Antioxidants: Why you should incorporate them into your 2021 skincare routine

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I’m certain you’ve heard of antioxidants before, if not in skincare, definitely in your diet. Did you know you may already have great antioxidant ingredients in your skincare products? Antioxidants defend your skin against pollution and environmental damage and work deep down to improve how your skin works.

Free radicals are defined as molecules that can cause damage to different components in our skin cells such as DNA, proteins, outer barrier, and the matrix. Antioxidants, combined with sunscreen, are the ones that fight these free radicals!

Since antioxidants work to protect and repair skin damage, it may take longer to see your desired results, usually about 30 days.

Is it not already obvious that you should try to incorporate antioxidants in your skincare routine? Keep reading to understand the benefits and get a few of my favourite skincare picks.

What are the benefits of antioxidants?

Antioxidants fight against pollution and prevent sun damage

Research states that topically applied antioxidants have the ability to intercept pollution and halt accelerated aging in its tracks. Additionally, they have anti-inflammatory properties that boost your skin’s inflammatory response to UVA and UVB rays. This prevents sunburns and also provides enhanced sun protection. Lest we forget, you have to ensure to always wear sunscreen, of course.

You may unknowingly identify quite a few antioxidant ingredients in your skincare products right now.

Superoxide Dismutase, Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol, and Xanthophyll are just a few of the many different types of antioxidants (and are all so different) that can be found in your skincare.

Antioxidants give your skin a brighter complexion

Free radicals and sun exposure also trigger changes in our melanin production, which causes dark spots and uneven skin-tone. Some antioxidants have the ability to prevent this, and help result in healthier and brighter looking skin.

Vitamin C (also known as L-Ascorbic Acid) is one type of antioxidant ingredient that contributes greatly to achieving more radiant skin.

Antioxidants are great for anti-aging

Fine lines, wrinkles and loose skin are caused by broken down collagen. Oxidative stress causes collagen to break down and triggers inflammation in the skin. Antioxidants help correct and prevent these lines, which results in a more youthful looking skin.

Omega-centric antioxidants are effective in renewing the skin’s surface, especially if you pair them with a really good antioxidant retinol. Examples of these types of antioxidants include flaxseed oil and linoleic acid – both are omega-3 fatty acids.

What are the best types of antioxidants for your skin?

Vitamin A (retinol)

Vitamin A, also known as either retinol, tretinoin acid and retinaldehyde, are great antioxidants because they increase your skin’s cellular turnover. However, it can take several months for your skin to get used to these ingredients. In the meantime, your skin can be sensitive and irritated, but the final results are worth it.

People mainly incorporate vitamin A in their routine for anti-aging or acne-prevention purposes. However, I’m not currently using retinol so I can’t necessarily vouch for these claims.  

My best friend started using a higher concentration of adapalene 0.3% and benzoyl peroxide 2.5% roughly 30 days ago (she’s been using Differin 0.1% of adapalene for six years) and she is still adjusting to it.

Noticeable side-effects have included peeling of the skin, BUT, thankfully,  it has been slowing down quite a bit! Results can often be seen in up to three months – so be patient!

Note: As with the inclusion of any new chemical, consult with your dermatologist about the use of retinol in your skincare routine.

Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)

You find niacinamide in a lot of products nowadays, especially since it now gained so much popularity. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1% is a constant sell out – also a personal favourite of mine. It performs as an effective, no-fuss and cost-effective solution that can work for many skin types, especially oily to combination skin.

I recently purchased the Typology niacimamide 7% toner. I love this toner because it doesn’t have the tendency to pill.

Vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid)

First and foremost, I love this ingredient! Like I explained above, vitamin C is great for those who are looking to achieve a brighter complexion and get rid of that dull, uneven skin tone. Vitamin C binds and removes harmful-free radicals from the skin.

You can get all different types of l-ascorbic acid percentages (the higher the percentage, the stronger it is) and they can get expensive. There are also vitamin C alternatives out there on the market, however, they’re not considered as potent as l-ascorbic acid.

Vitamin E

According to Dr. Chang, a Manhattan-based cosmetic dermatologist, there are scientific studies that claim that vitamin E treatment can “reduce UV-induced photodamage, decrease the risk of skin cancer, and stabilize the skin barrier.”

You may easily find vitamin E in quite a few skincare products because it stabilizes and regenerates when combined with Vitamin C. This combo is super effective in fighting UV damage!

Antioxidant product recommendations

NIOD survival 0


I love using this product in my morning routine because it serves as a sunscreen booster! Survival 0 has nine antioxidant boosters (I know, that’s a lot!)

The Dimethylmethoxy Chromanol is similar to vitamin E in that it is also known to protect against nitrogen species (RNS) and reactive oxygen species (ROS). RNS and ROS are adverse reactive molecules that cause damage to cells and tissues.

 Fun fact, the Astaxanthin is what gives the product the orange-coloured pigment.

Purito Pure Vitamin C Serum

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This serum only has 5% Ascorbic Acid and some may believe that’s not enough, however, it works wonders! You don’t necessarily need to have a high percentage of vitamin C in order for it to be effective.

On top of that, it’s packed with niacinamide, hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), and ginseng root extract, just to name a few.

It’s also extremely affordable. For example, for the same price you can get a 60 ml bottle as opposed to the average 30ml bottle.

The only thing is that you have to try to finish this product rather quickly to avoid oxidation, yet it’s so worth the money! Bonus: it’s fragrance free!

Purito recently created a new reformulated version – with base bambusa (bamboo) water 76.23% instead of regular water –  to prevent rapid oxidation and improve its stability (definitely helps since I think the current product oxidizes rather quickly).

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% Zinc 1%


This one is not only a cult favourite, but one of mine too. I’ve been using this product for years to help with oil control as part of my evening routine.

It’s important to mention that there’s a chance of pilling if you use too much – you can combat this by only using 2-3 drops. You don’t necessarily need a high percentage of niacinamide (as with other ingredients) in order for the product to be effective. It can be just as useful at a modest 5% or less as part of the formulation in a variety of different products/serums.

NIOD Modulating Glucosides (MG)


This is undoubtedly another amazing NIOD (part of the DECIEM fam) product! Not garnering much public attention, I would classify this as a diamond in the rough – displaying effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It is packed with a whopping 10 different antioxidants, Epigallocatechin Gallatyl Glucoside being the star of the show. Interestingly enough, this is a bioengineered version of green tea.

MG targets signs of skin sensitivity, redness, discomfort and irritation. It leaves your skin feeling hydrated, while offering a bit of luminescence. I love using this immediately after applying stronger treatments to my skin, whether that be physical or chemical exfoliation or, straight out of a hot steamy shower!

If you have reactive and/or sensitive skin, this could be a great product to add to your skincare routine – it provides that luxe feel without breaking the bank!

I say with conviction that these products have positively impacted the overall clarity of my skin.

Do you include antioxidants as part of your skincare routine? Drop me a comment and let me know what you can’t live without!

Until next time!



  • Natalie Richardson says:

    Great post Fleur – thank you for sharing this information!

  • Dutchie says:

    Thanks for publishing such informative article, Fleur. In Europe we adore the sun and using SPF is not a very common thing. Also, I remember that in the early days, SPF didn’t go higher than 30 and we only used it while on the beach. And when someone got a sun burn, we just laughed and put slices of cucumber on it to cool it down. You are absolutely right, we need to include SPF in our daily skin routine. Now one more challenge to go: introduce this to my husband.

    • Fleur Boomsma says:

      Thank you for sharing this little story! If we can normalize the use of sunscreen a lot of skin cancer could be prevented! Luckily the skincare companies are getting more innovative with their formulas to make sunscreen attractive for everyone of all skin colors/conditions/types!

  • Eva B says:

    So informative! Thank you for the sunscreen recommendations xx

  • Jennifer says:

    Sunscreen can save your life!!

  • Sue says:

    Your hair looks lovely. I want to try this now.

  • Celine says:

    Hello! I want to ask, after using the innisfree super volcanic mask, you rinse it off and then do you apply your skincare after that? or do you just leave your bare face after rinsing the clay mask off?

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