Hello Dr. Bailey, I follow your skincare recommendations carefully as I'm so impressed with your comprehensive knowledge. If I was on a budget, is Vitamin C Anti-Wrinkle Serum or Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy the most effective product for antioxidant purposes? I know a variety of antioxidants is best, but it can be quite expensive! It seems too that the Green Tea might make my glycolic acid and retin A a little less effective if it goes on first because I have no redness or irritation. Thank you in advance for your time and dedication. Your knowledge and advice is invaluable! (I'm the fan you blogged about.) ;) Linda M.
Hello Linda, I love this question. It's sort of like, "if I were stranded on a desert island, which of my two beloved antioxidant products would I want to have with me?" The answer is, "It depends." If your budget forces you to pick just one of these two great antioxidant products, then your personal skin care goals and needs are important factors in deciding which one you choose. Both products handle free radicals well. The big differences in what else they accomplish are:
- Vitamin C products have been shown to stimulate new collagen formation in sun-damaged skin. So, if wrinkles are your main concern, then the Vitamin C Serum is the best antioxidant product to choose.
- Green tea polyphenols help to quiet inflammation and may also help protect against non-melanoma skin cancers. So, if you are prone to skin inflammation or if your skin is at high risk for non-melanoma skin cancers, then Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy would be the best antioxidant product. By skin inflammation I mean conditions like rosacea, facial dandruff, acne, or even irritation from powerful anti-aging skin care products like glycolic acid or tretinoin (Renova, Retin A or Tazorac). I've found that my Green Tea Therapy help my patients use the products more successfully without sacrificing any anti-aging results. You've noticed that there is less irritation from your glycolic acid and tretinoin and that happens because the polyphenols are anti-inflammatory. It's actually one of the great benefits that I utilize to help my patients; adding Green Tea Antioxidant Skin Therapy to their skin care routine often allows us to move them up to a higher strength of tretinoin or glycolic acid, which gives them more anti-aging results.
Ideally, we want both the vitamin C and the green tea polyphenols (with caffeine in my opinion). So, when my patients are on a tight budget, what I have them do is to use the Vitamin C Serum every other (or even up to every 4th) day. It can be alternated with glycolic acid during the day (since vitamin C and glycolic acid can't both be on the skin at the same time anyway).
The half-life of vitamin C in the skin is four days, meaning it sticks around for a while. Therefore, you can stretch your investment in Vitamin C Serum and still have all the antioxidant and anti-aging benefits of both vitamin C and high concentration green tea polyphenols. It also means that when stranded on a desert island, I need my toiletry bag for both!
I hope that helps.
Cynthia Bailey MD, Dermatologist
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