Make More Out of Your Antioxidants With This Aesthetician-Approved Hack

I’ve known celebrity aesthetician and NewBeauty Brain Trust member Nerida Joy for 14 years, and there are a ton of sage skin-care pieces of advice she has given me during that time—two of which stick out in my brain any time my complexion takes a turn for the worse.

The first: Go back to basics if you’re breaking out (so simple, yet so smart, easy and effective). And the second: Always, always, always apply an antioxidant prior to that all-important SPF step.

“Your morning regimen must consist of the layering of an antioxidant serum containing powerful free-radical fighters,” says Joy (she likes vitamin C, green tea or CoQ10 in particular).

“This protective serum application is super important to apply on a freshly washed face, followed by your day moisturizer and, lastly, your sunblock. The skin needs to protect and prepare itself before stepping out into the elements such as the sun’s UV and pollutants.”

While protecting the skin may not be a new addition to any good skin-care practices playbook, Joy is quick to stress this startling stat: “It only takes about 15 minutes in the sun for free radicals to start their attack on our healthy skin cells.”

She’s also quick to say that, while she likes layering select skin-care products post-washing the face in the morning, she is not a fan of one multitasking product type in particular: “Do not use an ‘all-in-one’ sunblock with vitamin C that also acts as your moisturizer,” she says. “It’s not enough.”

Also not an “all-in-one” fan: West Palm Beach, FL dermatologist Kenneth Beer, MD. “I do not like any of the combination products and would not recommend SPF unless you are going to be outside for more than 20 minutes,” he says. “Use the vitamin C daily [he likes ScientificRx’s Mega-Vitamin C and Ferulic Antioxidant Serum ($103), which he created]. Twice a day is even better.”

Washington D.C. dermatologist Tina Alster, MD, who created and co-founded The A Method brand, is also a big supporter of the vitamin C serum—so much so, that she made a waterless, lipid-soluble, “perfect anti-aging skin-brightener” version called C Antioxidant Gel 20%—and backs the serum-then-SPF combo.

“When it comes to slowing the effects of the aging process, my rule of thumb is to protect your skin during the day with a topical antioxidant and mineral sunscreen and restore it at night with a quality retinol product,” Dr. Alster says, adding that she recommends looking at vitamin C as a powerhouse antioxidant that works as a scavenger to clear away free radicals that degrade the skin. “Highly effective and carefully curated medical-grade skin care diminishes signs of skin aging and helps to maintain more youthful-appearing skin.”

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