8 Antioxidants That Fight Skin Damage Caused By Free Radicals

Written by Jennifer Gordon, MD, Board Certified Dermatologist on April 10, 2018 No Comments

antioxidants prevent skin damage

Did you know that your skin is constantly exposed to unseen assailants each time you step outside? Environmental factors, like air pollution and herbicides, produce damaging molecules called free radicals. Normally the body can easily deal with free radicals as they are neutralized by antioxidants within the skin. However, damage and accelerated aging of the skin can occur if free-radical production becomes excessive or if the skin’s antioxidant levels are low.

One way to fight back against free radicals is to boost your antioxidant levels. Here are 8 antioxidants that can help prevent accelerated skin aging:


Found in red fruits and vegetables, Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant which is known for improving texture and spurring collagen growth. Lycopene can be found in most daily vitamin supplements as well as topical skin care products.


Also known as vitamin B3, Niacinamide is an antioxidant with both anti-pigmenting and anti-inflammatory properties. As such, niacinamide is great for addressing redness, irritation, and hyperpigmentation.

Coffee Berry

This antioxidant actually prevents collagen damage, protecting the skin from sun damage and aging. Coffee berry is also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which can help calm the skin. You can find coffee berry in a variety of anti-aging skin products.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is one of the most popular antioxidants, as it is known for boosting collagen (which in turn reduces wrinkles, lines, and age spots). Vitamin E can be found in food (like almonds, avocado, and broccoli), daily supplements, and in topical skin care products.

Vitamin C

Usually known for its immunity boosting properties, vitamin C can also help protect the skin from UV rays and free radicals. Vitamin C is readily available in several foods, but several studies show a minimal impact to the skin from increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods. The best way to deliver vitamin C to your skin is through enriched topical lotions or creams.

Grape Seed

Grape seed extract contains proanthocyanidins, which are known to seek out and destroy free radicals. In fact, there is some evidence that grape seed extract may be even stronger on free radicals than both vitamin E and C.


Topical creams formulated with concentrated Resveratrol (a naturally occurring compound in grapes and nuts) has been shown to protect the skin from ultraviolet B (UVB) damage.

Green Tea

Green tea is rich in a chemical called catechins, which is an antioxidant that works to both heal and prevent cellular damage. In terms of skin care, topically applying green tea can help protect the skin from sun damage by minimizing the effects of UV exposure to skin cells. Note, green tea does not block sun rays and is not a replacement for sunscreen.


Jennifer Gordon, MD

Dr. Gordon is Board Certified by the American Board of Dermatology and is a member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), the American Academy of Dermatology, the Dermatology Foundation, the Texas Medical Association and the Travis County Medical Society. Currently, Dr. Gordon oversees our South Austin location.

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