These are the best antioxidants to use for your skin type, according to dermatologists

“There are so many antioxidants that it’s almost impossible to tell which one is the best,” says Omaha, dermatologist NE Joel Schlessinger, MD. “Entire systems for evaluating antioxidants have been developed and discussed among dermatologists for years. Either way, antioxidants are good for all skin types because they help neutralize cell-damaging free radicals from the sun and daily exposure to environmental factors like pollution. However, some antioxidants are better suited for certain skin types and skin conditions than others. And if you have sensitive skin, it’s best to do a patch test on your skin before applying any new product, with or without an antioxidant, or consult a board-certified dermatologist who can guide you to the appropriate antioxidant formula.

According to dermatologists, these are five antioxidants that stand out in the skincare space for their powerful properties and long list of benefits, and which skin types are best for them.

Vitamin C

“Vitamin C is one of the most effective and ‘available’ antioxidants to help counteract oxidative stress that contributes to uneven skin tone, sun damage, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, dullness and rough in texture,” says Dr. Schlessinger. “Ascorbic acid is an effective form of vitamin C that combines well with other types of antioxidants for additional benefits. Although vitamin C is generally well tolerated by most skin types, it can cause irritation or redness in people with sensitive complexions, so start low.The LovelySkin LUXE product line is formulated with afaLUXE, which combines amino filaggrin antioxidants, ascorbic acid and sea minerals Dead to deliver the benefits of exfoliation with virtually no irritation.

For those with dry skin who want to use a product rich in vitamin C, Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD likes Isdinceutics Flavo-C Ultraglican ISDIN ampoules ($112), which, “along with vitamin C and ultraglycans, contains peptides that help support the skin’s ability to retain moisture, and hyaluronic acid for immediate hydration.”


Resveratrol, which is an antioxidant typically derived from red grapes, is generally tolerated by all skin types, Dr. Schlessinger says, and is known to be an excellent antioxidant for anti-aging purposes. “However, studies have also shown that resveratrol benefits for acne-prone skin, given its antibacterial properties. Interestingly, Cleopatra used wine to improve her complexion, so she knew a thing or two about skin!

For all skin types, I recommend Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Serum ($79), which combines the brand’s potent antioxidant resveratrol developed with Harvard Medical School with hyaluronic acid in a lightweight, non-comedogenic serum,” says Dr. Waldorf. “For mature skin, Caudalie Premier Cru Anti-Aging Moisturizing Cream ($119) features resveratrol with hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture, plus viniferine, which is an antioxidant especially helpful against dark spots, in a sleek, creamy base.


“If you suffer from acne or have sensitive skin, you should look for the antioxidant niacinamide,” says Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill. “Niacinamide is a soothing antioxidant that improves skin texture and tone. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits, helps soothe rashes, and fights redness. The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% Oil Control Serum uses 10% pure niacinamide and 1% zinc PCA to unclog pores, reduce excess oil and keep pimples at bay, which also makes it an excellent option for oily skin.

In 2017, a group of dermatologists took a closer look at 10 studies analyzing the effectiveness of niacinamide in treating acne and published their findings in Dermatological therapy. “Six of the eight studies using topical nicotinamide led to a significant reduction in acne from patient baseline or were performed similarly to another standard acne treatment,” the doctors concluded. “Both studies using an oral supplement containing nicotinamide resulted in a significant reduction in acne from baseline. No major adverse side effects were noted.

Vitamin E

If you have dry skin, Dr. Longwill recommends incorporating vitamin E into your skincare regimen. “Vitamin E provides moisturizing, hydrating and anti-inflammatory benefits.”

Dr. Schlessinger agrees, saying vitamin E is a great option for dry skin because it helps improve skin hydration. “Vitamin E has been shown to be an antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that helps skin recover from UV-induced damage. It’s also found in canola oil, almonds, and peanuts, but if you can’t get enough of it that way, consider adding it to your skincare regimen. The LovelySkin LUXE Vita CE with Ferulic Acid ($85) combines vitamin E with vitamins C and ferulic acid — all three are antioxidants — to not only help neutralize free radicals and prevent damage, but is also clinically proven to help reduce wrinkle depth by 63% in as little as 28 days. Ferulic acid is derived from bran, from all things, and vitamin C is also found in many foods we eat.


“The holy grail, retinol, is the best antioxidant for people with normal skin types who want to target fine lines and wrinkles,” says Dr. Longwill. “It’s best to incorporate retinol gradually because it’s strong, but it gives skin a smoother, more youthful finish.” If you have dry skin and want to use retinol, you can use the “sandwich technique,” ​​which involves applying moisturizer (or hydrating serum), then retinol, then another layer of moisturizer. Another technique is “dabbing,” which involves mixing your retinol with your moisturizer to dilute it, then applying them together in one step.

If you have sensitive skin and want to benefit as well, start with the lowest concentration (0.25%) and/or look for encapsulated retinol, which allows the ingredient to penetrate the skin more slowly to minimize the risk of irritation. Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum ($22) uses encapsulated retinol and is a great option for people with sensitive skin or those new to using retinol.

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