Free Radicals, what are they and how do they affect our skin.

Gabby Bartolo, 8th February 2023

What triggers free radicals?

While free radicals are a natural by-product of the processes going on in our bodies, there are a number of external factors that are known to trigger and increase free radical production. Smoking, inflammation, pollution, UV light, cell metabolism and ionising radiation.   

Why do we need to worry about free radicals affects on our skin?

When there is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to neutralize them, free radicals start to damage cell membranes, proteins and DNA in a process known as oxidative stress. Free radicals breakdown our skins collagen, which contributes to the signs of skin aging.  While aging is an entirely natural process, oxidative stress can cause skin to show fine lines, wrinkles and dull and dry skin prematurely.  

How can we prevent damage from free radicals?

Limit your UV exposure
Wear broad spectrum SPF every day
Daily use of a wide variety of antioxidants such as lycopene, L-carnosine,
astaxanthin, zinc, green tea extract, resveratrol
Double cleanse at night to ensure that any pollutants from the day’s exposure are removed from your skin
Don’t smoke

What can be done to reduce damage already caused by free radicals?

Whilst prevention is always the best method,  DNA repair enzymes can help to repair mutations within the skin cells that may have formed as a result of repeated and increased exposure. Other ingredients such as retinaldehyde can be used too.

Remember that our body has its own very clever internal antioxidant systems. However, because our skin is bombarded day in, and day out by our harsh environment, supplementing our own antioxidant systems is essential to maintaining skin health. Many of the antioxidants that we apply to our skin have numerous benefits such as stimulation of collagen protection, preventing unwanted pigment production, as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Win win!

Products that aid in the prevention of free radical damage:

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