You've probably heard that antioxidants are good for your overall health, but did you know they're good for your skin, too? These powerful ingredients protect your complexion from sun damage and other harm and can even help it recover after injury. So, how do antioxidants work on the skin? Read on to learn how antioxidants work, where to find them, and how to incorporate them into your daily routine to uncover your most beautiful complexion.

What Are Antioxidants?

Antioxidants help protect your body from free radicals, which are chemicals that can damage your cells and genes. Free radicals form naturally in the body, but they're also produced in response to stressors, like sun exposure, air pollution, and cigarette smoke. Because they're chemically unstable, free radicals steal electrons from different substances they encounter in the body. This leads to different types of cellular damage.

When it comes to free radicals, it's all about balance. Too many free radicals lead to a condition called oxidative stress, which is what damages your cells and eventually leads to chronic disease. They can also wreak havoc on your skin, causing visible signs of premature aging, a damaged skin barrier, and even an increased risk of skin cancer.

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How Do Antioxidants Work on the Skin?

Antioxidants support total-body health—and your skin is no exception. When it comes to the benefits of antioxidants on skin, these anti-inflammatory compounds protect your skin from future damage and repair existing damage. This results in many positive skin changes, including stimulating collagen and elastin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, and evening out skin discoloration—all of which lead to a brighter, more youthful complexion. Antioxidants also help protect your skin cells from ultraviolet (UV) damage, which can help lower your risk of skin cancer.

Your body makes its own antioxidants, but you can also get them from the foods you eat. They're especially high in certain vegetables and fruits, like broccoli, leafy greens, berries, and asparagus. When it comes to the skin, applying antioxidants topically can help them work even better.

How to Incorporate Antioxidants into Your Skin Care Routine

Studies have shown that some of the most beneficial antioxidants for your skin include Vitamins A, C, and E. Fortunately, incorporating these powerful antioxidants into your skin care routine doesn't have to be complicated.

Since sunscreen is already part of your regular routine (you do use sunscreen every day, right?), one good option is to use a formula like EltaMD UV AOX Mist Broad-Spectrum SPF 40. In addition to blocking the sun's harmful UV rays, it also contains Vitamins C and E, which help rejuvenate skin and fight the signs of photoaging. Meanwhile, Coconut Fruit Extract, Aloe Vera, and Glycerin leave the skin hydrated and supple.

Using an antioxidant-rich serum is another simple way to incorporate the benefits of antioxidants on skin into your routine. For example, the EltaMD Skin Recovery Serum is packed with skin-strengthening compounds that fortify your skin barrier and protect against free radicals, including Vitamins E and B5.

No matter which antioxidants you use, keep in mind that change doesn't happen overnight. Consistency is key. Over time, your efforts will be rewarded with a vibrant, glowing complexion that reflects your best self.



    Maria Robinson, MD, MBA is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over ten years of clinical experience. Dr. Robinson has a passion for nutrition and integrative dermatology, and is the co-founder of, where people can explore holistic dermatology treatments. Through her writing, she strives to empower people with accurate health information so they can make positive decisions that lead to healthy and vibrant skin.

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