Free Radicals – Everything You Need to Know
Molecules, atoms and electrons!
Everything in the Universe is made up of molecules. Molecules are made up of atoms and atoms are made of pairs of electrons. But when an atom misses an electron, scavengers, also known as free radicals, steal an extra electron from another atom in the skin or body, causing damage to the cell’s DNA. This ‘stealing’ is carried out via a process called oxidation. Free radical activity, or oxidative stress, causes inflammation (dis-ease) and accelerated ageing.
Free radicals are created from the sun, dust, pollution, cigarette smoke, fried foods, alcohol and pesticides, but they are also natural by-products of our normal metabolic processes, and immune system responses.
Oxidative stress in the skin may appear as;
- Saggy skin – a result of damaged elastin fibres
- Wrinkles – a result of the breakdown of collagen
- Brown spots or pigmentation – a result of increased melanin production.
The damage from oxidative stress, however, is not exclusive to the skin. It affects all tissues of the body and can lead to poor health, cell death and disease. The implications of sustained exposure to our long-term wellbeing are why a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet and healthy lifestyle is so important. The younger we start nourishing our bodies well, instead of stressing them, the better our quality of life.
We can’t avoid oxidative stress, but we can help reduce it
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid all oxidative stress today, but we can take action to reduce it. In terms of our health and wellbeing, we should reduce our toxin load (fast food, alcohol, stress etc.) and eat plenty of colourful fruit and vegetables. This helps boost our capability to fight against free radical damage with good quality vitamin and minerals. We should also be proactive in reducing our daily stress levels and maintaining our physical fitness. We can combine the two with yoga or Pilates! Maybe take a break to the coast where opportunities for green walks and fresh, clean air are aplenty. Consider it an investment into your long-term health and quality of life.
To save our skins, we can follow the above guidance, with the addition of potent, medical-grade antioxidant skincare that shields the skin against the offending aggressors. Below are just a few of my favourites.
AlumierMD Alumience A.G.E. – an exclusive formulation that reduces the visible signs of ageing caused by free radicals, pollution, and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Using a unique blend of antioxidants, specialized peptides, antiglycation ingredients and a biomimetic pollution shield, Alumience A.G.E. provides the ultimate in daily protection from pollution and UV skin damage.
AlumierMD EverActive® C&E – a high-strength vitamin C (15% L-ascorbic acid) and vitamin E serum that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, revitalizing skin. The antioxidants, vitamin C and vitamin E neutralize free radicals and protect against UV damage, while vitamin C and MATRIXYL™ Synthe’6™® strengthen and brighten skin.
Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 40 Sunscreen (Universal tint) – a silky and sheer physical sunscreen that provides powerful broad-spectrum protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays. It is packed with free-radical-quenching antioxidants and blends beautifully on the skin, creating a sheer, healthy glow.
City Shield SPF50 is the most advanced global protection shield for the skin. Its exclusive formula DNA-Protect complex offers a state of the art defence against ageing and prevents from the harmful effects caused by sunlight and environmental pollution: erythema, ageing, spots and DNA damage.
Look after yourself. Reduce free-radical activity. Eat clean, nourishing foods. Take walks in the cleaner air. Exercise and meditate (make time! you’re worth it). Use protective, antioxidant-rich skincare. Reduce alcohol and cut out smoking (the damage to the skin is incredible!). Reduce stress – it’s a killer.
Take our Skin and Lifestyle Analysis to find out how you can reduce your free radical activity.