The Best Antioxidants for Skin (& Face Mask Recipe)

Nadine Brown NADINE BROWN

We all love antioxidants in our food; we know they’re good for us - but what do they actually do? And might they be the missing ingredient in skincare? 

Antioxidants are important for protecting our skin from cell damage and aging. They help to protect the skin's surface from oxidative damage caused by free radicals and environmental aggressors. They slow down the breakdown of collagen and elastin, making the skin more supple and reducing wrinkle formation.

For this to happen, it's important to have the right concentration of antioxidants and for them to be fully absorbed by the skin. We know that sun ages skin, more than anything else, UV light increases both inflammation and levels of MMP enzyme that break down collagen and elastin. The pigments accreting cell melanocytes are also triggered so that they produce different amounts of pigment in different areas of skin, resulting in pigment patches, antioxidants have the capacity to break down, free radicals and reduce pigment formation.

What are some of the best food sources of antioxidants? Why?

Matcha is one of my favorite antioxidant-rich skin-loving food sources and a creamy matcha latte is just delicious. Matcha is not only high in antioxidants which is helpful in reducing inflammation and evening skin tone, reducing acne, and increasing skin elasticity. But it also contains a kind of flavanol EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), its youth-promoting benefits have been well documented. So win-win if you ask me.

Herbs and spices, high in polyphenols! Polyphenols are an important group of antioxidants. They are good for your skin, both as a super antioxidant and as a probiotic. They boost your gut flora. My favorite herbs and spices are clove, turmeric, peppermint, cinnamon, garlic, cacao, and ginger. 

Resveratrol is one of my favorite polyphenols, it is often used as a pretext for drinking red wine. Sadly, alcohol is good for your skin or body. A better alternative is organic fruits and berries like, blueberries, red grapes, apples, and citrus fruit. 

Other antioxidant-rich foods include:

  • Beans and lentils

  • Nuts

  • Olives and olive oil

  • Dark leafy greens

What are antioxidant skincare ingredients that you would recommend?

My favorite antioxidant ingredient is Vitamin C.

Vitamin C will help reduce pigmentation and free radical damage created by UV and is an essential antioxidant in the morning to help protect you from the damaging sun rays.

Next would be caffeine. It is not only a useful antioxidant ingredient but a multitasker. It is anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help those who suffer from rosacea, and even has been shown to help reduce the appearance of cellulite when applied to the skin.

Green tea has multiple benefits, including neutralizing free radical damage, protecting your skin from collagen breakdown, and reducing pigmentation production.

Vitamin E is a great skincare ingredient. However, it's not necessarily improving your skin more than just moisturizing, but it's great when paired with other antioxidants like vitamin C. To stop the ingredients from breaking down. Kinda like a preservative. It's often used in products to stop them from getting rancid and oxidized. Vitamin C and E, when paired together, are a fantastic duo.

Try This Weekly Antioxidant Face Mask At Home:

A weekly antioxidant-rich face mask is another way to give your skin a treatment and glowing boost.

  • 1 tsp matcha green tea powder or acai powder

  • Half a tsp manuka or raw honey

  • A few drops aloe vera gel or water

Mix into a smooth paste and apply to the face and neck avoiding the eye area. Leave it on for 15 minutes. Soak a washcloth in lukewarm water and gently wipe off your face and neck with it.

Remember: Antioxidants are unstable substances that break down easily at high temperatures. So, correct storage is essential. They need to be in air-tight, opaque bottles, and away from direct sunlight so storing in a cool, dark area will help these products last. 


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