Anti-Oxidants, Skin Care Ingredients

How Antioxidants Work

Why Do We Need Anti-Oxidants and Which One Is Best?

Read more and find out How Antioxidants Work

Even though we need a variety of key skin ingredients to achieve the best from our skin regimes I thought it is important to highlight the vital place anti-oxidants play in our skin care regimes and the specific effects they have for our skins.

Why Choose An Antioxidant?

Anti-oxidants are substances such as vitamin C or E that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism including the skin. Very simply they help to prevent damage to our cells by stopping free radicle damage. Antioxidants are found fairly abundantly in foods including fruits and vegetables such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Vitamin E, beta carotene, green tea extract, soy extract, pomegranate extract, and turmeric. Antioxidants are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage which is a common pathway for cancer, aging, and a variety of diseases.

What Are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.

Antioxidants have the ability to safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before cells are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene (precursor to vitamin A or retinol), and vitamin C. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in our diets and applied directly to our skins.

With repeated free-radical cellular damage we will start to see signs of aging such as sagging skin, wrinkles, and brown spots.

Added Antioxidants Benefits

Anti-oxidants can also reduce inflammation which is typically associated with the destruction of collagen, preventing normal skin healing, and even destroying elastin in the skin.

Irrespective of your age and the degree of skin damage or ageing one of the most important ingredients to add to your skincare routine are antioxidants. The very simple reason for this is that our skins encounter free radicle and the damage they cause through pollution, UV rays, and other environmental factors both in and out of our control (such as smoking). Anti-oxidants can be found in a host of skin care products: toner, serum or moisturizer.

What To Look Out For

All anti-oxidants should come protected from direct sunlight and oxidation (exposure to the air) so look for products that are non-see through and air tight to keep the ingredients viable and effective.

Here are some of my recommendations for all skin types and for all budgets:

  • EXUVIANCE VESPERA BIONIC SERUM: Help smooth lines and wrinkles on aging skin while protecting from oxidative damage with this concentrated treatment blended with Alpha Hydroxy and Polyhydroxy acids, Pro-Vitamins A, C, and E, and powerful antioxidants. Clinical studies indicate that after 6 weeks of use: 212% improvement in skin clarity & 89% of users claimed a significant improvement in skin texture and smoothness.
  • DERMACEUTIC C25 CREAM: This concentrated formula contains 25% vitamin c complex, vitamins A, B5, and E, and polyphenols to combat oxidative stress, and protects the skin from premature aging. 25% Vitamin C Complex: A powerful antioxidant, it reduces the signs of skin aging. Vitamin A: Improves the structure of the skin and combats the signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation. Vitamin B5: Reduces water loss and keeps the skin smooth and elastic due to its moisturizing properties. Vitamin E: Renowned for its antioxidant properties, vitamin E also combats the signs of photoageing. Polyphenols: Naturally present in plants and fruit, polyphenols combat the action of free radicals and preserve the integrity of the skin’s collagen.
  • EXUVIANCE ANTIOXIDANT SERUM PERFECT 10: Four Amino Acids provide skin with the building blocks of new collagen, Matrixyl® Peptides help stimulate new collagen, NeoGlucosamine® builds Hyaluronic Acid, skin’s natural filler and collagen support system, Gardenia Cell Extract helps block enzymes that can degrade collagen and slacken skin.
  • NEOSTRATA SKIN ACTIVE ANTIOXIDANT DEFENSE SERUM: Patented Bionic and Polyhydroxy acids trap oxidation-promoting metals like iron and help to prevent sun-induced cellular skin damage. The powerful combination of citric acid and lilac, green tea and Chardonnay grape seed extracts work together to neutralise five different types of free radicals and help to preserve healthy DNA, lipids and cellular membranes.
  • DERMAQUEST C INFUSION SERUM: DermaQuest’s C Infusion Serum uses extra-active BV-OSC and Orange Stem Cells, known to gently tone and tighten, while protecting skin from harmful free radicals that cause fine lines and wrinkles. A good investment for all skin types at every stage, C Infusion energizes skin as discoloration and future signs of aging recede through the power of nourishing antioxidants.


I hope you found the article on how anti-oxidants work useful and that you will consider adding them to your skin care regime. Remember we have tested all our online doctor prescribed skin products at my cosmetic practice. If you have any skin questions let me know and please feel free to post any comments.

Kind regards

Dr Alek Nikolic











About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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3 thoughts on “How Antioxidants Work

  1. Sam says:

    Thank you DR Alek and yes i did find this article useful, a very interesting read and i would have never of guessed that the packaging was that important.

    1. Dr Alek Nikolic says:

      Hi Sam and thanks for the comments. Active ingredients in skin products do need special packaging to remain stable and work on our skins. Kind regards Dr Alek Nikolic

  2. Justine says:

    I always knew that antioxidants were important and this really explained to me why, thank you

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