Sunscreen may be the best and most important anti-aging product in your arsenal, but, alone, it is not enough to keep your skin looking younger for longer. UV rays aren’t the only cause of wrinkles. Pollution, alcohol, cigarettes, and even natural processes like metabolism all cause free radicals, the main cause of premature aging.
How to fight them? With antioxidants. They have the ability to destroy those little buggers, thus helping keep our skin smoother and brighter. There isn’t one antioxidant that, alone, is better than the rest, though. Experts recommend you use several at the same time to reap maximum benefits.
There are lots of antioxidants serums on the market to choose from, but most of them only contain tiny amounts of one or two antioxidants that will leave your skin wanting more. So, which one should you pick? Here are my favourites:
Best for sun protection: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($153.00) is a powerful antioxidant serum that contains 15% L-Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), 1% Alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Ferulic Acid, all of which are powerful antioxidants that enhance one another’s effectiveness. L-Ascorbic Acid prevents water loss and boosts collagen production. When used together with Vitamin E, another effective antioxidant, it also boosts sun protection. Studies have shown that Vitamin C is effective against UVA rays, while Vitamin E against UVB rays.
The sun protection properties of this serum (which is not, however, a substitute for sunscreen) are further enhanced by ferulic acid. A 2005 study has found that “its incorporation into a topical solution of 15% L-ascorbic acid and 1% α-tocopherol improved chemical stability of the vitamins (C+E) and doubled photoprotection to solar-simulated irradiation of skin”. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive, but if you’re looking for a serum that can prevent wrinkles, brighten skin, and boost sun protection, and can afford it, then this is a good investment.
Best for anti-aging (oily skin): Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol
Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($23.80), which is perfect for combination and oily skin types, is chock full of antioxidants that help skin look younger for longer. It contains, to name a few, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (a form of Vitamin C that penetrates skin more deeply than L-Ascorbic Acid) Tocopheryl Acetate (a form of Vitamin E), Green Tea, and Grape Seed Extract. But the star ingredients are Retinyl Palmitate and Retinol, two forms of Vitamin A that can really reduce wrinkles. They stimulate cell-turnover and collagen production, and can also be used to treat acne. Of course, they work slowly, so don’t expect any overnight miracle, but retinol is definitely an ingredient that any 30+ woman, unless pregnant or nursing, should consider adding to her skincare routine.
Best for anti-aging (dry and senstive skin): Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol
The formula is similar to that of the Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum, so I’ll be brief. Chock-full of antioxidants, Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum With Retinol ($23.80) contains less retinoids and more anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as bisabobol. Retinoids are very effective, but can cause irritation in people with dry and sensitive skin types. By tweaking the formula in this way, they too should be able to enjoy its benefits without its side effects.
Best for brightening: Futurederm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16+2
Futurederm Vitamin CE Caffeic Silk Serum 16-2 ($89.95) was created by one of my favourite bloggers, Nicki Zevola of Futurederm. It contains 16% Vitamin C (8% tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate and 8% microencapsulated L-Ascobic Acid – encapsulation protects it from oxidation, so that it remains effective for longer), which boosts collagen production and brightens skin, reducing hyperpigmentation. Together with Vitamin E, in the form of Tocopherol, it also helps boost sun protection. It also features the antioxidant caffeic acid, which is even more powerful than ferulic acid.
Best for your wallet: Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With Glutaredoxin And SOD
Skin Actives Antioxidant Serum With Glutaredoxin And SOD ($25.00) is one of the best cheapest antioxidant treatments on the market. It contains Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stable form of Vitamin C that can boosts collagen production and increases moisture level in the skin. Other powerful antioxidants included in the formula are green tea, ferulic acid, and Gluthanione. But my favourite ingredient in this serum is niacinamide. It’s an ingredient everyone should incorporate in their skincare routine for its many benefits: it can reduce transpidermal water loss, treat acne and hyperpigmentation, soothe rosacea, and even help reduce fine lines and wrinkles!
What is your favourite antioxidant serum? Have you tried any of these?