What are free radicals and why are they bad for your skin?

One of the most sensational and at the same time undisclosed topics in the beauty industry is free radicals. Many of us now and then buy antioxidant drugs without understanding their essence.

Get ready! We are about to begin a beauty chemistry lesson.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are active oxygen molecules that trigger the oxidation process. These molecules are able to take one electron from the surrounding cells, as a result of which they also turn into free radicals and spread the oxidative reaction to the adjacent cells. It turns out a kind of “chain reaction”, which is capable of destroying collagen – the basis of the connective tissue of the body.

Where do free radicals come from?

The main sources are:

  • Excess ultraviolet
  • Atmospheric pollution
  • Radiation
  • Active and passive smoking
  • Taking medications
  • Stressful conditions

To be honest, there are many more factors influencing the appearance of free radicals than in the list above. But here we will consider only those that most of all affect the condition of the skin and aging processes.

How are free radicals formed?

Throughout life, a person passes through several tons of oxygen, of which about one and a half tons of radicals are formed. Metals rust from such an aggressive external influence, let alone sensitive human skin. How does the skin age-related to free radical damage?

Oxidative stress leads to the destruction of collagen, and consequently a loss of firmness and elasticity in our skin. Natural protective functions are weakened, and the regeneration process is significantly slowed down. That is why large cosmetology laboratories began to fight the cause of premature aging, and not try to erase the existing consequences from the face.

Free radicals and antioxidants

Let’s talk about protection against free radicals and antioxidants.

RELATED: Which vitamins for skin are the most useful?

4 of them are your skin’s best friends:

  • Ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
  • Tocopherol (vitamin E)
  • ß-carotene (provitamin A)
  • Lycopene (found in tomatoes)

These should be looked for in the cosmetics composition when you choose future “protection” for your skin. Your choice should not be based on fashion trends or what you read on social media, but on the needs of your own skin, since each antioxidant has its own unique qualities.

For example, vitamin C in cosmetics promotes the skin lightening process, while vitamin A is a highly effective component of anti-aging and anti-acne care.

Progress in the field of cosmetology gives us a wide variety of methods to combat the signs of aging. Even if you do not have a daily skincare routine, using a product with antioxidant components can be very useful!

Photo by Kamila Maciejewska

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