Protect your skin and erase fine lines and wrinkles with these top picks.

By Ayren Jackson-Cannady
Updated September 10, 2020
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Everyone should have a skincare routine that's tailored to fit their specific needs. For example, if you have oily skin, you'll want products that combat breakouts, and if your face is on the dryer side, you want products that offer adequate moisture. But no matter what concerns you're dealing with, everyone can benefit from items that contain antioxidants. (No, they're not just in the foods you eat.) These ingredients protect your skin from free radicals, which are the molecules produced by environmental elements like the sun and tobacco smoke. Antioxidants can slow skin aging and reduce the appearance of fine lines," says David Colbert, M.D., a New York City dermatologist. Here are five of the most beneficial antioxidants in skincare products, plus five items that you should add to your regimen.

Courtesy of DermStore

1. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is naturally found in the skin (plus, many of the foods we eat, such as spinach and almonds). This antioxidant fires up collagen production, which in turn fills in fine lines and reduces the appearance of age spots.

Courtesy of Neiman Marcus

2. Lycopene

If you've eaten a tomato or guava, chances are you've consumed lycopene, a carotenoid that gives red and pink fruits their vibrant color. 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.

Courtesy of Target

3. Vitamin A

If you use any retinol, you already have Vitamin A in your skincare routine. (And if you don't apply any yet, it's time to start.) Retinol is a potent ingredient that penetrates deep into the skin and smoothes fine lines and wrinkles. Products featuring retinol can get very expensive, but there are also affordable options that are still effective. If you're looking for an alternative, check out bakuchiol.

Courtesy of Ulta

4. Vitamin C

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." Unfortunately, your skin won't see many anti-aging benefits just by adding more oranges to your diet. But dermatologists say, if small enough, Vitamin C molecules can penetrate the skin to smooth out fine lines.

Courtesy of Ulta

5. Green Tea

It's not just for sipping! 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. When applied to the skin, green tea extract reduces inflammation, thus minimizing the appearance of sun damage (think: fine lines and age spots).

These nature-powered antioxidants can reduce signs of aging and give skin a healthy, youthful glow. The next time you're out shopping for new beauty supplies, check the labels for these skin-improving ingredients.


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