It goes something like this: when it comes to antioxidants, you have isolated, individual antioxidants, and you have antioxidants that occur within an entire plant or ingredient. An example would be vitamin A as an isolated antioxidant, and vitamin A as an antioxidant that occurs/is used within sea buckthorn oil. This distinction is important because the two different forms of antioxidant behave in the skin a little differently.
Isolated antioxidants are usually what most people are familiar with, and are the types of antioxidants many private label skincare lovers and entrepreneurs look for in their products. Examples of this include vitamins C and E on ingredient decks. These isolated antioxidants neutralize free radicals by lending a spare electron, and in the process the antioxidant "dies". They're almost like skincare martyrs, getting rid of the bad guys while also sacrificing themselves. It's a little brutal, but it works!
Antioxidants that have not been isolated/that occur within their botanical medium, like sea buckthorn oil, also neutralize free radicals. The difference is that while isolated antioxidants get consumed during the free radical neutralization process, whole plant essences (like an oil) provide long term cellular repair and protection because they activate endogenous anti inflammatory transcription factors within each cell. Simply put, with a whole plant the good stuff keeps going, while isolated antioxidants stop working once they're consumed.
Does this mean you should never use private label skincare with individual antioxidants? No! We love ourselves some vitamin C serum. What this does mean is that you want to make sure your skincare, whether for yourself or your customers, contains whole plant essences/extracts/oils, etc. so that the full pantheon of skin protective and regenerative benefits can be enjoyed.