eczema, fatigue, thinning of the skin, fat loss, and excess pigmentation," Palmer says. Simple tips she suggests include getting enough sleep; applying chilled tea bags; protecting eyes from UV rays with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses; patting on an eye cream containing the antioxidants vitamins C and E, and coffee fruit (caffeine also constricts blood vessels); and applying a retinol cream before bed.
"My favorite antioxidants to treat epidermal hyperpigmentation, or brown spots, are retinol, glycolic acid, and azelaic acid. I find that using a combination is most effective. I also advise using daily sunscreen; wearing protective clothing; using extra caution near water, snow, and sand; and avoiding tanning beds."
Wrinkles and Sagging skin
"Exposure to the sun's UV rays, smoke, and pollution damages the skin and leads to wrinkle formation and sagging skin. Look for products with the antioxidants vitamins C and E and coffee fruit, retinol, and glycolic acid. I also recommend moisturizers with hyaluronic acid for their firming effects."
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