Want healthy, radiant skin that defies premature signs of aging? If so, you’ll need to take steps to support skin barrier function and protect against free radical damage.

Keep reading to see how it’s done. But first: what is the skin barrier and what does environmental stress do to your skin, exactly?

What Is the Skin Barrier?

Simply put, the skin barrier is the protective outer layer of the epidermis that keeps water and minerals intact. It’s also the first line of defense against harmful bacteria, fungi, and toxins from penetrating the body through the skin. It’s worth noting that the skin is a component of the body’s innate immune system, as well.

Skin cells layered in a brick-and-mortar pattern comprise the skin barrier. In this analogy, skin cells are bricks, and the glue holding them together consists of lipids, including fatty acids, cholesterol, and ceramides.

As we can see, skin barrier function is essential to maintain the integrity of your skin—not only for a glowing complexion but also for protection from external aggressors.

What Environmental Stress Does to Your Skin

There are many kinds of environmental stressors that can threaten skin barrier function, contribute to premature signs of aging, and otherwise damage the skin.

“Environmental aggressors are one of the main causes of aging skin,” Dr. Goldfaden begins. “Daily aggressors such as the sun, pollution, exhaust, smoking, secondhand smoke, radiation, the ozone, and topical ingredients (like phthalates and mineral oil) all contribute to the demise of our healthy skin cells.”

These environmental stressors allow free radicals to proliferate in the skin and body. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage in the body—and while environmental stressors do contribute to their presence, they also result from ordinary metabolic processes.)

As Dr. Goldfaden continues, free radicals “cause the breakdown of collagen, onset of wrinkles, cell mutation, aging, dark spots, dehydration, inflammation, and immune function damage.” In fact, they cause direct damage to the skin’s DNA and thus skin barrier function as well.

While environmental stressors are ever-present and have adverse effects on your skin—not to mention overall health—it’s essential (and possible!) to reduce their impact in major ways.

How to Protect Your Skin Barrier and Reverse Skin Damage

Fortunately, there are several ways in which you can simultaneously boost skin barrier function and reverse (and help prevent) skin damage.

To promote a healthy, protected complexion, loading up on antioxidants is a great place to start.

Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods

First, dietary antioxidants have the power to neutralize free radicals, thus preventing cell damage before it can take its toll on your skin and health alike.

Aim to eat foods and drinks that pack key antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene, including:

  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • collard greens
  • apples
  • mangoes
  • berries

Apply the Best Antioxidants for Skin

Then, of course, we have topical antioxidants in skincare products. While vitamins C and E and ferulic acid are among the most popular kinds (tip: benefit from their protective, glow-getting powers in Goldfaden MD’s Brightening Elixir), there are others worth mentioning that pack a serious punch to nourish and protect your skin.

Meadowfoam seed oil contains a blend of omega fatty acids to lock in moisture, balance the skin, and ward off free radical damage from UV rays, pollution, and other environmental stressors.

Next, niacinamide (aka vitamin B3) is a top trending topical antioxidant—and rightly so! Niacinamide is as well-rounded as it is potent; it has the power to brighten, hydrate, and protect your complexion from the elements—as well as refine pores—leaving you with nourished, radiant skin.

Last but not least, bakuchiol is an antioxidant that’s best known as a gentler, vegan alternative to anti-aging powerhouse retinol. With consistent use, you can say goodbye to fine lines and hyperpigmentation and hello to firm skin—all while reducing the potential for dryness, irritation, and photosensitivity.

Goldfaden MD is proud to introduce the newest product to our lineup for nourished, firmer, hydrated skin: the Radiance Repair Daily Renewal Serum. It packs a fortifying blend of meadowfoam seed oil, niacinamide, and bakuchiol so you can wake up to a tighter, brighter complexion.

In the world of skincare, retinol is revered as the gold standard to prevent and minimize signs of aging such as wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. (That is, of course, in addition to sunscreen!) However, as potent and protective as it is, it can also cause dryness and sensitivity, resulting in the unfortunate but aptly named “retinol uglies.”

Luckily, another superstar ingredient comes to the rescue to yield the benefits of retinol while minimizing the potential for irritation and reactivity. Enter: bakuchiol.

What Is Bakuchiol?

Bakuchiol (pronounced “buh-KOO-chee-all”) is an antioxidant that derives from the babchi plant. Given that it’s a plant-based alternative to retinol, it’s a great addition to an anti-aging skincare regimen.

However, since it’s also gentle and vegan, this targeted treatment is equally beneficial for those who:

  • have dry or sensitive skin
  • grapple with inflammatory skin conditions
  • aim to stick to a vegan and/or clean skincare routine

Benefits of Bakuchiol

Alas, here are some of the key benefits of this potent anti-aging ingredient.

1. It Minimizes Wrinkles Without Irritation

Again, if your skin can’t quite tolerate retinol but you’re still yearning to minimize signs of aging and dark spots, bakuchiol comes to the rescue.

A randomized, double-blind 2018 study found that bakuchiol and retinol significantly reduced wrinkles in participants to similar degrees. However, the bakuchiol group benefited from fewer instances of skin scaling and stinging, giving bakuchiol the upper hand in this anti-aging faceoff.

2. It Reduces Hyperpigmentation

In the same study cited above, 59 percent of participants in the bakuchiol group experienced improvements in their hyperpigmentation—both in terms of pigment intensity and affected surface area.

Similar results were discovered in the retinol group, demonstrating once again that just because bakuchiol is gentle doesn’t mean it lacks the powerful potential to benefit your skin.

3. It’s Clean and Natural

While the main benefits of bakuchiol are its ability to address signs of aging and dark spots, its feature as a vegan, clean, and natural ingredient shouldn’t be underestimated.

While not all synthetic ingredients are “bad,” it’s a worthy choice to find plant-based skincare swaps when and where possible. After all, your skin absorbs ingredients—both good and bad, intentional and otherwise—that may end up circulating in your bloodstream. For that reason, it’s smart to be mindful of what you put onto your body and use high-quality, clean ingredients when available.

Final Thoughts

While bakuchiol may seem like it’s an emerging anti-aging ingredient, it’s actually been clinically studied as far back as 1984. Plus, it’s been traditionally used for generations in Ayurvedic medicine to increase skin cell turnover and boost collagen production.

Bakuchiol yields benefits that include fewer wrinkles and fine lines, greater skin elasticity, and lighter dark spots—all at low risk of sensitivity upon application and from sunlight alike.

However, be sure to look for a clean formula that also includes other antioxidants and protective ingredients to support skin barrier function. Moreover, use it consistently in your routine to experience these benefits to the fullest extent.

Add bakuchiol into your anti-aging skincare regimen with Goldfaden MD’s newest product, Radiance Repair Daily Renewal Serum.

Serums, while arguably the most crucial step in any healthy skincare regimen, can be quite confusing to choose. Below we break down Dr. G’s hero serums with the what, who and when to meet all your skincare needs.



What: Dr. G’s concentrated rehydrating serum helps to rejuvenate the appearance of skin imperfections, illuminate dull skin and reduce the appearance of unwanted red areas to leave skin appearing glowing and vibrant.

Who: Sensitive or aggravated skin. Perfect for warm climates, loaded with hyaluronic acid to bind water on the skin and create a tight plump feeling and appearance.

When: AM/PM



What: Dr. G’s brand NEW bioactive reverse emulsion serum was created to reveal fresher, smoother, vibrant skin and visibly reduce the appearance of the signs of aging and damage caused by environmental stressors.

Who: Anyone looking to nourish, brighten, revitalize and hydrate environmentally compromised skin.

When: AM/PM



What: Dr. G’s advanced brightening and antioxidant serum help aid against the appearance of photo-aging and free radical damage, while leaving skin feeling hydrated and looking radiant.

Who: Anyone looking to boost skin moisture, calm appearance and improve the appearance of skin color and tone. Great for sensitive skin unable to use traditional Vitamin C serums.

When: AM/PM



What: Dr. G’s intense multi-corrective pigment control emulsion helps to reduce the appearance of unwanted dark spots and maintains natural hydration for radiant skin.

Who: Anyone looking to target dark spots due to sun exposure, hyperpigmentation or melasma.

When: AM/PM




What: Dr. G’s smoothing serum is the ultimate non-invasive solution to reduce the appearance of fine line depth. A water-based serum that delivers Acetyl hexapeptide and Hyaluronic acid directly to the surface of the skin. Reduces the look of fine lines for long-lasting results, increases skin suppleness and creates a smooth, flawless finish.

Who: Anyone looking to target fine lines and wrinkles and increases skin suppleness. Ideal for all skin types.

When: AM/PM on clean skin