As the sunshine rears its glorious head, UVA rays (which cause wrinkles) and UVB rays (which burn) wreak havoc on our skin by encouraging free radical damage causing premature ageing. And that's not even mentioning environmental aggressors which we have to deal with all year round. To boost protection and help reverse the damage that’s already been done introduce a hardworking antioxidant into your daily routine.
We asked Victorian Beauticater Lauren Kennedy – (who is also a wine blogger and gets her fair share of the vino-variety of antioxidants) to test a host of protective serums and report back. She canvassed her top performers here. So you can say goodbye to fine lines and wrinkles and hello to a brighter and more radiant complexion. Just remember to add a broad-spectrum sunscreen for complete protection against the elements.
BEST FOR A SPLURGE
“If you’re a city dweller like myself then your skin is constantly exposed to environmental stress and inflammation so we need something super strong. PREVAGE Anti-Aging + Intensive Repair Daily Serum contains the much-hyped super free-radical-fighter Idebenone, along with a host of other protective, high-tech ingredients. It is a whopping $265, but if you feel like a splurge you won’t be disappointed. It screams luxury from the moment of application. The lightweight gel, spreads easily over skin and is gold and shimmery in colour. The shiny silver bottle comes with its own calibrated dropper to allow for precision dispensing, ensuring you don’t waste a skerrick of this lush liquid. As for the results? I was super impressed. After only a few days of lathering this lavish serum morning and night my skin was noticeably smoother, softer, more radiant and brighter.
“If pigmentation is your peeve Aspect Pigment Punch is your remedy – this antioxidant skin serum promises to banish age spots, brown spots, freckles, hormonal marks, blotchy uneven skin tone and acne scars. I’ve read that blemishes and discolouration, more so than wrinkles, add years to your appearance and until recently, battling pigmentation meant using irritating chemical skin lighteners. Aspect’s hero ingredient Tyrostat eliminates this problem and lightens and brightens skin without burning, irritating or causing trauma – which is perfect, as I suffer from sensitive skin. After a few weeks of use, my sensitive skin was clearer, brighter, more evenly toned and my facial redness calmed down considerably. If you ask me, a serum for approximately $121, which stops pigmentation from rearing its ugly head in the first place is a sage investment.”
PERFECT FOR SUN DAMAGED SKIN
Cosmedix Affirm Anti-Oxidant Firming Serum, $99
“Every year, as summer approaches, I start looking for a miracle serum that will reverse the years of sun damage I copped as a kid, and defend my skin against further environmental destruction. Cosmedix Affirm Anti-Oxidant Firming Serum has answered my prayers. Powered by peptides and over ten antioxidants this supercharged serum promises to defend against harmful free radicals and help heal sun exposed and dehydrated skin. This lightweight serum soaked into my skin immediately. It definitely boosted my skin’s moisture levels without being greasy and after a few weeks of application my skin felt smoother and firmer. I looked up the ingredients and was impressed – Resveratrol (the antioxidant in my beloved wine!) and Vitamin E provide potent and powerful antioxidant protection while biopeptides help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I love that it can also be used on sensitive skin and acne prone skin and paired with other serums to achieve your desired results.”
“Former beauty director and author Zoe Foster Blake’s (read Beauticate’s interview with her here) latest addition to her already stellar Go-To Skincare lineup is the saviour my skin had been waiting for. The gentle and completely natural, lightweight face oil is packed with 10 potent plant and nut oils as well as essential fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants (like Totarol, Rosemary Seed Extract and Vitamin E). When I started using this product I questioned whether an oil would make my skin breakout. The answer? Absolutely not – in fact, quite the opposite. Oily skin is, more often than not, dehydrated due to over cleansing and exfoliating which leads to congestion. Face Hero helped my skin function properly to produce the right amount of oil it needed to clear up my blemishes. I also love that it’s certified cruelty free and there are absolutely no nasties like parabens, sulfates, palm oil and petrochemicals, meaning it’s super gentle on your skin and is perfectly safe for pregnant women too (I should know, I used this through my entire pregnancy and while breastfeeding too).”
“After a season of heater havoc I was pretty hopeful when it came to testing this little baby. The feather-light, oil-free hydrating antioxidant serum is jam-packed with toning, firming and anti-wrinkle properties. I like that they use proven ingredients that deliver results. After a few weeks I actually found an increase in my skin’s firmness. It even helped decrease my under-eye bags and puffiness, that have crept up, thanks to my delightful newborn. It contains Glutathione, which is apparently the most abundant antioxidant in the human body, along with Vitamin C and E to protect against free radical destruction. Sodium Hyaluronate further adds to its list of powerful ingredients to hydrate skin. It’s particularly effective on those with dry and/or sensitive skin like myself because it contains no nasties (I’m talking parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan). Crammed into a 30ml bottle with the inspiring words on the side, may we grow beautiful as we grow wise, this little superstar certainly inspired a new found hope in my skin.
“Designed for all skin types, particularly sensitive and problematic skin, Radical Advanced Peptide Antioxidant Serum has apparently been formulated to fight the 16 factors that cause skin to age – gotta love that! It contains nine antioxidants to shield against free radical damage (which causes premature ageing), along with 13 active ingredients designed to reduce wrinkles, improve elasticity and firmness and increase hydration and softness. True to its word, immediately after application I could have sworn my skin was brighter and more radiant and, after a few weeks, day and night, I definitely noticed a more hydrated, softer and clearer complexion. Another natural-leaning formulation, without sulfates and phthalates, I think this cruelty free serum is worth the steeper price tag of $250 for its potent yet gentle antioxidant and anti-ageing ingredients.”
“Cosmeceutical brand Skinceuticals gets a great wrap online and overseas for their Phloretin CF, which contains a ridiculous amount of potent antioxidants designed to diminish the appearance of discolouration and improve skin tone. Its hero ingredient, Phloretin, which is derived from the bark of apple trees, protects skin against free radicals and helps correct existing damage by accelerating cell turnover. It also contains L-Ascorbic Acid and Ferulic Acid which neutralise free radical damage for a more radiant and firmer complexion. It’s a bit pricey but Phloretin CF lives up to its promise. In less than two weeks, after applying the serum in the morning, my sensitive skin was noticeably softer and brighter. According to all the reviews online, it’s also great for oily, problematic and normal skin too. Added bonus? Once this serum is absorbed it can’t be washed or rubbed off so you can go about your day knowing that your skin is protected no matter what lies ahead. Perfect for those sweaty summer days when everything seems to melt off my skin.”
PERFECT FOR CITY SLICKERS
Ultraceuticals Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex, $89
“Ultraceutical’s latest antioxidant superhero, Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex, promises to protect your skin from daily pollutants and environmental aggressors. We’re talking defense against UV radiation, pollution, diet, stress and sleep deprivation (don’t we all need that?) It’s jam-packed with antioxidants including Chaparral, Milk Thistle (Silymarin), Provitamin C, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid and Caffeine to help reduce the visible signs of ageing and minimise free radical damage. Firstly, I love that this powerful antioxidant serum is an affordable $89 and that it’s 100% Australian made and owned, free from parabens and synthetic fragrances and is kind to animals. It’s suitable for all skin types including my sensitive skin; is lightweight and glides on beautifully (with an almost silicone like texture). It’s been designed to work in synergy with the Ultraceuticals Ultra UV Protective Daily Moisturiser range (SPF 30+ or 50+ moisturisers) to provide even greater environmental protection against photoageing. I have been using the Ultraceuticals UV Protective Daily Shield Mineral Defense SPF 50+ moisturiser for months now so I was excited to team it with this antioxidant complex. To my pleasant surprise this dynamic duo proved to be a potent powerhouse, making me feel that my skin is protected from all the elements, from dusk till dawn.”
Story by Lauren Kennedy