Have ever heard your dermal clinician or doctor talk about antioxidants and how amazing they are for your skin, but not quite understood what all the fuss is about? Well, we are here to explain it.

Antioxidants are naturally occurring vitamins and minerals (think Vitamins A, C and E to name a few), that protect your skin against free radicals. To better understand antioxidants and why they are so loved among skin care professionals, we need to first understand what free radicals are. Put simply, they are particles in the environment that damage your skin by clinging to your collagen and weakening elasticity. They come from a range of internal and external factors such as stress, sugar, sun exposure and UV radiation as well as things like air pollutants, chemicals, and cigarette smoke – they basically suck the life out of your skin!

Fortunately, many studies have shown that by including antioxidants in your skin care regime, your skin will be able to fight free radical damage and recover from oxidative stress. Trust us, your skin will love you for it! While antioxidants can not only neutralise those pesky free radicals to protect your skin from damage, some can also help brighten your skin, calm irritation and even smooth fine lines.

But when should we apply them? There has been many debates and discussions around when to use our antioxidants over the years. In more recent times, there has been a shift in the way skin care professionals have been talking about antioxidants, and while some still recommend applying them in the morning, there are many reasons to apply them at night. As explained by New York City based, dermatologist, Neal Schultz, M.D., “If you apply an antioxidant in the morning and then go outside, it will act much like a sunscreen, sponging up UV-generated free radicals before they can harm the skin. But in the process, that antioxidant is destroyed and never gets fully absorbed into your cells where it’s really needed.” So, to get the most benefit out of our antioxidants, in particular, Vitamin C, we recommend a night time application.

Now that we know when to apply our antioxidants, what are the best antioxidants for your skin?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as L-Ascorbic acid, is the ultimate antioxidant for brightening dull, tired-looking skin. A favourite and one of the most studied antioxidants, vitamin C is known for its ability to boost collagen production, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, lighten hyperpigmentation and protect the skin against sun damage. Vitamin C is highly unstable and can lose its potency when exposed to light or air, so we recommend storing it in a cool, dark drawer or cabinet. For this same reason, we also suggest applying your Vitamin C serum at night time! This will allow your skin to take on the benefits of this multi-tasking ingredient to reveal a much brighter, fresher and more even complexion before stepping out in to daylight the next day

Our pick: Skinologie by Dr Yilmaz – 20% Vitamin C Serum $95

Formulated by Dr Yilmaz, this Vitamin C serum contains 20% pure L-Ascorbic Acid, the highest level your skin is able to utilise. As it contains fewer preservatives, it is recommended to store this serum in the fridge. But if this isn’t convenient for you, we do have a number of other options available which are not required to be kept in the fridge.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic $218

CE Ferulic is a vitamin C serum formulated with 15% L-ascorbic acid to combine its powerful antioxidant benefits with vitamin E (1%) and 0.5% ferulic acid for advanced environmental protection and visible anti-ageing benefits.

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Known as the ‘gold standard’ in anti-ageing, retinol regulates and normalises cellular turnover, keeping your skin acting young! It smooths fine lines and wrinkles, improves hydration levels, brightens skin, fades scars and dark marks, and drastically reduces congestion and acne. Retinol is a powerful antioxidant that is applied at night and will fight environmental aggressors that can lead to premature ageing. It is important to always wear an SPF50+ when using retinol as it can increase your risk of sunburn.

Our pick: Cosmedix Elite Serum 24 $160

A unique blend of LG-Retinex, microencapsulated Retinol and Retinaldehyde makes Serum 24 youth in a bottle – an age-defying serum. Developed with free radical fighting antioxidants, this serum is formulated using a combination of science and botanical ingredients to help firm skin, smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin texture and hydration levels.

Ultraceuticals MD A Refining Mild $166

This star performer contains high levels of an advanced Retinol stabilisation and delivery technology. Developed to support the skin’s epidermis, this serum smoothes and dramatically softens the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin E

Often seen as tocopherol in skincare products, Vitamin E is a popular antioxidant for its ability to accelerate the skin’s healing process, act as a natural anti-inflammatory and keep your skin feeling soft and supple. Known for its hydration properties, you will find it in many moisturisers and serums that target dry skin! While it can be used on its own, Vitamin E is even more powerful against free radicals when combined with Vitamin C – which is why you’ll see so many Vitamin C + E products, and together with your SPF will provide further protection from sun damage.

Our pick: Ultraceuticals Antioxidant Complex $92

Formulated with a powerful complex of antioxidants including Silymarin (Milk Thistle), Vitamin C derivative, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid that help protect against non-UV environmental stressors and can act as a primer.

SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic $218

CE Ferulic is a vitamin C serum formulated with 15% L-ascorbic acid to combine its powerful antioxidant benefits with vitamin E (1%) and 0.5% ferulic acid for advanced environmental protection and visible anti-ageing benefits.


More recently, glutathione is making headlines in the skin care industry and for all the right reasons! It is a powerful and potent antioxidant that aids in cell repair, is a powerful immunity booster and delays early signs of ageing. Sometimes referred to as the “mother of all antioxidants,” Glutathione helps detoxify the skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and lighten sun damage. Because of its powerful antioxidant effects and ability to help lighten dark spots and brighten the skin overall, topical glutathione is a key ingredient in a number of skin care products!

Our pick: Cosmedix Elite Pepoxide $138

A unique blend of sixteen powerful antioxidants and peptide amino acids aid in the protection of free radical damage while helping to dramatically improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

**If you have not used any of the products mentioned above, we recommend a consultation with one of our clinicians to prescribe the right products for you and your skin**