One of the main ways the skin ages is through free radical damage, also known as Oxidative stress. Free radicals are molecules with an impaired electron, which make them highly reactive. To become stable, they have to acquire another electron by taking one from another molecule. That molecule now has an unpaired electron which makes it highly unstable and it wants an extra electron; this leads to a chain reaction. In the process of electron transfer, chemical bonds are broken and new ones form, therefore causing irreversible changes in the molecules’ structure and function.
Free radicals are everywhere, they are formed from natural biological processes like respiration and also environmental factors like UV rays and pollution. Free radicals form in your skin within 15 minutes of exposure to UV rays, that’s why sun protection is very important.
Free radicals can attack DNA, proteins and lipids thereby permanently changing their structures leading to issues like wrinkles, fine lines, fragile skin and even skin cancer.
Antioxidants are molecules that can neutralize free radicals. They are usually stable with an unpaired electron, so once the free radicals takes their electron, the chain reaction stops. Your body naturally contains antioxidants but they can get overwhelmed if too many free radicals are present which is why you need to help by using products with antioxidants.
Photo Credit: New Beauty