Here's An Antioxidant Serum That Won’t Break The Bank

Hello, my name is Rebecca and I’m an antioxidant addict. 

What is an antioxidant, you ask, and why am I so obsessed with them? 

You've come to the right place. Welcome to my focus group where we'll be discussing the magic of antioxidants and why they should be in your skincare routine.

Firstly, What Do Antioxidants Do?

Antioxidants protect the skin against free radicals, which are unstable atoms that cause damage to the cells in our body and skin, accelerating the ageing process. And no one, I repeat, no one, wants to accelerate the ageing process of their skin. 

If you think of free radicals as fire, then antioxidants act like fire retardant. They literally “decompose” those nasties and help prevent the ageing of our skin cells. 

That’s why some of the most popular skincare ingredients, like vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A, are all antioxidants, because they fight those buggers off and help the skin remain youthful and glowy. 

Personally, I like my free radical-fighting antioxidants served in the form of a kick-ass vitamin C serum that’s been boosted by the addition of other antioxidant ingredients like vitamin E or ferulic acid.

Turns out vitamin C is also an ingredient loved by many dermatologists and skin experts. 

Why Is Vitamin C A Popular Choice?

“Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant which helps protect us against free radicals and sun damage,” explains dermatologist Dr Alice Rudd. 

“It can help to brighten the skin. It has been found to assist with collagen production and has some pigment-inhibiting properties,” Dr Rudd said. 

It’s great at fighting pigmentation, sun spots and melasma, while also boosting collagen, brightening the skin tone and improving overall radiance.  

Plus, vitamin C serums suit pretty much all skin types, including pregnant or breastfeeding women struggling with keeping pigmentation at bay. 

But the problem with vitamin C is that it’s a very unstable ingredient. The formulations can often feel unpleasantly sticky or tacky and some people find stronger formulas extremely irritating. 

“The main problem is that the active form of Vitamin C, ascorbic acid, can be irritating to sensitive skin types and its formulation is often unstable,” Dr Rudd explained. 

Vitamin C is sensitive to heat and light and can oxidise instantly (aka become useless once exposed to the elements) if not dispensed correctly via the right packaging. 

That’s why it takes a lot of time, money, research and development to create a really great vitamin C serum, which explains why some of the best and most effective products on the market are sadly also the most expensive.

My favourite vitamin C serum is SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic serum, but at $214 a pop, it’s certainly not my bank account’s favourite. Aspect’s Extreme C 20 formula is another awesome product, yet it costs $135 per bottle. 

It’s really, really hard to find an awesome vitamin C serum that’s also cheap, because good ones are so expensive to make. 

Are There More Affordable Options Out There?

I do have some good news. There’s a new, more affordable antioxidant serum with vitamin C that’s just been released by classic French pharmacy brand Avène - and it also contains another antioxidant, vitamin E. 

And unlike many formulations, it’s not sticky or tacky. It has a lovely cream-like texture that glides on smoothly, with no pilling. 

The Avène A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defence Serum is unique for a cheaper antioxidant serum, in that it still contains a super 15 per cent vitamin C concentration (and has a price tag of under $60).

As Dr Rudd explains, this high percentage level is crucial to ensuring the serum will actually be effective. 

“The levels of vitamin C found in the Avène A-Oxitive Defence Serum are equivalent to 15 per cent pure vitamin C, the concentration needed to provide clinically proven results,” she said.

Plus, the addition of vitamin E creates an antioxidant powerhouse.

“Vitamin C is not hugely effective when used on its own, so it’s often better combined with ingredients like vitamin E,” Dr Rudd said. 

“Vitamin C and E work synergistically to create powerful antioxidants properties. They work better together, rather than alone. The advantage of combining it with vitamin E is that it is soothing and may increase the comfort of vitamin C on the skin.”

Why This A Good Vitamin C Serum For Sensitive Skin: 

As mentioned above, some sensitive skin types find vitamin C serums to be quite irritating, especially those with highly concentrated formulations.  

But A-Oxitive contains a “slow-release” formula, meaning the ingredient passes through the skin, then delivers the vitamin C gradually in small amounts during the day. 

“A-Oxitive gets around the irritating issue of ascorbic acid by being encapsulated so that there is no irritation when it enters the skin, bypassing the skin’s often sensitive barrier,” Dr Rudd said. 

“Once in the skin, it then gradually releases a modified form of vitamin C that is converted to the active ingredient in the skin. 

“This ensures low irritancy, as well as long lasting effects.”

So if you’re looking for a killer antioxidant serum at a drugstore price, we’ve found The One!

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