Why a sunscreen with antioxidants isn't enough Dermatologists like Baumann, as well as founding dermatologist of the new website Sunscreenguide.com, Steven Wang, MD, agree that antioxidants in sunscreen don't do much. Many antioxidant ingredients are unstable, meaning they don't work very well after they're exposed to light and air (something that's pretty much inevitable with sunscreen). Even if the antioxidants in sunscreen don't oxidize, it's hard for them to do their job when they're basically drowning in SPF ingredients. If you're trying save time, this isn't the right place to multitask. "You absolutely need to use an antioxidant serum underneath your sunscreen," says Baumann. "Sunscreens actually produce free radicals, so you need the serum to counteract that."
You see, not only do you have to fight the free radicals formed by infrared radiation, but chemical SPF ingredients like Avobenzone and Octinoxate also produce free radicals when they absorb UV rays. This means certain sunscreens may cause more wrinkles than they prevent. If you want to avoid free radical-producing sunscreens completely, look for physical (also called mineral) sunscreen ingredients, like zinc and titanium dioxide. La Roche-Posay Athelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid, $32.95, fits the bill.
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