Just like a slicker shields your clothes from a rain shower, topical antioxidants protect your skin from free radicals, which are the molecules produced by environmental elements like tobacco smoke, the sun, and tanning beds. What this means for you? "Antioxidants can slow skin aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines," says David Colbert, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. Read on for some of the experts' favorite beauty-boosting antioxidants.
Vitamin E What it is: Vitamin E is naturally found in the skin (plus, many of the foods we eat like spinach and almonds). How it works: This antioxidant fires up collagen production, which in turn fills in fine lines and reduces the appearance of age spots. Try it: Yes to Carrots Fragrance Free Ultra Hydrating Night Cream, $12.99
Lycopene What it is: If you've eaten a tomato or a guava, chances are you've consumed lycopene, a carotenoid that gives red and pink fruits their vibrant color. How it works: In addition to revving up collagen production when applied topically, this powerful antioxidant evens out skin texture by filtering out some of the DNA damage. Try it: 100% Pure Tomato Lycopene Facial Cream, $32
Coffee Berry What it is: These little red berries plucked from the coffee plant are one of the most potent antioxidants, making it a popular add-in for skin care products. How it works: Coffee berry prevents collagen damage, reduces wrinkles, and protects the skin against damage. But the beauty benefits don't end there. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on skin, which can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leading to a more youthful glow. Try it: Priori Radiance Eye Serum, $75
Vitamin C What it is: You already know how helpful Vitamin C is for warding off unwanted colds when consumed orally (hello, orange juice!). Now, some studies show that it also helps protect against free radicals and boost collagen production. Dr. Colbert likes to use Vitamin C around the eyes, "an area of the face highly prone to sun damage and aging." How it works: Unfortunately, your skin won't see many anti-aging benefits just by adding more oranges into your diet. But dermatologists say, if small enough, Vitamin C molecules can penetrate skin to smooth out fine lines. Try it: Lumene Vitamin C+ Nourishing Night Cream, $19.99
Green Tea What it is: It's not just for sipping with scones! Green tea is an antioxidant that contains chemicals called catechins that help reverse wrinkles and blemishes. FYI: Green tea has five times more catechins than black tea. How it works: When applied to skin, green tea extract reduces inflammation, thus minimizing the appearance of sun damage (think: fine lines and age spots). Try it: John Masters Organics Green Tea and Rose Hydrating Serum, $26