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What do antioxidants in skincare products do?

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
These are ingredients that neutralize free radicals, which are molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals are by-products of cell metabolism and they try to get electrons from other molecules. The resulting damage leads to a cascade of events of which the end result is inflammation and an acceleration of the aging process. When antioxidants are used on the skin, even if they don’t penetrate beyond the upper layers, they can help to stop or slow the process of oxidation caused by free radicals and keep the cell membranes more stable. The problem with some antioxidants is that they themselves are not stable, so as soon as they are exposed to oxygen or light they break down. The trick is to create antioxidants that are stable, effective, not irritating and in adequate concentrations to exert an effect. Reputable skincare lines do contain stable antioxidants. Examples of antioxidants used in skin care products are grape seed extract, green tea extract, and vitamins A, C, and E.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.