Best Antioxidant Creams

Updated January 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
3 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for Best antioxidant creams

When it comes to caring for your skin, the right facial cream is crucial. With so many on the market, you might be wondering which one is best for you. If your top concerns include skin rejuvenation and protection, you should reach for an antioxidant cream.

Aging is a part of life, and so are age-related changes to the skin. Antioxidant creams stimulate collagen production to restore youthful suppleness to skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also aid in minimizing UV and free-radical damage, both of which can speed up the aging process. Antioxidant creams also combat inflammation and redness, and in turn they help to maintain a smooth, glowing complexion. 

If you’re reading this because you’re thinking about adding an antioxidant cream to your beauty routine, our buying guide can help you find the right one for you. We’re sharing an overview of all the features and benefits, a few shopping tips, plus a few of our favorites.

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Not all antioxidant creams are the same, which is why you could end up buying more than one to suit different situations. There are day and night creams, as well as those with SPF intended for use in the sun.

Key considerations

What antioxidant creams do

Boost collagen production. Collagen degradation occurs when we age, which is why skin feels and appears loose and develops wrinkles and fine lines. Antioxidant creams counteract this process by triggering collagen production and boosting skin elasticity, which some studies cite also contribute to improved water retention. As a result, skin is left looking more supple, radiant, and hydrated.

Minimize UV damage. Antioxidant creams also aid in protecting skin from UV damage at the cellular level. This is achieved by relieving oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, which contribute to premature aging and may have links to cancer and other diseases. Many consumers prioritize using antioxidant creams when they spend more time outdoors, especially during the spring and summer months.

Control redness. Some antioxidant creams are instrumental in controlling inflammation and redness. Those who struggle with sensitive skin, acne, or rosacea often benefit from the calming ingredients used in these creams, such as aloe or green tea. Antioxidant creams also help protect your skin when it’s exposed to UV rays, thus minimizing the related redness. 

Types of antioxidants

There are several different types of antioxidants, all of which offer unique benefits to your skin. Depending on the formula, you may find some or a few of them in your antioxidant cream.

Vitamins C, A, and E: Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant, and you’ll find it’s the main ingredient in a variety of creams. While it’s helpful in controlling free-radical damage, it also aids in boosting collagen production. 

Vitamin A, namely retinoids, is essential for hydration and attracting moisture, which quenches parched, dry skin to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also combats redness related to acne, irritation, or UV exposure.

Vitamin E is best known for its powerful protection against UV and free-radical damage. It’s often included in antioxidant creams, as well as other skincare products geared toward sensitive skin, because it’s effective at reducing redness and tenderness.

Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a powerful, capable antioxidant. It helps reduce inflammation, especially related to UV exposure, by promoting healthy, constant cell turnover. Niacinamide is also an effective acne treatment because it smooths over rough and bumpy areas from current and old breakouts. Those with oily skin benefit from using antioxidant creams with niacinamide, because it keeps excessive oil under control, especially in the T zone.

Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 gives skin resiliency and strength by stimulating collagen production. As it’s a quick-absorbing antioxidant, it seeps into skin to improve texture and elasticity. Many overnight antioxidant creams have CoQ10 as a top ingredient since it leaves skin with a refreshed glow the next morning. Individuals with dry or patchy skin benefit from using CoQ10 cream because it also boosts moisture.

Some skincare experts recommend applying antioxidant cream to damp skin. Applying cream to dry skin can leave you with a greasy finish, and applying it to wet skin can diminish its absorption.

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Accessories

Antioxidant face wash: InstaNatural Vitamin C Cleanser
Keep blemishes at bay with a balanced antioxidant skin cleanser. This one from InstaNatural has a potent formula with Vitamin C to keep skin radiant. The cleanser also has gentle plant-based ingredients, such as coconut water and sugar cane.

Antioxidant face mask: Pure Biology Bentonite Clay Mask
Use an antioxidant mask to boost collagen production while removing impurities from the skin. We like this one from Pure Biology, which includes a broad range of antioxidants to keep inflammation under control and targets fine lines around the eyes and mouth with retinol. 

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DID YOU KNOW?
Avoid rubbing antioxidant cream into skin. While a gentle massage is acceptable, being too harsh in your application can aggravate skin and leave you with red patches.
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Antioxidant cream prices

Antioxidant creams cost between $10 and $300. The more complex the formula, the more expensive the cream. However, keep in mind that sometimes you’re paying for the brand name more than anything inside the jar.

Inexpensive: Drugstore antioxidant creams cost between $10 and $20 and include up to three types of antioxidants. Many creams in this bracket are also dual purpose, so the main goals of these formulas vary considerably. 

Mid-range: More specialized antioxidant creams cost $25 to $70 and mostly include those manufactured by premium beauty brands. These formulas are infused with a well-balanced assortment of antioxidants and include other high-end ingredients.

Expensive: Antioxidant creams that cost $100 and above are those produced by luxury skincare and beauty brands. These formulas use top-tier antioxidants, and some have clinical-level ingredients to maximize results.

If your skin is dry and you need more help in the hydrating department, your best option is to invest in an antioxidant cream infused with hyaluronic acid. This will help your skin absorb product and moisture.

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Tips

  • Commit to using the cream regularly. Antioxidant cream isn’t intended for occasional use or skin repair. Rather, you’ll need to use it for at least six weeks for results to show. With that said, you might begin to experience some benefits in as little as two weeks.
  • Avoid direct contact with eyes. Not all antioxidant creams are intended for use near the eyes, and some can result in irritation. If you need to target the area around the corners of your eyes, invest in an antioxidant eye serum or cream.
  • Layer products appropriately. To get the most out of your antioxidant cream, be sure to incorporate it at the right time in your routine. You’ll need to use it after some serums or before you apply sunscreen.
  • Choose a hypoallergenic formula if you have sensitive skin. Look for an antioxidant cream that doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates, dyes, phthalates, or other harsh chemicals.
  • Consider investing in a skincare system. Rather than just buying an antioxidant cream, you might want to buy a complete skincare system. This makes it easy to find the right products that complement one another, plus it gives your skin the opportunity to acclimate to a similar collection of ingredients.
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Antioxidant creams are best kept in a cool, dark place like a drawer or cabinet. Exposure to air or moisture can degrade the formula.

FAQ

Q. How is antioxidant cream packaged?

A. More often than not, antioxidant creams are packaged in tubs or jars with twist-open lids. There are also some formulas packaged in squeeze or pump bottles, which many people prefer because it’s easier to control the amount of cream dispensed. They’re also a popular choice considering you’re less likely to introduce contaminants into these containers. Unfortunately, with tubs and jars you need to dip into the formula for each use, and if your fingers are wet or dirty, you can degrade the cream’s formula.

Q. Do antioxidant creams contain SPF?

A. Only some of them do. Read the packaging carefully before you buy to confirm. Depending on the formula, antioxidant creams can contain between 15 and 60 SPF. Some consumers report that creams with SPF increase their number of breakouts, so if you’re prone to acne, it’s worth keeping that in mind.

Q. Can younger people use antioxidant cream, or is it only for those with aging skin?

A. It’s a hotly debated issue whether younger people should be using antioxidant cream, especially since its formation is typically targeted toward aging skin. With that said, antioxidant creams help ward off UV-related damage, which is why some younger individuals choose to use it. Even so, some skincare experts and dermatologists say antioxidant creams may be too heavy or intense for younger skin. 

Q. Can antioxidant cream irritate cystic acne?

A. It depends on the formula and your skin. Some antioxidant creams are nonirritating and specially designed for those with severe or cystic acne. If you’re under the care of a dermatologist, it’s recommended that you defer to them prior to using any new skincare products. Depending on your skin’s needs, you may be able to use an antioxidant cream you can buy at the drugstore, or you might require a prescription formula.

 

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