What are anti-oxidants?

If you’re interested in skin care, you’ve probably seen anti-oxidants mentioned in lots of beauty products and anti-aging advice. If you’ve ever been curious what they actually are, and why you need them, allow us to explain.

Anti-oxidants aren’t a thing in and of themselves; instead, the term describes the behaviour of certain nutrients, many of which are already very familiar to you, such as vitamins A, C and E, and some that may be less familiar, like carotenoids, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and polyphenols.

Some anti-oxidants can be produced by the body, but many need to come from external sources. They are found in different foods, which is why it’s so important to have a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

Anti-oxidants prevent damage from free radicals

Free radicals are unstable molecules that have an uneven number of electrons. Because of this, they react easily with other molecules, causing large chemical chain reactions called oxidation.

Anti-oxidants stabilise free radicals by donating an electron to them, giving them an even number. This makes them less reactive and prevents them from damaging other cells.

Oxidation is normal, and an important part of how your body fights off pathogens (microorganisms that can cause disease). But when the balance between free radicals and anti-oxidants is off, it leads to oxidative stress. This can damage the DNA in your cells and result in numerous health problems, from cancer to heart disease. It is also a key factor in aging, including aging skin.

Free radicals cause skin aging by breaking down collagen production, causing fine lines and wrinkles. They can also cause discoloration and uneven skin tone, and even compromise your skin’s immune function.

What antioxidants do for your skin

UV exposure is one of the triggers for the creation of free radicals, so the best way to avoid oxidative stress on your skin is to consistently use sun protection. But sun damage isn’t the only source of free radicals – things like air pollution and smoking can cause them as well.

While many anti-oxidants enter the body through food, they can also be applied topically, to counteract free radicals in your skin and help delay and reverse the effects of aging. They can have a range of effects on the skin:

  • Vitamin C – softens pigmentation, stimulates collagen and protects from UV damage
  • Vitamin E – fights UV damage and improves the skin’s protective barrier
  • Green tea – polyphenols, the main active ingredient in green tea, can reduce redness and inflammation and slow collagen breakdown

Meet Fernblock, anti-oxidant powerhouse

Not all anti-oxidants are created equal. Fernblock is an extract of the fern Polypodium Leucotomos – an aquatic plant that evolved to live on land, developing powerful sun protection factors in the process. Developed by scientists and dermatologists at Cantabria labs, Fernblock is backed by numerous clinical studies and is available exclusively in the Heliocare sun protection range.

Its powerful anti-oxidant protection neutralises free radicals in your skin, providing not only protection against sun damage, but also DNA protection and repair, immunological defense, pigment control and anti-aging properties.

Combined with other skin supporting ingredients in Heliocare 360° products, including vitamins C, E and green tea extract, Fernblock takes sun protection and the fight against free radicals to new levels.

Now that you know how important anti-oxidants are, take a look at the sources of them in your diet and skin care routine. If none of your current products contain these powerful age fighters, it might be time to consider giving them a try.


In the article

Bronze Color Oil Free Gel
  • SPF50+ & PA++++
  • Natural-looking foundation coverage 
  • Matte finish 
  • Alcohol free
Fluid Cream
  • SPF50+ & PA++++
  • Dewy finish
  • Alcohol free
  • Non-comedogenic 
Water Gel
  • SPF50 & PA++++
  • Immediate and long-lasting hydration
  • Minimal fragrance 
  • Tested on sensitive skin and around sensitive eyes
Invisible Spray
  • Water resistant
  • Effective on wet skin
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Sand resistant
Oil Free Gel
  • SPF50 & PA++++
  • Matte finish
  • Alcohol free
  • Non-comedogenic 
Oral Supplements
  • Additional protection from within
  • For periods of high sun exposure
  • Boosts skin health
  • Gluten free