The role of topical antioxidants 19th Feb 2018 | By Kesiree Naidoo The role of topical antioxidants in our skincare routine has become of vital importance. While sunscreens are able to limit the amount of UV light reaching the skin cells, they do not offer complete protection, and do not protect us from infrared (heat), visible light and atmospheric pollution which have come under scrutiny in recent years. These environmental factors cause damage to DNA of skin cells leading to premature ageing and possibly irreparable gene mutations. Repeatedly damaged cells can become cancerous. Damage to collagen and elastin which are proteins in our skin result in ageing, loss of elasticity, wrinkling and volume loss. Regular application of topical antioxidants create a reservoir in the skin protecting our skin from these environmental aggressors. In this way antioxidants provide us with an ‘active’ protection against skin cancer, photo-ageing, inflammation and pigmentation. Antioxidants are multi-functional, in that they prevent sunburn, stimulate collagen production and improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots, thereby reversing the effects of environmental damage . Thus antioxidants play an increasingly important role in your sun protection strategy. Antioxidants must be used in conjunction with a good sunscreen, and as part of a comprehensive anti-ageing routine.