Free Radicals Beyond the Hype: Everything You Need to Know

Free radicals are the busiest buzzwords in the beauty world, but do you know what exactly are these beauty “devils” are and why they are so harmful to your skin? Here’s everything you need to know:

So, what exactly are free radicals?

free radicals, oxidative stress

Free radicals are extra “packets” of energy, created through our natural metabolic process. We call them “free” because they are not dedicated to any particular biochemical reaction in the body. Free radicals have an unpaired electron in their outer orbital shell which makes them highly reactive and unstable molecules. They penetrate into the interior of other cells, trying to regain their missing electron, and damage whatever cell structure they strike.

Why free radicals are particularly bad for the skin?

free radicals, skin damage

More than 85% of all free radical damage in the body comes from the cells’ own metabolic process. However, the skin is extremely rich in lipids, proteins and DNA which makes it a major target for unstable radicals and especially susceptible to oxidative stress. It is also the body’s first line of defense against environmental factors and as such is exposed to various external sources of free radical damage in addition to cellular metabolism.

Major external sources of free radical damage include:

free radicals, smoking, skin damage

  • UV radiation: skin receives 80% of its free radical damage from sun radiation. The oxygen, contained in the lower levels of the epidermis, is a primary target for UV rays. When UV light waves penetrate the skin, they donate electrons to the oxygen within skin cells, creating a chain of unstable, aggressive free radical molecules.
  • Cigarette smoke: tobacco smoke is critically damaging to all cells and tissues. With every puff, you deliver to your body more than 4 000 toxic chemicals that lead to oxidative stress.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: drinking alcohol increases your levels of cytokines, inflammatory molecules, responsible for excessive free radical production which leads to oxidative stress.
  • Exposure to air pollutants: industrial pollution and allergens increase oxidation in our bodies.

How can I protect my skin from free radicals and prevent oxidative stress?

free radicals protection, antioxidants

When it comes to fighting off free radicals and oxidative stress in the skin, antioxidants are our superheroes. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals before they touch the cell as well as stop ongoing cellular damage.

There is a tricky part though – only 1% of dietary antioxidants reach the surface of the skin. To effectively protect your skin from free radical damage, you need to apply topical antioxidants.

Choose antioxidants wisely for best results

Not all topical antioxidants are created equal. Effective topical antioxidants must be stable and come in the purest form, so they can penetrate the outermost barriers and reach the interior of the cell.

Ossential C-Bright Serum provides a potent dose of 10% pure, stabilised vitamin C that to brighten and re-texture the skin. Vitamin E and co-enzyme Q-10 protect the skin from environmental damage, while lipids and skin conditioners hydrate and support barrier restoration.

 

Ossential Daily Power Defense is formulated with vitamin E, enzymes and ceramides to speed up DNA repair in skin cells and protect against future oxidative damage.

daily power defense, free radicals, antioxidant protection