Skincare Active Ingredients

Are Antioxidants sunscreens?

No, antioxidants are not sunscreens but using them together is really effective.

Antioxidants are secondary photo protectors, the main way you can reduce the risk of sun UV radiation damage is to use sunscreen and avoid sun exposure.

The only way to treat photodamage (damage caused to skin by UV radiation) is sunscreen.

UV filters in sunscreen block the UV radiation from entering your skin. They do so by forming a film layer onto your skin and absorbing UV radiation. The damaging UV radiation has a wavelength between 240 to 400 nm. So it is important that a sunscreen contains filters that can absorb UV radiation within this range.

Antioxidants like vitamin C do not absorb UV radiation within this range of 240 to 400 nm. They can contribute to the photo stability of other UV filters but do not absorb radiation.

Some antioxidants like vitamin E do absorb slightly within this range , but it does not mean that they can replace UV filters because a UV filter needs more requirements than only UV-absorbing.

What can Antioxidants do as Secondary Photoprotectors?

Antioxidants can actually help to absorb some of that UV radiation If you don’t apply sunscreen properly (skipping some body parts, not applying enough, and frequently). Improper use of sunscreen can result in UV radiation getting into the skin and can cause damage.

When the skin gets exposed to UV radiation, the free radicals get formed and they can damage the skin. This leads to chronic damage and aging of the skin. Antioxidants can decrease the damage by neutralizing these free radicals.

Topically applied antioxidants have shown to be very effective at neutralizing free radicals.

Sunscreens and antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E are a great combination, but antioxidants cannot replace sunscreens.

What Antioxidants can I use along with Sunscreens?

  • Vitamin C + Vitamin E (you can also combine it with Ferulic acid).
  • Silymarin
  • Green tea polyphenols
  • There are many other antioxidants you can use out there.

Note: Make sure you apply your antioxidants first, then finish it off with a moisturizer and sunscreen.