The Secret To Healthy Summer Skin In New York City: Antioxidants And Sunscreen

antioxidants sunscreen

Ah, summer. We’ve been waiting for you. Long weekends. BBQ season. Lingering days spent outdoors in the sun after a long winter and rainy spring. And speaking of the sunshine we’ve all been craving, the start of a New York summer at Russak+ is also a reminder to stock up on everything we need for our summer skin and skincare regimen so we can enjoy these warmer, sunny months safely without damaging our skin.

For top beauty and skincare experts and dermatologists, a comprehensive summer skin care regimen always includes two ‘essentials’ – an antioxidant and a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 50+. This power duo lays the foundation for protecting skin from UV rays all year long, but are particularly important as we spend more time outdoors between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend.

More often than not, patients understand the value of sunscreens and purchase them in bulk for their getaways and summer fun. But we’re here to educate, advise and enlighten on why both of these products are so important to protect your skin now and into the future. So, continue reading to learn more about the science behind sun damage, how antioxidants come into play, and how to choose an antioxidant that actually performs.

Already know that you want summer skincare that will revive and protect your skin? Get 10% off our products of the month: CE Ferulic and Phloretin CF. Keep reading to learn more about these products!

Contact us now to book a skincare consultation or to place a skincare order at our Manhattan practice.

Your Skin In The Sun: How Damage Starts

We all know that too much sun isn’t good for our skin. But what does that really mean? And what’s happening in our skin when we are exposed to UV rays?

What research shows is that successive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) leads to DNA damage in skin cells. This damage is linked to the creation of excessive ‘free radicals’ in the body and skin; as oxygen metabolizes in the body, it ‘steals’ electrons from atoms that make up cell proteins, membranes, lipids, and DNA. This destabilizes the atoms and causes them to try to ‘steal’ electrons from other cells, what eventually creates a continuous chain reaction or ‘free radical process’ that leaves a path of damage in its wake.

While some free radicals in the body can be part of the regular immune system and metabolic process, too much of it prompts cell damage and even disease.  Some processes that speed up this process? Pollution, smoking, poor diet, stress, and, you guessed it, UV sun exposure.

What Sun Damage Looks Like

Sunlight exposes skin to two types of ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB:

  • UVB rays are absorbed by the topmost layers of skin and show us the telltale signs of immediate damage like sunburn. It can also stimulate the skin’s natural response to ‘protect itself’ by producing more melanin: what patients might interpret as a ‘sun-kissed’ tan, but we in the industry recognize as the first signs of damage. Over time, this skin response might surface as brown spots and darker blotches that no longer fade with each successive year across our most exposed areas: the cheekbones, nose, chest, shoulders, back, hands and arms.
  • UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin resulting in progressive and longer-term damage that manifests itself as signs of premature aging: fine lines, wrinkles, redness and sagging, loose skin.

Together UVA and UVB rays cause free radical damage. And together, UVA and UVB rays are shown to account for 80% of our skin’s aging, and can also give rise to skin cancer.

Skin Analysis LED Treatment - Russak+ Aesthetic Center in New York

What’s beneath the surface? Here, a patient’s skin is visible in ‘daylight’ (on the left), and then under a specialized LED light filter (on the right) which reveals the underlying sun damage beneath the surface of her skin. Over time, this damage will become a visible part of her complexion without better protection and corrective treatment. With cumulative, unchecked damage, skin cancer is also a risk.

Why You Need An Antioxidant Serum: A Short Science Lesson

To protect yourself from UV-induced sun damage, a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will help protect against UVA and UVB rays is the most obvious and necessary form of protection (along with avoiding the sun during its most intense hours, wearing a hat and sunglasses or UPF 50+ clothing and other standard sun safety measures).

However, sunscreens and other protective wear don’t counteract the reactions that have already been set in motion in skin: the free radical damage. That’s where antioxidants come in. Antioxidants counteract free radicals by offering up a spare electron to stabilize atoms and stop the domino effect of damage and protect healthy molecules. While a good portion of antioxidants in our diet is an important starting point, supplementing this with a topical antioxidant like a vitamin C serum is highly recommended.

Choosing The Best Antioxidant For Skin

With so many topical antioxidant serums on the market, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with choice and suffer decision paralysis. At our office, what matters most is the science and that’s why we recommend SkinCeuticals antioxidants because they are the gold standard in the industry for a reason. Here’s why:

antioxidants sunscreen

Christina Biscardi loves two of our skincare favorites:: EltaMD sunscreen and SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF Gel, a great antioxidant for combination or acne-prone skin.

  • SkinCeuticals was founded by a famous Duke University dermatologist, Dr. Sheldon Pinnell in 1994.
  • Dr. Pinnell’s research was the foundation for all of their top antioxidant products, namely C E Ferulic and Phloretin CF.
  • SkinCeuticals products are supported by clinical studies that back the performance of the antioxidants in the skin. As notoriously unstable active ingredients, it has always been hard for antioxidants to not degrade, and to actually penetrate into the skin so they can counteract the free radical damage. That’s why it’s important that each SkinCeuticals antioxidant is backed by science; we know that each formula has premium pharmaceutical-grade ingredients, the right pH and formula balance that has been tested to perform in skin. When you’re choosing where to spend your money, you want to know that the product is working hard for you and your skin.

An Antioxidant And Sunscreen: The Perfect Combination For Healthy, Protected Summer Skin

As broad-spectrum sunscreens may only block up to 55% of the damaging free radicals that are generated by UVA and UVB exposure, you need more in your skincare arsenal. That’s why combining a proven antioxidant with a broad-spectrum sunscreen is the best preventative measure you can take for your skin. It’s just two steps a day: what we see as a small investment towards helping your skin look younger (and stay healthier) for years and decades to come.


Get 10% off your antioxidant serum all month long! CE Ferulic and Phloretin CF are our products of the month. Call us at 646-873-7546 to purchase.

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