Antioxidant Serums: The Lowdown
Ok, we’ve all heard the words before but what do antioxidant serums actually do? Do they help with anti-ageing? Which is the best antioxidant serum for normal skin? Or oily skin? I’m 28, should I be using one? I’m 68, should I?
The questions are endless so let’s see how many we can answer!
What is an antioxidant serum?
Our clients often ask us ‘what does vitamin C serum do for the skin?’, however vitamin C is not the only antioxidant available.
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Ferulic Acid
Antioxidants are molecules that protect other molecules from oxidation. The benefit in skincare is that they ‘mop up’ free radicals (no this is not a band, next section will explain all!).
What causes free radicals? How are free radicals harmful to the skin?
Free radicals are formed by exposure to UV radiation from the sun, pollution, chemicals and cigarette smoke. They are aggressive molecules that destroy healthy skin cells leading to premature skin ageing.
They do this by:
- Accelerating the inflammatory cascade
- Increasing the number of melanin producing cells
- Increasing sebaceous gland activity
- Accelerating degradation of collagen
What does this mean for our skin?
The results of free radical damage include:
- Skin laxity and loss of firmness
- Redness and inflammation
- Uneven skin tone and pigmentation
- Blemishes and breakouts
Thank goodness for antioxidants!
What does antioxidant serum do?
Efficient antioxidant serums neutralise free radicals rendering them inactive. Hooray! This strengthens the skin’s internal defence against environmental aggressors such as UVA, UVB, Infrared-A rays and pollution and allows the skin to self-repair for visible anti-ageing correction.
So antioxidant serum should be a very important part of your skin care regime, at any age and with any skin type, as a preventative measure to ageing. If you are teaming yours up with a good sunscreen then give yourself a pat on the back as the double defence against ageing that you are gifting your skin is really powerful!
What is the best antioxidant for skin?
Well, let’s have a look at what they do individually.
Vitamin C is known for its skin brightening properties. It is also anti-inflammatory and stimulates the production of lovely collagen.
Vitamin E gives the skin a hug as it is nourishing and aids repair.
Ferulic Acid is a plant antioxidant which binds other antioxidants together.
Phloretin, from the skin of green apples, helps with pigmentation.
Reservatrol improves skin density and elasticity by stimulating collagen production.
So with all of these additional benefits, why would you want to only use one? The
SkinCeuticals serums we recommend all use a specific blend depending on your age, skin type and concerns.
Earlier, we mentioned ‘efficient’ antioxidant serums and with good reason. Antioxidants are notoriously difficult to stabilise in a serum formulation. If it’s not stable, it will break down, become ineffective and end up being a total waste of money.
SkinCeuticals were one of the first companies to produce a Vitamin C serum so there is 30 years of research in every drop. That is a really comforting thought.
In order to avoid delving too far in to the chemistry side of things, the serums are stable and potent due to:
- The use of pure L-Ascorbic Acid (another name for Vitamin C)
- High concentration of L-Ascorbic Acid (10-20%)
- A low pH of the serum (below 3.5)
If you are investing in an antioxidant serum, these points are crucial. If the pH is not below 3.5, it will not penetrate the skin effectively and will not achieve the expected results. We stock SkinCeuticals because we know and trust the quality of their formulations. Their CE Ferulic is probably the most famous antioxidant serum and is consistently recommended in the industry. The CE Ferulic and Phloretin serums provide 8 x the skin’s natural environmental protection and this is proven in studies! That is an exceptional statistic.
Antioxidants are excellent preventative skincare ingredients that should be used every morning after cleansing, but before exposing your skin to smartphone screens, tablets, laptops and the outside world! It will come as news to some that the light emitted by your smartphone is damaging your skin however it is not something we are prepared to do without! Protect your skin with a good antioxidant and feel safe in the knowledge that you are helping prevent the signs of ageing.