Antioxidants help protect skin cells from damage caused by the oxidation process—which is the same process that causes metals to rust. Some common antioxidants found naturally in the body include glutathione, ubiquinone, vitamin E and alpha lipoic acid. Antioxidants occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and can be created in a lab, but they all shield the skin from the effects of free radicals generated by UV light, pollution and other environmental factors. Antioxidants may have a synergistic effect, meaning their ability to neutralize free radicals may be enhanced when used in particular combinations. [1]
In addition to an instant comforting and smoothing sensation, this moisturizing ingredient works by binding water to the skin and creating a film that provides lasting hydration. [2]
This FDA-approved sunscreen filter is an ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation-absorbing sunscreen ingredient. UVA rays have been shown to penetrate deeper into the skin, damaging its elasticity and contributing to premature skin aging. UVB rays cause sunburn and also contribute to premature skin aging. Avobenzone is often found in broad-spectrum sunscreens (sunscreens that provide protection against UVA and UVB rays). Broad-spectrum sunscreens that provide an SPF of at least 15 not only help prevent sunburn, but also decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun IF used as directed with other sun protection measures such as limiting time in the sun, especially from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats and sunglasses.
Baicalin is a potent antioxidant derived from the root of Baikal skullcap, an herb native to southern China and Korea. With a high concentration of a specific type of antioxidant called flavonoids, clinical studies have shown that baicalin protects skin from free radicals generated by UVA rays. [3]
[Benzoyl peroxide]
Benzoyl peroxide is an FDA-approved active ingredient that is used to treat acne. Micronized forms of benzoyl peroxide allow for better penetration into the pores and skin clearing. [4]
Derived from caffeic acid, which is found naturally in several grains, fruits and vegetables (as well as coffee beans), reports of caffeine’s benefits date back to 400 BC. This ingredient has a high concentration of polyphenol antioxidants. [5]
[Cassia alata]
Also known as senna alata and Candle Bush, cassia alata has long been used for a variety of health, beauty and skin concerns in traditional Indian culture. Today, it is used in skincare products because of its antioxidant activity. [6]
A patented synergistic dual protection technology combining a new optimized combination of UVA/UVB filters for broad spectrum protection + and exclusive antioxidant complex to help protect skin against free radicals
Glycerin is a highly moisturizing ingredient that is capable of absorbing large quantities of water. Discovered in 1779, it has become one of the most widely used hydrating ingredients in cleansers and moisturizers. [8]
[Glycolic acid]
Naturally derived from sugarcane, glycolic acid is part of the hydroxy acid family. It is an exfoliating ingredient that weakens the “glue” that binds dead skin cells together. Glycolic acid helps eliminate the buildup of dead cells that causes a dull appearance and rough surface texture. [9]
This FDA-approved sunscreen filter helps prevent sunburn.
[Hyaluronic acid]
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occuring component of the skin. It acts like a sponge that attracts water, helps keep it in the skin and give the skin a plump look and feel. A humectant ingredient (which helps the skin retain water), hyaluronic acid is a highly effective moisturizing ingredient capable of holding 1,000 times its weight in water, which helps prevents moisture loss. [10]
[Kojic acid]
Kojic acid is a byproduct of the rice fermentation process. A highly effective and common skin-brightening ingredient in skincare products, kojic acid is most often used along with with exfoliating ingredients for optimal results. [11]
Part of the flavonoid family of antioxidants, which helps protect the skin from environmental damage, Lipocidine is derived from the Lotus plant and has been a mainstay in traditional Chinese and Indian culture for centuries. [12]
[Lipo-hydroxy acid] or [LHA]
Similar to salicylic acid (but with an extra lipid molecule that delivers the exfoliation benefits at a lower and less irritating concentration), LHA helps smooth the skin’s surface. This ingredient has an exfoliating effect that helps keep pores clear of dead skin cells and debris. [13]
Inspired by the wound-healing process of plants, this derivative of jasmonic acid (and skin-reinforcing linoleic acid) has the potential to reduce visible signs of premature skin aging. [14]
[Mexoryl™ SX]
A next-generation UV filter that is relatively new to the United States, Mexoryl™ SX has been lauded as a highly effective UVA blocker in Europe for more than 20 years. Stable when exposed to UV light for extended periods of time, this sunscreen ingredient offers protection against damaging short UVA rays.
This FDA-approved sunscreen filter helps prevent sunburn.
This FDA-approved sunscreen filter helps prevent sunburn.
[Omega fatty acids]
“Good fats” found naturally in cold-water fish like salmon, as well as vegetarian sources such as flaxseed and walnuts, omega fatty acids are the building blocks of cell membranes, and have benefits for both the skin and the body as a whole. The human body cannot produce these compounds, which is why it’s important to supplement orally and topically. Omega-6 and -9 are particularly important for healthy skin, as they play a crucial role in maintaining and strengthening the skin’s barrier, which helps the skin retain moisture. [15]
This FDA-approved sunscreen filter helps prevent sunburn.
Derived from a sugar found in beech wood (a common tree in Western Europe), this ingredient is used in skincare products to help reduce visible signs of premature aging. [16]
Retinol is one of many active forms of vitamin A, which is converted into retinoic acid when it is absorbed into the skin. Although vitamin A occurs naturally, the retinol (as well as related ingredients like retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde and other retinyl esters) found in skincare products must be produced in a laboratory. Retinol has been clinically proven to improve visible signs of skin aging and sun damage. [17]
Derived from plant-based sources including the Uncaria plant found in Brazil and the sap of the silver birch tree, this sugar molecule has been recognized for its ability to reduce visible signs of premature skin aging.
[Salicylic acid]
The primary natural source of salicylic acid is willow bark, but this beta-hydroxy acid can be synthesized in a lab as well. Historical references date back to ancient Greece and Rome, and it is believed that Native Americans have used willow-derived ingredients for medicinal purposes for 2,000 years. Today, salicylic acid is a common skincare ingredient due to its exfoliation benefits. It is also used as an active ingredient to treat acne. [18]
[Shea butter]
Shea butter is a fat extracted from the nut of the African shea tree. A highly moisturizing ingredient used in skin and hair products, shea butter acts as an emollient, which means it improves the softness of the skin as it attracts moisture and prevents its evaporation.
[Thermal/volcanic water]
Thermal/volcanic water contains minerals such as selenium, which are derived from the soil it flows through. Selenium in particular has been found to provide antioxidant protection and be soothing for the skin. Used since ancient Roman times for a variety of skin concerns, modern science has proven its far-reaching benefits. [19]
[Titanium dioxide]
A natural mineral, titanium dioxide is primarily used as a physical sunscreen ingredient in conjunction with zinc oxide. Though effective for reflecting both UVA and UVB rays, it has a low risk of irritation and is often recommended for sensitive skin. [19]
[Vitamin B3/Niacinamide]
Also known as nicotinamide, this form of vitamin B3 is found naturally in root vegetables, mushrooms and seeds. It has been used for more than 40 years to improve a wide range of skin concerns such as loss of elasticity and skin dehydration, and it improves skin tone and texture. [20]
[Vitamin C]
Vitamin C (also known as ascorbic acid) is among the most powerful and most-studied antioxidants. It is found naturally in a variety of citrus fruits and vegetables, however the vitamin C found in skincare is typically synthetic and formulated to maximize its potency and stability.
[Vitamin E]
An antioxidant that occurs naturally in fruits, vegetables, nuts, oils and the human body, vitamin E is a main component of sebum (oil) excreted by the skin. Vitamin E often appears in skincare products as tocopherol, and in addition to protecting skin from free radicals, it acts as an emollient as well. [21]
[Zinc oxide]
A natural mineral, zinc oxide is primarily used as a physical sunscreen ingredient in conjunction with titanium dioxide. Though effective for reflecting both UVA and UVB rays, it has a low risk of irritation and is often recommended for sensitive skin.

[1] Dermatologic Therapy, Vol. 25, 2012, 252-259
[3] J Pharm Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;63(12):1613-23. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-7158.2011.01365.x. Epub 2011 Oct 27.
[4] J Drugs Dermatol.2013;12(suppl 6):s73-s76
[5] Baumann, L. (2014). Caffeic Acid. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 166–170). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[7] Baumann, L. (2014). Ceramides. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 57–63). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[8] Baumann, L. (2014). Glycerin. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 74–76). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[9] Baumann, L. (2014). Hydroxy Acids. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 322–323). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[10] Baumann, L. (2014). Hyaluronic Acid. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 77–79). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[11] Baumann, L. (2014). Kojic Acid. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 105–107). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[12] Nutrition and Metabolism, 2010, 7, 66
[14] Exp. Dermatol. 2012, 21, 398-400.
[16] Eur. J. Dermatol. 2008, 18, 36-40.
[17] Baumann, L. (2014). Retinol, Retinyl Esters, and Retinoic Acid. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 306–309). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[18] Baumann, L. (2014). Salicylic Acid. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 301–305). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[19] Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2013:6 23-28
[20] Baumann, L. (2014). Niacinamide. In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 126–128). McGraw-Hill Medical.
[21] Baumann, L. (2014). Tocopherol (Vitamin E). In Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (pp. 182–187). McGraw-Hill Medical.