Antioxidants Become Sunscreen when Used During the Day

Episode #207 / Jun 23, 2010
In prior episodes, you've heard Dr. Schultz stress the importance of using antioxidants. However, if applied during the day, instead of protecting the skin's cells from within, they act like sunscreens. In this episode, Dr. Schultz explains why.
Roderick on June 24, 2010 at 12:54am

How long would it take for antioxidants to be absorbed into your skin?

For example if you apply them in the morning and don't leave the house for another 3-4 hours. Will they be sufficiently absorbed?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on June 28, 2010 at 8:32pm

@Roderick: If you apply antioxidants in the morning and don't leave the house for another three to four hours, they probably will have enough time to be absorbed. But don't forget that UV A rays which pass through window glass can inactivate your antioxidant before it's absorbed. At night there are no stray UV A or B rays to inactivate your antioxidant so best to use it then.

Sarah on July 2, 2010 at 7:49pm

Hi Dr. Schultz,
Do you recommend using the same antioxidant formulation for both day and night? I've been using the avalon organics vitamin c serum for both morning and evening.

Are there antioxidant products on the market that would be particularly suited for day or night use?

Thank you!

Ally on July 6, 2010 at 8:11am

Hi Dr. Schultz,
I want to start using RetinA cream because I heard that's it's a good antioxidant to use at night but I'm 19 and you need a perscription to use it here in Canada. Do you think my doctor might perscribe it to me when I'm 19 or will they probably ask me to wait until I'm older?

alania on July 8, 2010 at 5:13am

If olive oil is used topically on the skin, will it work like an antioxidant because of the Vitamin E in it?

Neal Schultz, M.D. on August 2, 2010 at 9:31pm

@Sarah: It is absolutely fine to use the same antioxidant in the morning, and the evening. The evening is however, much more important as antioxidants are better able to be absorbed into the cells at night as UV A and B from sunlight is not present to inactivate them before they are absorbed into the skin. Once the antioxidant gets absorbed into the cell it can fight against the dangerous energy of free radicals which cause skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. For more information, Please see Why You Should Only Apply Antioxidants At Night and Antioxidants Become Sunscreen when Used During the Day.

Neal Schultz, M.D. on August 2, 2010 at 9:33pm

@Ally: Retin-A, a derivative of Vitamin A, does have some antioxidant properties but it makes more sense to use it for acne or anti-aging as it is more difficult to use without irritation than most other antioxidants such as Vitamin C based antioxidants. It is appropriate to use Retin-A at 19.