You will undoubtedly of heard of ‘Free Radicals’ and that they’re damaging to our skin – causing premature ageing. You will also likely have heard of ‘Antioxidants’ and that they are essential for healthy skin. I often speak about free radicals and antioxidants in short social media posts.
In this article I’m going to explain what free radicals are and why they’re so damaging. What antioxidants are and why they’re vital in supporting our skin’s health to prevent premature ageing.
What Is A Free Radical? The Science Bit
A free radical is formed when a healthy atom becomes agitated by the absorption of an adverse energy source, such as sunlight or inflammation.
The atom fires off an electron to try and release the unwanted energy – this causes an imbalance of a missing electron and electrical charge.
A Journey Of Destruction
The free radical goes off on a journey that wreaks havoc and destruction. It sets off to steal back an electron that will make it whole again. This, unfortunately, sets off a chain reaction that creates more free radicals – each seeking to steal back an electron!
This destruction is known as ‘The Oxidative Pathway’ and leads to oxidative stress.
As the free radicals invade the body’s cells they break through the membrane of the cell, disfiguring its structure and depriving it of much needed oxygen. If the nucleus of the cell is damaged then irregular cell reproduction occurs. This leads to dysfunction, disease and possibly cancerous change.
The DNA of the cells are damaged and premature ageing of the skin will occur in the form of lines and wrinkles, sagging, dull and lifeless looking skin.
What Causes Free Radical Formation?
There are many factors that can cause the formation of free radicals in the skin.
These include, UV Light – responsible for up to 95% of premature ageing. Stress, smoking, alcohol, pollution, skincare products containing toxic ingredients, poor diet, illness and medication.
What Is An Antioxidant And Why Are They So Important To Prevent Premature Ageing?
An antioxidant is a molecule that contains electrons. The antioxidant neutralises the free radical by donating an electron to it – making it a balanced atom again. Thankfully, the antioxidant is able to donate an electron without then becoming a free radical itself.
Where Do Antioxidants Come From?
Antioxidants come from fruits and vegetables. We know that eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is essential for us to be healthy. The vitamins and minerals they provide are important, but now you can understand how crucial they are in providing a stream of antioxidants into the body to neutralise free radicals that are so damaging.
Is A Healthy Diet Enough?
A healthy diet packed with antioxidants will make a big difference to your skin’s health. However, our skin unfortunately, is last in the priority queue when it comes to receiving all of the vital nutrients and antioxidants. This is why we see the effects in our skin so quickly when we’re perhaps tired, stressed or have been ill – even with just a simple cold.
Extra Insurance With The Correct Skincare Products
The best way to ensure that your skin is getting everything it needs to stay healthy and glowing, is to use skincare products that are ‘clean’ of toxic ingredients. Toxic ingredients will cause free radical formation. Also ensure that the products you use are antioxidant rich. Then, if your skin isn’t getting enough of what it needs from your healthy diet alone, or you’re having a less healthy day, as we all do sometimes – we’re human! You can rest assured that your skin is still getting a good dose of antioxidants that are working hard within your skin. Busy donating electrons where needed, keeping your skin healthier and wrinkle free for longer.
Hopefully this post has helped in understanding how antioxidants play a large part in protecting the skin. Protecting against premature ageing, disease and other skin disorders.
The Top 10 High Antioxidant Food Sources:
Dark Chocolate (No guilt whatsoever)
All of the products we provide on Treat The Skin You’re In (both skincare and supplements) are full of much needed antioxidants or other vital nutrients and ingredients that will support your skin’s health.
Food list sourced from – Dr Axe