Maybe you’ve noticed antioxidants on the label of popular skincare products, but you’re not sure what they really do or which ones to look for. Well, it’s definitely worth learning all you can about these anti-aging superstars because they can do wonders for your skin!

Antioxidants in skincare protect the skin by reducing the production of free radicals, which lead to premature aging. When used daily, antioxidants can help reduce dark spots and hyperpigmentation and also calm redness and inflammation.

In fact, many antioxidants also boost hydration and improve moisture retention, plumping up the skin and giving it a youthful glow. There’s no question that antioxidants deserve a place in every skincare routine! Here’s which antioxidants to look for in your products and how they can benefit your skin.

What are Free Radicals?

We’ve all seen how an apple or potato turns brown after it’s cut up. This is the process of oxidation and it’s caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. During oxidation, free radicals react with other molecules and cause damage to healthy cells.

The human body produces some free radicals naturally every day. Unfortunately, the production of free radicals increases dramatically with exposure to the sun, toxins, and pollution.

This can lead to an overload of free radicals in the body, which leads to oxidative stress. When oxidative stress occurs, the body can’t detoxify them and counteract their effects efficiently. This leads to cellular damage and premature aging.

The Benefits of Including Antioxidants in Your Skincare Routine

Including antioxidants in your skincare helps your skin fight the damage caused by free radicals and allows it to recover from oxidative stress more quickly. Here are some of the key benefits:

Correct the Signs of Premature Aging

Oxidative stress damages collagen, causes inflammation, and inhibits the skin’s natural ability to heal itself. This results in breakouts, blotchiness, sagging skin, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. Antioxidants in skin care products scavenge free radicals, supporting the skin’s natural ability to heal itself and correct the signs of premature aging.

Brighten Skin Tone

Oxidative stress caused by sun exposure can lead to dark spots and uneven skin tone. Antioxidants can help prevent dark spots by reducing sun damage. In addition, antioxidants like vitamin C also help to brighten the skin tone by inhibiting the enzyme that causes hyperpigmentation.

Prevent Sun Damage

Antioxidants reduce and prevent inflammation, so they can reduce your skin’s inflammatory response to the sun. They help to prevent sunburn and reduce sun damage and photoaging, especially when used in combination with a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Boost Collagen Production

Because they reduce inflammation, antioxidants also support the skin’s natural ability to produce collagen and repair itself. But even more than that, antioxidants like vitamin C actually stimulate collagen production, which is vital for preventing and repairing the signs of aging.

The Best Antioxidants to Look for in Your Skincare

There are lots of different antioxidants, and some are more effective when applied topically than others. Here are the best antioxidants to look for when you’re shopping for skincare products.

Vitamin C

If you only incorporate one antioxidant into your skincare routine, it should be vitamin C. Not only does it scavenge free radicals, but vitamin C also triggers collagen production and fades hyperpigmentation. It’s a good all-around antioxidant that’s often included in Korean beauty inspired toners for its ability to correct skin tone, fade dark spots, and give the skin a brighter appearance overall.


Resveratrol is an antioxidant with some incredible anti-aging qualities. Sometimes called the “longevity molecule,” resveratrol serves as the defensive armor for cells in plants like red grapes and berries. When incorporated into skincare products, it also protects and repairs skin cells. Not only that, but resveratrol is antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory, so it calms redness and reduces acne and other bacteria-related skin issues. Look for it in your evening moisturizer because sun exposure reduces its effectiveness.


Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol, but there are thousands more. They are found in tea, fruit, and other botanicals, and are sometimes called flavonoids. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory properties and also prevent UV damage. Incorporating polyphenols into your skincare routine can boost your skin’s natural ability to fight the signs of aging and promote cellular repair.


Vitamin B3, or niacinamide, is another powerful antioxidant to look for in your skincare products. It’s especially useful for improving the texture and tone of your skin, but the benefits don’t end there. When combined with other active ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen in effective stem cell skincare, its anti-aging capabilities are further boosted. Niacinamide also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s excellent for calming redness and reducing breakouts. It’s often recommended by dermatologists for conditions like acne and rosacea because it’s safe for sensitive skin. As an added bonus, it also has the ability to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, just like the other antioxidants on our list.

Coenzyme Q10

If you pull a lot of all-nighters, you’re going to love coenzyme Q10 in your skincare routine. Our bodies produce this antioxidant naturally, but sadly, production slows down as we age. This makes us more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and sun damage. Applying CoQ10 to the skin topically reduces free radical damage, stimulates collagen production, brightens the skin, improves skin texture, and boosts elasticity. It’s almost like a good night’s sleep in a bottle!

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is extremely beneficial for the body’s organs, and that includes our skin. It is often included in moisturizers for its ability to boost the skin’s natural healing abilities and add moisture. It also helps to reduce scarring and may reduce stretch marks when used on the body. As an added bonus, vitamin E stabilizes other antioxidants in your skincare products and even boosts their effectiveness, particularly when paired with resveratrol and vitamin C.


Retinol, or vitamin A, is well known for its anti aging properties. Because of its tiny molecular structure, retinol can penetrate deep into the skin. It can trigger collagen production and promote cellular repair. It’s especially useful for reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin tone, and fading hyperpigmentation.

Wrap Up

Don’t stop at applying antioxidants topically in your skincare! An antioxidant-rich diet is beneficial for your entire body, and that includes your skin. Green tea, berries, nuts, and seeds are all antioxidant-rich snacks that could provide similar benefits to the antioxidants you’re applying with your skincare.