How To, Vitamins For The Skin

How To Choose The Best Antioxidant For Your Skin

Best Antioxidant

Almost every skin care brand on the market today have added antioxidants in the skin ranges and the choice can be confusing. Some of the most frequent questions that we receive about antioxidants are: “What is the best antioxidant I should use for my skin?” and “Should I use Vitamin C or Vitamin A as I am not sure which is better?”

To answer the above questions, it is important to know what antioxidants do for our skin.

Antioxidant Benefits:

There are numerous benefits that antioxidants provide for our skin and here are the most important ones to know:

  1. Antioxidants Fight against free-radical damage: free radicle damage or oxidative damage is a major cause of ageing skin (after UV damage) resulting in rough texture, pores, pigmentation and wrinkles.
  2. Prevent visible and infrared light damage (light waves emitted from computer and laptop screens, mobile devices such as cellular phones).
  3. Enhances the effectiveness of sunscreens in preventing further sun damage.
  4. Increases skin cell healing and regeneration.
  5. Increases collagen and elastin production.
  6. Helps to treat scars.
  7. Repair UV damage.

Your Antioxidant Guide: How to Choose the best Antioxidant?

Your best approach when choosing an appropriate antioxidant for your skin is to focus on your main skin concern. By using this approach as your starting point the choice of antioxidant (Vitamin C vs Vitamin A or both) is made much easier and is a lot less confusing.

Below is a quick reference guide to assist you in identifying which antioxidants are suited, based on your skin concern:

SKIN CONCERN VITAMIN C VITAMIN A
Fine Lines & Wrinkles: Best Antioxidant(If Retinol is contraindicated) Best Antioxidant
Pigmentation: Best Antioxidant Best Antioxidants
Acne & Oil prone skin: Best Antioxidants Best AntioxidantIf you have any contraindications
refer to below
Textured skin: Best Antioxidant Best AntioxidantIf you have any contraindications
refer to below

Continue reading to find our more information on each skin concern along with Dr Alek’s Antioxidant product recommendations

Skin Concerns

Fine lines and wrinkles

My go to ingredient for fine lines and wrinkles is vitamin A and the specific ingredients I look for are either Retinol or Granactive Retinol. My preference is Granactive retinol mostly because it has a less sensitising effect on the skin, however both ingredients have been shown to be very effective in treating fine lines and wrinkles with other added benefits, such as:

  1. Increased skin hydration.
  2. Stimulation of collagen and elastin.
  3. Improving skin texture and health.
  4. Increasing healthy youthful glow.

If you have any contraindications to using vitamin A like pregnancy, breast feeding or using oral Roaccutane then a suitable alternative is vitamin C.

Dr Alek’s vitamin A tip: “To help reduce any skin reactions or sensitivity use every third night for the first two weeks, followed by every second night for an additional two weeks. If no skin reaction occurs continue to apply vitamin A every night. Start with the lowest strength first, and slowly move up to the higher strengths of retinol or Granactive retinol.”

Vitamin A Suggestions:

Pigmentation

Vitamin C not only acts as an antioxidant for the skin, but it also has amazing properties for treating hyperpigmentation.

These include:

  1. Increase the effectiveness of your sunscreen or SPF.
  2. It acts as a mild exfoliator.
  3. It accelerates the skin’s cell turnover mechanism, breaking up dark spots and dull skin tone.
  4. It helps to block the enzymes that are necessary to produce new pigment or melanin in skin cells.

Dr Alek’s Vitamin C tip: “When treating hyperpigmentation further benefits will be achieved by adding Vitamin A to your night time skin regime”.

Vitamin C Suggestions:

Acne and Oily Prone Skin:

Vitamin A is a great ingredient to add if you suffer from oily and acne prone skin. This ingredient has been shown to help reduce sebum production which is one of the major contributors to pores, oily skin and bacteria accumulation which results in breakouts and acne lesions. Please note that there are specific contraindications to using topical retinol including pregnancy, breast feeding and oral Roaccutane.

If you have any of these contraindications, then a good alternative is topical alphahydroxy and polyhydroxy acids.

Vitamin A Suggestions:

Textured Skin:

People who suffer from rough and/or textured skin will benefit from a combination approach of Vitamin C in the morning and Vitamin A at night. In the same light if we suffer from a combination of skin concerns like fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, pores and rough texture your best approach would be to combine vitamin A and C into your skin regimes. Please note that there are specific contraindications to using topical retinol including pregnancy, breast feeding and oral Roaccutane.

If you have any of these contraindications, then a good alternative is vitamin C and topical alphahydroxy acids.

Vitamin C Suggestions:

I hope that the above approach of focusing on your main skin concern will help you in choosing the best antioxidant for your skin. The above-mentioned ingredients are not considered a comprehensive list of all the available antioxidants that we can use. Interestingly most manufacturers combine other antioxidants such as vitamin E, resveratrol and ferulic acid in their products for further benefits but we will focus on these in our next blog post.

Yours in skin
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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