5 Things You Need To Know About Antioxidants

5 things you need to know about antioxidants

After sunscreen, an antioxidant serum is your most powerful alley in the fight against premature aging. But you can’t just pick a random one. If you want it to treat your most pressing and annoying skin problems, you must choose wisely. Here’s 5 things you need to know to make the right choice:

1. Antioxidants are multitaskers

The main job of antioxidants is to protect our skin from the free radical damage (the main culprit of premature aging) caused by unprotected sun exposure, irritating skincare products, smoking, alcohol, and even metabolism! Thanks to their action, we can keep wrinkles at bay for longer. But that’s not all they do. They can also help reduce dark spots, boost collagen production, restore skin’s protective barrier, and even reduce inflammation.

2. Stronger together than alone

Nivea loves co-enzyme Q10. Korres is mad about quercetin. And Caudalie has a crush on resveratrol. These are all powerful antioxidants, but there’s only so little they can do when used alone. Studies have shown, again and again, that a bunch of antioxidants works a lot better for the skin than just one or two. For example, incorporating ferulic acid into “a topical solution of 15%l-ascorbic acid and 1%alpha-tocopherol improved chemical stability of the vitamins (C+E) and doubled photoprotection.” So, chose serums that are loaded with lots of different antioxidants, such as Paula’s Choice Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum and Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With ROS* Terminator. And, for even better result, follow a diet rich in antioxidants too.

3. Vitamin C isn’t just one ingredient

Vitamin C is one of the most powerful antioxidants used in skincare, but it comes in many forms. The most effective is L-ascorbic acid. But this ingredient is very unstable, difficult to formulate with, and can irritate sensitive skin. Less potent, but more stable forms of Vitamin C, are tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate, and ascorbyl palmitate. Others, like ascorbyl glucoside and ascorbyl glucosamine, are also more stable but little studied, so we don’t know how well they work yet. When shopping for a Vitamin C serum, choose the right form for you carefully.

4. Antioxidants aren’t the one night stand types

You can’t just use an antioxidant serum every now and then, and expect great results. It just doesn’t work that way. No skincare product does. If you stop using them, their beneficial effects quickly disappear. With antioxidants, you must be committed for the long haul. Think about it: sun exposure, a bad diet, pollution, and inflammation damage our skin a bit every day. It’s an ongoing process than needs an ongoing fight.

5. Antioxidants are shy

Antioxidants work best when they aren’t seen. Put them in a jar, and light and air will soon plot to make them ineffective. But in air-tight, opaque tubes and bottles, they retain their powerful antiaging powers for a long time. You can finish your bottle at your leisure, fully confident that even the last drop can help you keep the signs of premature aging at bay.

Do you use skincare products with antioxidants? What are your favourites? And are they packaged properly?

Know Your Ingredients: Glycine


What it is
Glycine is an amino acid necessary for the development of protein within the skin.

What it does
Glycine is a skin and hair conditioning agent. This means it can hydrate them, and make them soft and smooth.

Side effects
Glycine is generally considered to be safe.

(Source: cosmeticsinfo.org)

Know Your Ingredients: Bakuchiol


What it is
Bakuchiol is found in the seeds and leaves of the plant Psoralea corylifolia.

What it does
Bakuchiol has antioxidant properties and a retinol-like effect. It can stimulate collagen production, improve skin’s elasticity and firmness as well as fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce dark spots.
In addition, it has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that make it an effective acne treatment.

Side effects
Bakuchiol is generally considered to be safe.

(Sources: E Dermatology News and International Journal Of Cosmetic Science, June 2014)

Know Your Ingredients: Acetyl Tributyl Citrate

acetyl tributyl citrate

What it is
Acetyl Tributyl Citrate is a clear liquid with no odour derived from Citric Acid.

What it does
Acetyl Tributyl Citrate is mostly used in nail polishes as a plasticizer for film-forming ingredients.

Side effects
Acetyl Tributyl Citrate is generally considered to be safe.

(Source: cosmeticsinfo.org)

The Complete Guide To Vitamin C Serums

complete guide to vitamin c serums

Today, I’m very excited to bring you this guest post by the lovely Livia of Oily Skin Blog. She explains why we should use a Vitamin C serum and shares her favourite picks:

Discovered over 70 years ago, vitamin C has been used in the skincare industry to manufacture anything from cleansers, lotions, toners to moisturisers, serums and masks. Yet, not all of us are aware of the benefits that this powerhouse brings to our skincare routines. I bet you’re dying to know!

What is a vitamin C serum

Vitamin C serums are skincare products that use a high concentration of vitamin C to treat ageing signs like fine lines and sagging skin, brighten complexion, improve red or dark sports, even out skin tone and control breakouts. Although this might sound like another product with too many claims and a potential for a skincare fiasco, you will be surprised to know that vitamin C is one of the most researched ingredients that can prove almost all claims currently enforced by manufacturers.

Let’s meet the vitamin C family

There are more than one form of vitamin C that can be found in cosmetics, and the most researched of all is ascorbic acid or l-ascorbic acid. Other derivatives of vitamin C include  sodium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl palmitate, retinyl ascorbate, tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.

While these have been less researched than l-ascorbic acid, they are still scientifically backed and considered efficient anti-oxidants with potential anti-inflammatory and lightening properties. However, these other forms of vitamin C are more valuable when used in combination with other potent anti-oxidants such as ascorbic acid, green tea or retinol, according Paula’s Choice website.

How are vitamin C serums formulated

All sounds good up to now, right? Well, the bad part is that vitamin C is unstable, especially when exposed to light or air. That is why other ingredients are added to the formulation in order to stabilize it. Most vitamin C Serums also contain vitamin E, feluric acid or hyaluronic acid so that the vitamin C can deliver the best results. Researchers say that 15% vitamin C combined with 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% vitamin E can enhance the efficacy of vitamin C.

Additionally, opaque and air-tight bottles are preferred in order to restrict exposure to sunlight and air.

complete guide to vitamin c serums 02

What can Vitamin C serums do for my skin

It is important to know that, in order to be effective, the recommended strength of vit. C is up to 20%. Also, a pH of less than 3.5 is recommended for optimum absorption, although this is really hard to verify because most of the products don’t state anything about their pH.

Getting back to the benefits of Vitamin C, let’s take a quick look at what science says it can help you with:

  • Photo-protection: a concentration of 15%- 20% of l-ascorbic acid alone can reduce the signs of photo-ageing and provide protection against free radicals. Although Vitamin C can provide photo-protection on its own, it works best in conjunction with vitamin E to limit UV damage.
    Collagen production: l-ascorbic acid increases the production of collagen. This, coupled with its anti-oxidant ability, results in reducing fine lines, improves the elasticity of skin and brightens complexion.
    Depigmentation: vitamin C helps prevent melanin production by inhibiting the tyrosinase enzyme. This is useful in the case of hyperpigmentation, red/ dark spots or uneven skin tone.
    Inflammatory skin conditions: its anti-inflammatory properties makes it a good adjuvant in treating rosacea or acne vulgaris.

What vitamin C serums should I go for

Even though vitamin C serums are costly, you can find products for every budget with prices ranging from 20 $ up to 100$ and above.

Going on the high end, SkinCeuticals sells CE Feluric (157$), a serum that uses 15% of l-ascorbic acid in combination with 0.5% ferulic acid and 1% alpha tocopherol (vitamin E). This is a highly appreciated product from both experts and users, unfortunately the price tag may not make it accessible to everyone.

A more decent-priced product is Timeless 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum. This one sells via Amazon for 25$ and has positive reviews from bloggers, including FutureDerm’s founder Nicki, who considers it one of the best 20% Vitamin C serums on the market.

Of course, this was before she launched her own beauty line which leads us to our last product recommendation: FutureDerm’s Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2 (89$). The product is formulated with l-ascorbic acid and etrahexyldecyl ascorbate, another form of vitamin C, target age spots and uneven skin tone.

If you are interested in more low end options you can find here a list of smart buys for Vitamin c Serums.

I think the takeaway from all this is to start looking at simple ingredients. The beauty industry keeps introducing new products and improving its technology but still, the most effective products don’t need to have fancy names or list countless ingredients. One good ol’ vitamin C may just be your saviour! Wouldn’t you agree?

livia oily skin blogABOUT THE AUTHOR:
“Livia is the Founder of Oily Skin Blog, a site that focuses on beauty tips for ladies and gentlemen with problematic skin. Have a tough beauty question? Drop her a comment below!”