What Are Antioxidants & How Can They Help Skin

What Are Antioxidants & How Can They Help Skin

Posted by Brooklyn S. on

If you go through skincare aisles looking for serums, moisturizers, and masks filled with antioxidants, you’re doing the right thing. Your skin needs an ample amount of antioxidants regularly to perform and look its best. Antioxidant-rich skincare products are undeniably the best way of protecting, rejuvenating, and nourishing your skin. 

Even though your favorite skincare products may be filled with antioxidants, you may not be familiar with what antioxidants are and how they work to help your skin. This article will help you get familiar with antioxidants because it’s well worth knowing about these superstars that can change your skin game. So, let’s get to it!

What are Free Radicals?

To fully understand what antioxidants are, we need to better understand what free radicals are and how they can impact the skin. Free radicals are the molecules that can damage various components of your skin, including DNA, the outer barrier, and proteins. Therefore, free radicals affect the skin at the cellular level.

They are highly reactive, unpaired, and unstable atoms that are missing electrons. These atoms take electrons from other particles, damaging the cells in the process. This cell damage may result in various skin problems, most prominently, premature signs of aging, and can also cause skin cancers. 

What are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants are the molecules that protect healthy skin cells from free radicals by donating electrons to these atoms or stopping them from forming. By giving electrons to free radical molecules, antioxidants neutralize them and make them harmless to the cells. Hence, antioxidants counteract the damaging effects of free radical molecules, protecting the skin. For this reason, antioxidants are essentially known as free radical fighters. 

Antioxidant molecules are found in various natural ingredients used in our food and skincare products, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B3, vitamin A, polyphenols, flavonoids, and many more.¹ 

What is Oxidative Stress? 

Another important thing to discuss when it comes to antioxidants is oxidative stress. As we mentioned, antioxidants in our bodies work to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals. There is a delicate balance between both these molecules. When the balance is disturbed, and there's too many free radical molecules but fewer antioxidant molecules, we experience oxidative stress. 

The balance can be lost due to UV rays, chemicals, toxic gases, bacteria, smoke, and other deteriorating elements in the environment. This imbalance can result in wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, inflammation, fine lines, acne breakouts, and eczema.

How to Prevent Oxidative Stress

One way of preventing free radical or oxidative damage is by using sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. However, sun rays aren’t the only cause of oxidative stress. Infrared radiation, pollutants, and other environmental stressors can also create free radicals. That’s where antioxidants can help. So, in addition to your daily sunscreen, antioxidant skincare products are also essential to prevent and reverse oxidative stress.

Why Use Skincare Products with Antioxidants? 

Our bodies naturally produce antioxidants to shield all the organs and systems against harmful internal and external agents. However, some antioxidants are not found naturally in the body, or their levels decline due to internal or external reasons. In such cases, we have to make up for the decline in the levels of antioxidants through our diet and topical skincare products. 

Additionally, if you are experiencing premature signs of aging, photodamage, inflammation, or other skin problems, antioxidants can help you manage and treat those. Besides protecting the skin from oxidative stress, antioxidants also provide a myriad of other skin benefits, like cleansing, moisturizing, brightening, and hydrating. 

Benefits of Antioxidants in Skincare 

Here are a few ways antioxidants in your skincare can benefit your skin:

  • Treat Signs of Aging- Oxidative stress can damage skin cells, leading to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin. We know the significance of these proteins in keeping our skin youthful and radiant. Antioxidants in your creams and serums can help prevent and correct the signs of aging, like wrinkles, age spots, melasma, and fine lines.
  • Prevent Photodamage - The harmful radiation from the sun can do a lot of damage to your skin cells, including burning skin, causing redness, irritation, and even photo-aging.²  Anti-inflammatory effects of antioxidants can prevent sun damage and improve your skin’s natural defense against UV radiations.
  • Brighten the Skin - Frequent sun exposure and free radical damage are two of the main reasons behind the higher production of melanin cells in the skin, leading to melasma and dull or uneven skin tone. Antioxidants can prevent the problem by reducing sun damage. Some antioxidants can also lower or inhibit melanin synthesis, improving your skin tone and adding a glow to the skin.
  • Improve Cell Repair - Photodamage, inflammation, and cell breakdown can slow down the skin’s natural renewal and repair process. Antioxidants are known for speeding up the skin’s healing properties and accelerating collagen production, which keeps the skin healthy and youthful.

Best Antioxidants for the Skin

Among a plethora of skincare ingredients, it can be challenging to find the best antioxidant skincare ingredients to hunt for while buying your skincare products. However, the below list might help you make the right choice without any hassle. 

  • CBD - CBD or cannabidiol is a chemical compound procured from the Cannabis Sativa plant, ordinarily known as hemp or marijuana plant. Two of the renowned species of the plant are hemp and marijuana.³  CBD comes from hemp and has low levels of THC (the intoxicating agent). Like most other plant-based ingredients, CBD is also full of antioxidants. These antioxidant properties are due to the free catatonic radicals in CBD, which inhibit oxidation by neutralizing free radicals. As a result of this free radical-counteracting action, your skin is protected from various skin issues that arise due to oxidative stress. 
  • Vitamin C - This skincare favorite of millions of people around the globe is mainly known for its antioxidant effects. Vitamin c in skincare products acts as a powerful free radical predator that binds and draws out harmful chemical elements from the body. The free radical action yields many skin benefits, like prevention of collagen and elastin breakdown, producing a stronger lipid barrier, and moisture retention in the skin. Vitamin c also enhances collagen production and inhibits the formation of melanocytes in the skin by affecting the enzyme that regulates its synthesis. The melanin-inhibiting effect makes vitamin c the ideal skin brightening ingredient.
  • Green Tea -  Many of you might only be familiar with this natural ingredient as a beverage. The fact is that this super antioxidant ingredient is equally beneficial when added to skincare formulas for topical application. Green tea is a copious source of polyphenols, also called catechins or flavonoids. These antioxidants comprise a high percentage of the nutritional composition of green tea. Like other antioxidants, it also shields against free radicals and other pollutants and provides a host of other skin benefits. These compounds are widely known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, and hydrating properties.
  • Vitamin E - Vitamin E is another skincare compound that shines bright for its natural antioxidant properties, which perk up saggy, dull, dehydrated, and discolored complexion. Its calming and moisturizing effects soothe and hydrate the skin. High antioxidant power fortifies the skin’s outer layer, inhibiting moisture loss through the epidermis and protecting the skin cells from harmful external agents. Moreover, it improves the skin’s repairing and renewing abilities. Vitamin E skincare products keep the skin soft, even-toned, and supple. Since vitamin E is a gentle and anti-inflammatory ingredient, it can be used for all skin types, even sensitive and inflamed ones.
  • Niacinamide - Niacinamide, also known as vitamin B3, is known for its potent antioxidant composition that fights off free radical damage, helping to prevent and treat many skin woes. The soothing abilities of niacinamide are also effective in calming acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. It improves the integrity and functions of the skin’s lipid barrier, allowing it to retain moisture and protect the skin from oxidation. Niacinamide skincare products can improve the skin’s tone and texture by helping to deal with wrinkles, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, dehydration, and inflammation effectively.
  • White Tea Extract - White tea is an incredible antioxidant ingredient that comes from the buds and leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant. The name of the tea is attributed to the white strings of its buds. Matchless skin benefits of white tea put it at the top of other teas used in skincare formulations. A high amount of polyphenols or catechins in white tea extract battle against UV rays, free radicals, and other toxic chemicals in the environment that can put your lipid barrier at risk, leading to countless skin problems. Furthermore, white tea offers skin-soothing, nourishing, and hydrating effects, which keep the skin glowing, supple, and healthy. 

With an array of benefits for the skin, it’s no wonder we decided to include different antioxidants in Sundree products. Sundree’s RYSE+SHYNE Facial Serum contains powerful antioxidants, Niacinamide, Vitamin C, and CBD. This lightweight serum will help hydrate and brighten the skin while improving skin texture.  

Looking to de-puff and firm the delicate under-eye area? Sundree’s PEPT EYES Biocellulose Eye Masks include anti-aging copper peptides to boost elastin and collagen production, while antioxidants, white tea extract, and CBD help soothe, hydrate and reduce oxidative stress.

Final Thoughts

In preserving a healthy and youthful complexion, antioxidants hold a special place in the skincare industry. Antioxidant compounds in skincare formulas work to prevent and reverse oxidative damage. In addition, they play a rudimentary role in keeping the skin’s outer barrier stable and fully functioning. Besides protecting the skin from environmental stressors, antioxidants provide additional skin benefits, like hydrating the skin, restoring the skin’s elasticity, calming inflammation, and reducing discoloration, making it a must-have for skincare consumers everywhere.



  1. Robertson, Sally. (2021). ‘What are Flavonoids?’, NewsMedicalLifeSciences. Accessed November 23, 2021. Available at: https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-are-Flavonoids.aspx
  2. Ansell, Leah, MD. (2020) ‘Photoaging Causes and Treatment’, Accessed November 23, 2021. Available at: https://www.verywellhealth.com/photoaging-sun-ages-skin-1069365
  3. (2021). ‘Hemp’, WebMD.com. Accessed November 24, 2021. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1605/hemp



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