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Let’s decode what antioxidants and vitamin C in your serum do to your skin

Topically applied serums full of antioxidants and vitamin C are becoming the basics of skincare. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing one.
face serum
Have you been using a vitamin C serum? Know if it really does something for your skin or not! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Shifa Khan Published: 11 Jan 2022, 08:00 am IST
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Antioxidants, when ingested orally, are known as a reliable way of improving health for decades. However, topical antioxidants are steadily climbing the ranks as one of the most sure-shot ways to guarantee healthy and strong skin. They are among the most potent actives if you are trying to derive anti-aging benefits out of skincare and combat extensive sun damage.

There are thousands of substances with little to extensive antioxidant properties. However, the most commonly used ones in skincare are vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, polyphenols derived from green tea, resveratrol, retinol and niacinamide, among several others. Each comes with its fair share of benefits and challenges. Every step of your skincare probably contains some antioxidants. But the strength of the antioxidant effect is what varies.

Excessive and prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is what kickstarts the effects of sun damage to your skin. This is why an antioxidant is a necessity in a skincare routine.

How does pollution and sun damage affect your skin?

Dr Ramesh Surianarayanan, Head of Product, Research and Development, Foxtale, spoke to HealthShots about the ill effects of sun damage and pollution on skin and how antioxidants can affect that.

“Free radicals are a form of unstable atoms that are induced by the UV rays of the sun and other environmental pollutants. UV rays and pollutants damage skin lipids to produce free radicals and their consequent oxidative stress that can harm the skin. They scavenge on electrons, the loss of which results in an alteration of DNA strands in our body,” says Dr Surianarayanan

“When they are left to wreak havoc on our skin, they can lead to premature signs of aging, wrinkles, fine lines, increased inflammation and in some cases even skin cancer. UV rays are the primary agent in causing sunburns and premature aging. They also alter the DNA to cause several mutations that may lead to diseases such as cancer and hyperpigmentation,” he adds.

However, external application of antioxidants work to protect your skin from free radical and environmental damage caused by UV rays and pollution.

diabetes and skin problems
Long exposure to sun can make your skin prone to sun damage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Here’s what antioxidant to for your skin:

  1. Not only do antioxidants neutralize free radicals to improve skin health from within, but they also have several skin benefits. Free radicals lead to loss of skin elasticity and firmness.
  2. Antioxidants also help to speed up the production of collagen in the skin and calm inflammation. However, not all antioxidants help boost collagen production.
  3. Retinols, polyphenols from green tea, licorice extract, etc help increase the span of collagen and tend to block enzymes that destroy collagen.
  4. Vitamin C is also infamous for boosting the biosynthesis of collagen in the body.

All medical benefits aside, antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E are essential ingredients found within your skincare products. This is because of their ability to reduce hyperpigmentation, acne scars and lending overall brightening qualities to the skin. In addition to this, these antioxidants are known for their reputed anti-aging benefits.

What does your vitamin C serum do to your skin?

Vitamin C, technically known as Ascorbic or L-Ascorbic acid, is known for its miraculous benefits when used topically in a serum form. At 5 percent, it works to reduce photodamage and therefore lessens signs of aging. At higher percentages, Vitamin C serums provide the added benefit of lessening hyperpigmentation, acne scars and blemishes as well.

skin and vitamin c
Vitamin C can help brightening up your skin by fighting free radical damage. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What to look for when choosing a vitamin C serum?

In order to get the highest efficacy of a vitamin C serum, it is most beneficial when a formulation adds another antioxidant to support it. Vitamin E is one of the best additives and a beneficial antioxidant that ensures that a vitamin C formula provides a potent antioxidant effect. Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant, whereas Vitamin E is oil soluble. Together, they work to provide synergistic antioxidant effects that deliver superior skin benefits.

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About the Author

An aesthete and a skincare junkie, Shifa spends most of her time cooking delish food while wearing a sheet mask. At HealthShots, she creates high-octane content that can leave you all a little intrigued! ...Read More

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