How Antioxidants Fight the Signs of Aging


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Whether you eat antioxidants or put them on your skin, research is clear (and growing by the day) that they’re vital to your health. When applied to skin, antioxidants help thwart environmental damage that slowly changes skin, causing it to look and feel older! Avoiding that is something we’re pretty sure everyone wants to do.

Paula’s Choice Skincare LOVES antioxidants because we know they can work as part of a brilliant skincare routine to soften the look of fine lines and wrinkles. Along with this benefit, antioxidants can help reignite skin’s vitality, vibrancy, and overall healthy look. And when antioxidants are combined in a formula with skin-replenishing and skin-restoring ingredients, they work together synergistically to provide the most optimal results possible so your skin looks better than ever.
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Antioxidant-Rich Skin-Care Products

Antioxidants and the Anti-Aging Connection

Antioxidants have a unique role to play when it comes to diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Years of environmental damage (including unprotected sun exposure—one more reason to apply that broad spectrum sunscreen!) slowly chip away at skin’s natural ability to look and feel healthy. As this damage builds up, skin gradually loses its ability to recover, to bounce back as it once did. It’s not an exaggeration to say that after years of damage, skin becomes overwhelmed, and its “look young systems” begin to slow down.

Antioxidants step in to help shield skin’s surface from further deterioration but they do more, too! Antioxidants can help calm stressed skin and defend against the visible effects of pollution—something all of us encounter on a daily basis.

What happens as a result of taking this step is truly impressive: Skin’s appearance begins to turn around! It regains a firmer feel and more even skin tone—and those wrinkles you’re not fond of can visibly soften.

Don't Look for a Miracle

As beneficial as antioxidants are for skin, you need to know that there isn't one single miracle, antioxidant to hunt down. You’ll come across lots of great stories about antioxidants extracted from melons harvested in the south of France or some rare, self-sustaining flower from the far reaches of the Amazon, but they’re not the answer.

Instead, there are dozens and dozens of effective antioxidants for skin, ranging from familiar ones like green tea, grape extract, or vitamin C, to names you may not be familiar with such as glutathione, epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or superoxide dismutase. What counts is that the product you use contains a variety of these—and the more the better.

Research has shown skin does better with a diverse range of effective antioxidants rather than just one. And this research-supported fact is why Paula’s Choice Skincare continues to use a carefully calibrated concentrated mix of antioxidants in its products, such as serums, targeted solutions and moisturizers. This is one skincare instance where there’s no such thing as too much!

Packaging Matters

Despite their powerhouse abilities, antioxidants are delicate and must be packaged in containers that will ensure they remain effective, or else your skin just isn’t getting their full benefit.

Antioxidants break down in the presence of light and air, meaning that if an antioxidant-rich moisturizer, serum, or other product is packaged in a jar or in clear packaging, it will likely lose its antioxidant benefit within a few weeks (or even days).

What to do? Seek out anti-aging products housed in opaque tubes or bottles, and check to see that the opening of the container is small enough that it will minimize or completely restrict air exposure.

Instant Results?

Although we know that topical application of antioxidants helps to shield skin from ongoing environmental assault, the results aren't going to make you look 20 years younger—and they may take time to show up. Reality check: The claims attributed to these wonderful ingredients are more often than not overblown or a big stretch of what scientific research has shown to be true.

It’s best to think of antioxidants as part of a trifecta of beneficial ingredients you can use in skincare products to get and maintain visibly firmer, youthful-looking skin. Antioxidants should be joined by skin-replenishing ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin plus a range of skin-restoring ingredients like retinol, peptides, and niacinamide. Together, these types of ingredients play a symphony your skin needs to hear—and you’ll love seeing in every time you look in the mirror.

The trick is to be consistent with your skincare routine and make absolutely sure you’re protecting your skin from sun exposure every day with a broad spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater—and of course, it should be brimming with antioxidants, your skin’s new best friend!

The Best Skin of Your Life Starts Here: The same type of in-depth scientific research used to create this article is also used to formulate Paula’s Choice Skincare products. You’ll find products for all skin types and a range of concerns, from acne and sensitive skin to wrinkles, pores, and sun damage. With Paula’s Choice Skincare, you can get (and keep) the best skin of your life! See Paula's Choice Antioxidant Serums.

Information for this article was culled from several scientific publications that routinely report on antioxidants for skin, including:

Free Radical Research, Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, Oxidative Stress and Aging, Journal of Anti-Aging Medicine, Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, Dermatologic Therapy, Ageing Research Reviews, and Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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