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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

 

Eat Your Way to a Flawless Complexion: 4 Essential Vitamins for Healthy Skin

When it comes to skin health, the old adage ‘you are what you eat’ holds true more than ever before. If you are hankering after spotless, radiant complexion, what you put in your body matters just as much (or even more) as what you put on your skin. Here are the 4 essential vitamins for healthy skin and foods that contain them:

1. Vitamin A

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin A foods

Why is it good? 

Vitamin A is a miracle worker against fine lines, spots and wrinkles. Similar to retinoids, which are derived from it, vitamin A speeds up tissue repair and supports the healthy functioning of skin’s protective barrier.

It is also a great supplement for oily and acne-prone skin as it can help reduce excess sebum production and clear rough patches on your face.

Natural Sources of Vitamin A: 

  • Liver and liver products such as pâté (but no more than once a week, too much vitamin A can be harmful to your health, especially if you are pregnant or trying to conceive)
  • Eggs
  • Oily fish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Carrots and leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale
  • Yellow fruit such as mango, papaya and apricots

Best Vitamin A Product: Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin A, retinol

Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair contains 1% retinol which is the highest retinol concentration you can find in over-the-counter products. Retinol is an active form of vitamin A that clears up uneven pigmentation and diminishes the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation. Ossential Advanced Radical Night Repair is formulated with multiple antioxidants to neutralise free radicals and prevent future damage to your skin.

2. Vitamin C

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin C

Why is it good?

We all know vitamin C can help us fight off colds and flu, but its antioxidant properties are great for skin, too. Vitamin C protects your complexion from free radical damage and boosts collagen production. Exposure to sunlight and pollutants depletes the amount of vitamin C in your skin, so add vitamin-rich foods to your diet to ensure you are getting your daily dose.

Natural Sources of vitamin C:

  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Red and green peppers
  • Blackcurrants

Best Vitamin C Product: Ossential® C-Bright Serum

Ossential C-bright Serum provides a potent dose of 10% pure, stabilised vitamin C to combat spots, dullness and wrinkles. The serum activates upon contact with the skin’s natural water content to maximise exfoliation and reveal radiant, even-toned skin.

3. Vitamin E

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin E foods

Why is it good?

Vitamin E is another powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and neutralises free radicals before they harm the cells in the upper layers of your skin. Studies have shown that vitamin E protects better when it’s combined with vitamin C. When used together, vitamins C and E help reduce the damaging effects of UV radiation twice as effectively than when administered alone.

Natural Sources of Vitamin E:

  • Plant oils such as soya, corn and olive oil
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Wheatgerm – found in cereals and cereal products
  • Avocado
  • Olives

Best Vitamin E Product: Ossential C-bright Serum 

C-bright

 

To optimize the benefits of both vitamins, Ossential C-Bright Serum is formulated with 10% pure vitamin C, vitamin E and Q-10 to protect your skin from environmental damage and stimulate healthy collagen production.

4. Vitamin D

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin D foods

Why is it good?

Vitamin D is vital for skin cell growth and repair. It prevents the onset of premature aging and enhances skin’s ability to retain and replenish moisture. Vitamin D plays a big role in fighting off bacteria and its deficiency is strongly linked to acne breakouts and inflammation.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D: 

  • Oily fish such as salmon, herring and fresh tuna
  • Mushrooms
  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified cereals
  • Red Meat

Best Vitamin D Product: Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30

vitamins for healthy skin, vitamin D, sun protection, SPF 30, oclipse sunscreen+primer SPF 30

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body synthesises it from sunlight exposure. However, letting the sun beat down on your face and body without SPF protection is not the right way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.

The World Health Organisation has identified solar UV radiation as a proven human carcinogen, linking to 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers and about 86% of melanomas. Unprotected sun exposure is also the number one reason for premature skin ageing. So, is there a way to get vitamin D without abusing your skin and putting your health at risk?

Oclipse® Sunscreen + Primer SPF 30 protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation and enhances skin barrier functions. SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent of UVB rays, which means that 2 to 7 percent of solar rays still reaching your skin; this is more than enough to get the vitamin D your body needs.