What Do Antioxidants Do?

Did you know redness and inflammation of the skin can be caused by a lot of things? It can even be caused by internal stress. But luckily, we have antioxidants. Antioxidants naturally support your skin from environmental damage, the sun’s UVB and UVA rays, and also the damage we get from stress. Antioxidants come in many forms, but some of the best forms are vitamin C,  niacinamide (B3), and resveratrol. All of these are fantastic and can work in ways that support your skin barrier, help bring down inflammation, and likewise, fade away some of that red, purple, and brown discoloration. So, let’s break down the benefits of each. 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and brightener. Vitamin C is fantastic, and it’s great to use it during the morning. You can apply this before you use your sunscreen to help boost your sunscreen up. It also brightens the skin all over because it is a tyrosinase inhibitor. More simply, it lowers pigment production in the skin. 

Given this, Vitamin C works great for evening dark spots, and you can get it over the counter in different capsules. Cassandra would recommend using vitamin C as a leave-on product like a serum, moisturizer, or sunscreen. When people use a light stable, potent form of vitamin C, they normally see results in as little as two weeks or 14 to 21 days. And over time, the results get even better! 


If you don’t want to use vitamin C, you can also use niacinamide. Niacinamide is also known as vitamin B3, and unlike vitamin C, niacinamide doesn’t stop your skin from creating pigment. It just stops it from spreading. The pigment still gets created, but it can’t spread. And when it comes to hyperpigmentation, this really helps.

Niacinamide is great for daytime use. But, you can also use it during the night as well. However, niacinamide is normally a powder, and in skincare, it’s often suspended in different serums or creams. So, it can be a little chalky.

Agency Future Formula 

Fortunately, this formula is chalk free. This has niacinamide at 4%, and the formula Cassandra received doesn’t ball or gum up. Thisformula also has 1% resveratrol, and all the formulas come in custom-tailored blends.If you don’t want to give a prescription though, TIAM is another option. 

TIAM Vita B3 Mist Toner

This formula has 3% niacinamide and tranexamic acid which helps with dark spots. Additionally, it has beta glucans which hydrate and moisturize the skin. This is a great K-beauty option, and because it’s a spray, it’s easy to apply and very refreshing for the summertime. If you hate the feeling of thick stuff on your skin, you will love this. But, if you want a moisturizer, the future formula is probably the better choice.


Resveratrol is fantastic because it’s an amazing antioxidant. It’s actually found in grapes and blueberries. It’s a fantastic antioxidant, but it’s also a polyphenol. What is polyphenol? When plants are being bombarded by things like fungus or bacteria, the plants fight back. And they create these polyphenols to strengthen themselves and fend off organisms that can damage it.  Resveratrol is created by plants to protect themselves, and as a skincare antioxidant, it is amazing  too! Resveratrol can protect from the skin from the sun, environmental damage, and it can help with minor fine lines and wrinkles. But, depending on the formula you get it in, it can also be an amazing antioxidant for redness and discoloration in the skin.


The Ordinary Resveratrol 3% + Ferulic Acid 3%

This is a great antioxidant serum for dark spots, redness, wrinkle care, or an antioxidant boost over sunscreen. 

So, these are all great antioxidant options. But, if you don’t wear sunscreen, it can actually make acne scars, rosacea, and pigmentation worse. So, make sure you wear a sunscreen with antioxidant serums!

Also, remember that antioxidants have a lot of variability. But, in general, if you use antioxidants in a skincare routine for 60 days and twice a day, you can bet that you’ll start to see some of the beneficial results. Antioxidants start working the second you put them on because they’re protecting your skin from that environmental damage!

Photocred: istock