Every day our body, and especially our skin, is assaulted by numerous environmental hazards. This includes UV radiation, smoke, chemical industrial pollutants, synthetic dyes, and a myriad of other substances. With chronic exposure, these chemicals can be damaging to living cells. The damage occurs in the form of free radicals formation, in which highly reactive electrically charged molecules cause damaging chemical reactions.
Antioxidants are molecules that counteract the damaging free radicals. Compounds with antioxidant properties include vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, and polyphenols. These are the compounds that are often touted as healthy in foods, as they are thought to help fight cancer formation. Not surprisingly, these same compounds are also beneficial when applied to the skin.
Numerous skin products either contain antioxidants as one of many ingredients or as the sole active ingredient. Antioxidants are often formulated in serums and should be used underneath sunscreen and makeup so that it is in direct contact with the skin.