What Are Free Radicals & Why Are They Bad for Our Skin?
‘Free Radicals’ is a buzz-term thrown about by many skin care brands and health-conscious individuals, but do we really know what they are, and more importantly, why they are bad for our skin?
We’ve pulled together the main reasons why Free Radicals seem to be the big no-no when it comes to skin health and keeping a youthful, healthy glow…
What Are Free Radicals?
Scientifically speaking, Free Radicals are atoms or molecules with an un-paired electron. This means they are unstable, and need to pair with another electron to stabilize. In order to do this, they steal electrons from secure molecules, leaving them damaged in the process.
Free Radicals are created from pollution such as smog, dust, smoke and sunlight, and some are more harmful than others.
How Do They Damage Our Skin?
Free Radicals attack proteins like collagen and lipids, to replace the missing electron they need to stabilize. This means, the cells they steal them from, are left damaged, and lead to weakness in the skin’s barrier or structural layer. This damage causes wrinkles, dry skin, dark pigmentation and an unhealthy complexion much quicker than the natural aging process.
As well as just surface damage to our skin, Free Radicals can attack DNA, which can potentially lead to cancer – they are therefore considered a serious health risk.
Free Radicals are responsible for a staggering 80% of all skin aging, so they’re definitely something we should protect ourselves against.
How Can Beauty Products Help?
Any skin care product high in antioxidants can quench Free Radicals by providing a stable molecule for them to bind to. Vitamin C and other natural extracts like Grapeseed are some of the best ingredients to look out for.
What About Diet?
Similar to the key ingredients to look out for in skin care products, eating foods high in antioxidants like dark berries and leafy greens, will help quench Free Radicals and protect your skin from damage.