Defining Your Skin with Free Radicals

 

 Free Radicals. You may have heard that term tossed around. Or better yet, free radical scavengers or antioxidants. We would all like to stay young in our heart, mind and looks. But, there is a science behind aging and a having a better understanding of how it all works is half the battle. Aging is a fact of life, and so are the minute intricacies of the biological functions happening behind the scenes. I’ve summarized below what free radicals are and hope this helps you to understanding your skin a bit better.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are formed when a molecule with a missing electron rob another molecule of their electron resulting in creating a molecule monster called a free radical. This process triggers a chain reaction much like the domino effect and creates havoc on living tissue.

How does this happen?

Sometimes this reaction is a by-product of the body’s natural metabolic process. But also exists because of external environmental factors such as UV radiation, pesticides, air pollution, drugs, cigarette smoke and unhealthy lifestyles.

What does this mean?

Free Radicals are the number one reason behind skin aging. Essentially the reason behind cellular damage, alterations in structure of the cellular membrane, decreased elasticity and pliability. They also harm the Langerhan cells (which is the skin’s immune system) resulting in lowering its efficacy to purge foreign materials that come into contact with the skin.

What can we do?

The body does have its own ability to fight off free radical damage by producing antioxidants. However, this capability diminishes with age.  While free radicals are important for proper skin function it is the excessive amounts of free radicals that can cause serious damage.  Tune in next week to find out more about antioxidants/free radical scavengers and what you can do to fight free radicals.

Naturally yours,

Angie


sources: Milady Skin Care and Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary 
by: Varinia Michalun & Joseph C. Dinardo
http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/antiox.html
http://fuelrunning.com/body/free-radicals-a-clear-and-simple-explanation

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