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K-Beauty’s Favourite Antioxidants

April 07, 2021

K-Beauty’s Favourite Antioxidants

K-Beauty’s Favourite Antioxidants Ep - 48

Episode Title:K-Beauty’s Favourite Antioxidants Ep - 48

Episode Description:

Today we’re deep-diving on antioxidants in Korean skincare, plus taking a look at some of the best K-Beauty products you’ll find them in.






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Episode Summary:


What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are compounds that protect against free radicals. Free radicals are damaging molecules caused by factors like UV and pollution. They can have all sorts of negative short and long-term effects on you and your skin. In the context of your skin, free radicals can cause concerns like dullness, dark spots, uneven texture and fine lines.

As a general rule of thumb, the more antioxidants you use, the better your body will be protected against free radicals.

So how to get an antioxidant hit?

Firstly, aside from eating antioxidant rich foods, we can also topically apply them through our skincare routines. Let’s have a look at some of the most common antioxidants you’ll find in K-Beauty.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the skincare antioxidants you’d typically find available – and for good reason. Pure Vitamin C (also known as L-ascorbic acid) is not only a great antioxidant, but also has brightening and anti-inflammatory properties.  This antioxidant not only stimulates collagen production, but also plays a role in improving the appearance of aging skin.

A great way to incorporate Vitamin C into your routine is with a serum.

I’ve previously done an episode running through a whole range of different Vitamin C serums on the K-Beauty market these days, so if you haven’t already make sure you tune into Episode 46. 


K-Beauty's Favourite Antioxidants 


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is a powerful antioxidant that improves the skin’s texture and tone. It can not only reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but may also target hyperpigmentation. In addtion, it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Because niacinamide is water-soluble and suitable for all skin types, it is often used to treat skin conditions like rosacea and acne. Finally, it is not known to cause any adverse reactions. As a result, it is generally considered a safe ingredient. 

OurJelly Ko Bubble Tea Steam Cream andCherry Blossom Sleeping Mask both contain a functional amount of niacinamide. 


Glutathione is an antioxidant that your body naturally produces (in your liver, to be exact).  Made up of amino acids glutamine, glycine and cysteine, it’s great for:

  • boosting immunity;
  • delaying cell damage; and
  • protecting your DNA.

When it comes to skincare, glutathione has different effects. Firstly, it can minimise the signs of ageing and can help with uneven skin tone and dark spots.

To target pigmentation, try an essence like APLB’s Glutathione Hyaluronic Acid Essence to provide elasticity and nutrition for more youthful looking skin.

If you’re looking to incorporate glutathione into the later steps of your routine,APLB’sGlutathione Brightening Tone Up Cream can reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, improve the appearance of wrinkles and hydration levels. 



An antioxidant found in green and black teas, flavinoids have the potential to improve symptoms of rosacea, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress. 

They absorb UV light and modulate signaling pathways that influence cellular function to minimise the appearance of photoaging. 

In some tests, they have also shown the potential to help reduce collagen degradation and minimise signs of skin aging.

Many K-Beauty products include green tea as a component, such as:

  1. Tosowoong Pure Green Tea Mask, which contains 60% green tea extract;
  2. Tosowoong Green Tea Essence;
  3. Innisfree Green Tea Seed Serum, which contains 75.9% of green tea extract;  


You’ve probably heard that because it’s packed with antioxidants, a glass of red wine a night can be good for your health.  The antioxidant found in red wine is resveratrol, which is also in grapes (of course!), dark chocolate, seeds and nuts.  Resveratrol can help protect against damage caused by UV radiation. This is because it stimulates healthy cell generation.


K-Beauty's Favourite Antioxidants


Centella Asiatica

This plant-based antioxidant is rich in amino acids. It also contains incredible hydration, which makes it ideal for sensitive skin.

These days, you’ll often see centella asiatica in ‘Cica’ products, a term for the antioxidant used in K-Beauty. Dr Jart has an entire Cicapair range dedicated to centella asiatica.

A lot of people are big fans of theCicapair toner andCalming Gel Cream,as well as APLB’sCentella Cica Repair Creamand Purito’sCentella line. 


Coenzyme Q-10

Also known as ubiquinone, it is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble substance. Studies show that it may help improve the appearance of signs of aging and that topical application has antioxidant and skin-soothing effects.

You’ll find ubiquinone in It’s Skin’s Power 10 version of its Coenzyme Q-10 serum, as well as in Skin79’sGold BB Cream. 


Vitamin E 

A powerful antioxidant that may be effective at reducing UV damage in skin. Vitamin E applied topically may help nourish and protect your skin from damage caused by free radicals.

Vitamin E is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can be soothing and help calm the skin.

You’ll find Vitamin E inJelly Ko Bubble Tea Steam Cream.

Vitamin A 

Retinol (a derivative of Vitamin A) has a tried and true reputation for doing a Benjamin Button on your skin.  With a smaller molecular structure than many other antioxidants, retinol is able to deeply penetrate into the skin. This can help to stimulate collagen production and promote healthy new skin.

What you’ll see on the surface?  Firstly, fewer visible fine lines and a more even skin tone. While stronger retinol products are available with a medical prescription, a gentler way to introduce them into your skincare routine can be through a moisturiser.

I like APLB’sRetinol Vitamin A Moisture Cream, because it has a luxuriously thick texture that spreads easily once applied to the skin.


Resources for Today’s Episode - K-Beauty’s Favourite Antioxidants Ep - 48


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"Antioxidants are compounds that protect against free radicals. Free radicals are damaging molecules caused by factors like UV and pollution. They can have all sorts of negative short and long-term effects on you and your skin"

- Lauren Lee, STYLE STORY Founder

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