It’s no secret that the biggest contributing factor that leads to premature skin ageing is sun and ultra-violet (UV) light exposure. By now, we’re well versed in the benefits of applying daily sunscreen, but did you know that applying other active ingredients, like antioxidants, can also help decrease damage from UV rays? Read on to discover the strategy and science of sun protection through SPF and antioxidant application.
What does the sun do to skin?
The sun produces different kinds of electromagnetic waves including ultra-violet radiation. There are two kids of UV light and each one acts differently when it bumps into skin cells.
UVA LightA longer wavelength of light that’s able to penetrate to all layers of the skin and is absorbed by the cells found there . The energy from UVA light causes chemical reactions in the cells that releases toxic molecules known as reactive oxygen species . These molecules can damage surrounding proteins and amino acids, like those found in DNA, leading to mutations. Since DNA is a cell's instruction manual to carry out tasks, these DNA mutations cause cells to function inappropriately. This is what leads to cancer formation, decreased collagen production, and induces visible signs of premature ageing . Since UVA light works at the surface as well as in deeper layers of skin, often the damage isn’t fully realized until later in life as the DNA damaged cells multiply each year and come to the surface .
A shorter wavelength of light that is completely absorbed by the epidermis (outermost layer of skin). UVB light is directly absorbed into DNA leading to the same genetic mutations but specifically at the surface of the skin . This form of light has higher energy levels than UVA and induces an immune reaction in the skin that leads to reddening and sunburn [1, 3].
How does sunscreen help prevent this damage?
Chemical sunscreens absorb a portion of UV light before it can reach the skin and mineral sunscreen reflects the light . When applied correctly, both types of sunscreens can help prevent some UV rays from being absorbed (95-97%) but no sunscreen can block 100% of sunlight.
What are antioxidants?
An antioxidant is a molecule with an ability to neutralize harmful reactive oxygen species (free radicles) in the body. Antioxidants bind to the free radicals, rendering them stable, harmless and preventing them from damaging the body .
How can antioxidants prevent damage?
When UVA light exposure induces the production of free-radicals, antioxidants can neutralize them before they can cause damage.
Pairing SPF and Antioxidant Skin Care
Antioxidants don’t prevent UV light from reaching the skin therefore are not a replacement for sunscreen. Research does suggest that applying antioxidants before and after sun exposure underneath daily sunscreen can help prevent sunburn and related oxidative damage to skin [5, 6].
Building a Regimen
Vitamin E and Vitamin C are well researched antioxidant ingredients that when applied topically (and eaten through the diet) can help decrease environmental stress in the skin [5, 6]. The Consonant Vitamin Serums were formulated to pair seamlessly with The Perfect Sunscreen for a lightweight wearable regimen.
- Splash face with water
- Apply several drops of Vitamin C + Licorice Serum
- Apply 1-2 pumps of Face Cream
- 3-4 pumps of The Perfect Sunscreen
- Cleanse with Natural Foaming Face Wash
- Apply several drops of Vitamin E + Oat Serum
- Apply 1-2 pumps of Face Cream
 D'Orazio, J., Jarrett, S., Amaro-Ortiz, A., & Scott, T. (2013). UV radiation and the skin. International journal of molecular sciences, 14(6), 12222-12248.
 McDaniel, D., Farris, P., & Valacchi, G. (2018). Atmospheric skin aging—Contributors and inhibitors. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, 17(2), 124-137.
 Suleman, M., Khan, A., Baqi, A., Kakar, M. S., & Ayub, M. (2019). 2. Antioxidants, its role in preventing free radicals and infectious diseases in human body. Pure and Applied Biology (PAB), 8(1), 380-388.
 Allemann, I. B., & Baumann, L. (2008). Antioxidants used in skin care formulations. Skin Therapy Lett, 13(7), 5-9.
 Lin, J. Y., Selim, M. A., Shea, C. R., Grichnik, J. M., Omar, M. M., Monteiro-Riviere, N. A., & Pinnell, S. R. (2003). UV photoprotection by combination topical antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 48(6), 866-874.