By Laura Cook

After seeking the advice of any skin care professional, you will often hear the word “antioxidant” mentioned. You will probably get a gentle nudge to purchase this vital skin care item right after they remind you about the importance of sunscreen. That’s how important it is to the well-being of your skin. I call my favorite antioxidant, which is the SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic, my liquid gold! Many people confuse Vitamin C lotions and antioxidants, but they are one in the same; Vitamin C is your antioxidant.

Let’s start with the basics. An antioxidant protects the skin from the production of free radicals. Free radical damage can lead to tissue damage, which results in wrinkles, lines, dehydration, and loss of youthful volume. When most people hear of free radical damage, we think of a big city like New York where you walk around in a heavily polluted environment and are exposed to the elements, but that is a common misconception. Free radical damage happens by smoking, second hand smoke, drinking alcohol, or pollution in the air. Think about hairspray getting on your skin every morning or the car exhaust fumes that you are surrounded by when sitting in traffic, the pesticides used to preserve your food, and of course the sun. Now does it make sense that free radical damage is impossible to avoid? So unless you eat a big bowl of fresh, organic, pesticide-free berries, nibble on super-fruits like goji berries or pomegranates, never curl up on the couch at the end of a long day with a gin and tonic, or use hairspray then you need this powerful liquid gold in your life!

If you are like the rest of us women and men who are exposed to these factors on a daily basis, then let’s get one thing straight: you need a sunscreen and an antioxidant every single day that you wake up! A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect you from the harmful UVA and UBA rays that make us age quicker than anything else in the world, but it doesn’t protect you from free radical damage, which is the next biggest factor in your anti-aging game. There are four different products that I recommend to every client I advise on skincare. A medical-grade antioxidant is one of those four products. It doesn’t matter your age, your ethnicity, or what other products you are using. If you are trying to take care of your skin, then you need an antioxidant.