antioxidants

Photo: Craig Cutler

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Antioxidants
Star power: Antioxidants disable free radicals, the molecules generated by sun, pollution and other sources, which damage the DNA of healthy skin cells, leading to wrinkles, discoloration and possibly cancer.

What to look for on the label: Vitamin C, idebenone, green tea, vitamin E, ferulic acid, phloretin and coenzyme Q10. Vitamin C is a favorite among doctors because it has been shown to not only fight free radicals but also encourage collagen production. Choose a vitamin C product that contains L-ascorbic acid, one of the more stable forms. It needs to be at a relatively low pH; though you won't see pH on the label, you'll know the level is about right if your skin tingles for a minute after you apply the product.

For best results: "A mix of antioxidants, which all tackle free radicals a bit differently, creates the best offense," says dermatologist Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the Baumann Cosmetic & Research Institute in Miami. An example of an effective regimen: Layer a serum with vitamins C and E under your sunscreen in the morning and a lotion with green tea over your retinoid in the evening.

You should know: Antioxidants (vitamin C in particular) are notoriously susceptible to air and light. To be effective, they must be packaged in an airtight, opaque pump or tube.

We recommend:

iS Clinical C & E Serum Advance+ ($128; dermstore.com)

Givenchy No Surgetics Plasti Sculpt Eye Lifting Gel ($81; sephora.com)
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