Antioxidant serums are one of the most effective skin rejuvenation treatments you can buy over the counter, even if they are also one of the more expensive options. They can offer real health benefits for your skin that improve the appearance of blemishes and slow or prevent the development of lines and wrinkles by helping your skin retain its elasticity.1
What is Antioxidant Serum?
Antioxidant serums are skincare products that are often made to be used on sensitive skin areas like the face. They are often used to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes such as redness and discoloration and lines and wrinkles. They contain large amounts of nutrients that act as antioxidants.
Antioxidants are a group of molecules that reduce oxidation in your body. Oxidation is a process that happens throughout your body, and creates another type of molecule called free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and interact with other cells in your body, causing a type of damage called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress negatively impacts your cells’ ability to perform many vital functions. It is responsible for many of the physical symptoms of aging and some physical signs, such as a loss of elasticity in the skin. For example, oxidative stress speeds up the rate at which your body metabolizes collagen. Collagen is a key protein in keeping your skin young and smooth. As a result of this collagen reduction, your skin can become more wrinkled, start to show lines, and start to sag.4
What is in it?
Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron, which makes them highly reactive as they will attract electrons from other molecules on your body, affecting their function. As a result, any molecule that can provide free radicals with an extra electron is technically an antioxidant. However, they are not all equally effective. Many nutrients have effective antioxidant properties and are used in antioxidant serums.
Vitamin A is commonly found in milk, butter, eggs, and liver.
Vitamin C is in most fruit and vegetables, especially citrus fruits.
Vitamin E is in many nuts and seeds and green vegetables such as spinach and kale.
Beta-carotene is also found in many fruits and vegetables, including peaches, mangos, carrots, peas, and sweet potatoes.
Lycopene is in many red-colored fruits, such as watermelon, tomatoes, and pink grapefruit.
Lutein is found in broccoli, peas, spinach, and kale.
Selenium is found in wholegrain foods, bread, and rice. It is also found in animal products like beef, fish, turkey, and chicken.
What Does it do?
Antioxidant serums help reduce oxidative stress and its visible effects in the affected area. Oxidative stress can have several effects on your skin health and appearance. These can include wrinkles and lines due to a loss of elasticity, discoloration as a result of reduced or overstimulated melanin production, and redness as a result of damage to blood vessels.2
Oxidative stress can also cause inflammation, as it activates an immune system response to repair the damage it causes and remove the damaged material it creates. As a result, using an antioxidant serum can help reduce puffiness and swollen tissue in your face.
Many of the nutrients in antioxidant serums offer additional health benefits for your skin, as well as serving as antioxidants.
For example, vitamin A helps prevent your skin pores from getting clogged with dead skin cells. Vitamin C boosts collagen products and helps fade dark spots. Vitamin E acts as an anti-inflammatory and a moisturizer. Curcumin has antibacterial properties, helping protect your skin from acne and infections.
Should I Use it?
Antioxidant serums are generally great for your skin health, whether you are trying to reduce the appearance of blemishes on your skin or just aiming to take good care of your skin to prevent them.
Some of the ingredients used in antioxidant serums can have unwanted side effects on some people, however. These side effects can depend on your skin type and how sensitive your skin is. Some of the more common side effects include irritation, redness, and stinging. Antioxidant serums that contain vitamin A and vitamin C can both cause this type of reaction. In higher doses, vitamin C can also inhibit melanin production in your skin.3
Additionally, although most antioxidant serums are water-based and absorbed into the skin quickly, some are oil-based and remain on your skin for longer. These can have more hydrating and moisturizing properties; however, they can exacerbate acne-prone skin by contributing to blocked pores. Water-based serums can have the opposite problem for people with dry skin, as they might make it drier depending on the ingredients.
How do I Use it?
The potential side effects of antioxidant serum are often caused by an initial reaction of your skin to the product, and they can lessen over time. As a result, it can be good to start by using a smaller amount of the serum less often than the packaging recommends. Using an antioxidant serum in combination with an oil-free moisturizer can also help prevent your skin from drying out.
Antioxidant serums should always be stored in an airtight, opaque container. This prevents the active ingredients from being degraded by oxidation and prevents damage from UV light. The serum should be kept in a cool, dry place that is not exposed to direct sunlight to extend its shelf life further.
Antioxidant serums can be an effective way to rejuvenate your skin and reduce the appearance of various blemishes. Antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress throughout the body. However, antioxidant serums are topical treatments that only work on the area of skin you apply them to. Because of this, your diet should include plenty of antioxidants, whether you use antioxidant serums or not. Oxidative stress can help negative effects throughout your body, including your cardiovascular system, immune system, and major organs. Antioxidant serums do not help tackle oxidative stress in these areas.
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