What Are Free Radicals and Are they Bad for your Skin?

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The concern for skin damage has been greater today than ever. Some causes for skin damage are obvious and easy to understand. Some are difficult to identify and require the explanation of an expert to comprehend. A good example of this is the free radicals. You may have already heard of that term a dozen of times. You may even know that it wreaks havoc not only on your skin but also on your overall health.

To understand free radicals, you can view it in the perspective of science. Everything you see or feel is made up of molecules, including you and every bit of your body. These molecules are composed of atoms, which are made up of a pair of electrons. The role of free radicals comes in when an atom loses an electron. The free radicals snatch the extra electron from the atoms. When this happens, the DNA is damaged. In terms of skin health, this leads to the acceleration of skin aging.

So considering what free radicals do, what does this mean for your skin? You can find out below.


What are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are unstable atoms with an unpaired electron. In order to become stable, they must seize another electron from another atom. Before you think that free radicals are unnatural, you have to stop. The fact is that they are a part of the essential biological processes in the body. They are a byproduct of the metabolism of cells.

However, too much is always bad and such is the case of excess free radicals. A chain reaction of damage happens since these excessive free radicals create more unstable atoms that have to snatch electrons from other atoms.


Where Do Free Radicals Come From?

As mentioned earlier, free radicals are a natural part of life. Yet, certain factors cause the excess production of this biological byproduct. One of the top causes is sun exposure. Pollution, stress, and unhealthy diet are also culprits that create more free radicals in the body.


How Do Free Radicals Damage Your Skin?

Free radicals cause your cells to be dysfunctional. When they damage the DNA of your skin, your skin ages faster. Free radicals attack the structural layer and defense barrier of the skin by destroying certain proteins such as elastin fibers, lipids, and collagen. This causes your skin to lose elasticity, become dry, develop blotting and fine lines, become thinner, develop uneven tones, and appear dull and lifeless. Overall, this makes your skin more prone to damage.


What are the Causes of Free Radical Damage?

To avoid creating an overload of free radicals, you need to know what causes them. Here they are:

  • Stress
  • Hectic Lifestyle
  • Unhealthy Diet
  • Vices including smoking, drinking alcohol, and drug abuse
  • Illness such as obesity
  • Air Pollution
  • Use of Products
  • Exposure to chemicals such as asbestos
  • Sun Exposure

If you want to understand free radicals and their causes a bit more, you can refer to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SZ2cLtaKPc


How to Fight Free Radical Damage

The wonder substances in today’s skincare industry are antioxidants. However, they are not only found in skincare products but also in other sources such as food. Doctors will attest to the importance of antioxidants in maintaining good skin and your overall health.

Here are ways that you can fight free radical damage:

Incorporate antioxidants in your daily routine.

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Begin and end your day by applying products with potent antioxidants on your skin. In the past, doctors recommended application of antioxidant products on your skin in the morning since this is the time that you will be exposed to the sun. However, it has soon been found out that the UV rays creating more free radicals persist for hours after exposure. Because of this, it is now recommended that you introduce antioxidants to your skin in the evening as well.

There are two methods on how to put antioxidants in your body namely, through skincare products and food.

Use a combination of antioxidants.

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A variety of antioxidants is available out there, in its processed or natural form. Keep in mind that antioxidants do their job synergistically, which means that a combo of different antioxidants works better than just one. A good example is vitamin C. Even though vitamin C is beneficial for the skin, it works better when used in conjunction with vitamin E. In the same way, this pair does not work as good as vitamins C, E, and ferulic altogether.


Eat right.

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You will have to consume dietary antioxidants if you really want to maintain good skin health or improve whatever free radical issue you already have. While topical skincare products are important for your daily routine, some of them will not be able to penetrate the deeper skin layers. In this case, you have to let food to do the job.

According to research, two to three added portions of fruit and vegetables per day for a period of six weeks were able to produce changes in the skin tone of people who made this change to their diet.

Vitamin A, which is an antioxidant, can be found in sources like mango, carrots, and pumpkin. Vitamin C is present in kale, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Vitamin E is present in oils, nuts, and seeds. Selenium can be found in pork, eggs, red meat, and chicken.

If you want to know more about the natural sources of antioxidants, you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pd3jcw2pwRY


Choose the right skincare product.

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Skincare products containing antioxidant ingredients are essential for your protection. However, not every products works the same on everyone. You have to choose the right one for your skin. Here are some tips on what skincare products can help you battle free radical damage:

  • A cleanser with lactic acid as a base since this will heal the top skin layers and also hydrate it
  • Topical products containing active antioxidants
  • Vitamin A products that will alleviate skin irritation and remodel your skin cells
  • Sun block with a minimum of SPF 30 rating to guarantee protection against the harmful UV rays

Here are some things you should know about choosing the right skincare product for your skin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnbPl9Xi-Zw


Improve your lifestyle.

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What you put into your body is just as important what you apply on your skin. If you really want to fight free radical damage, you need to improve your lifestyle. Exercise regularly, drink lots of water, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, do not abuse legal or illegal drugs, and eat a balanced diet.

Reminders on Free Radicals and Fighting the Damage They Cause

Keep in mind that free radicals are essential to your body’s biological processes. You do not have to fight its natural production. What you have to battle against is the excessive creation of these unstable atoms. Now that you understand these substances and its causes, here are a few things to remember:

  • Excess production of free radicals accelerate skin aging.
  • Free radical damage can destroy the other aspects of your health, not just your skin.
  • Antioxidants are your best shield in fighting against free radical damage.
  • These substances are found in processed products and natural sources.
  • You must protect your skin both from the outside and the inside.
  • Your skin is unique to you so you have to do what works for you and not what works for others.

If you have any questions or comments on free radical damage and how to protect your skin from it, feel free to post them below.




Free Radicals