“…free radical protection…”
“…exposure to free radicals can…”
“…protects from free radicals…”
How many times have you encountered the aforementioned statements? How many beauty products have these words on their packaging?
But What Are Free Radicals And Why Should We Be Scared Of Them?
Free radicals are created if one atom’s shell isn’t full with the required amount of electrons and it bonds with other substances to complete the shell, thus making the atom reactive.
In other words, free radicals are substances that are highly reactive. And with so many reactive atoms, there’s a chance that your body may succumb to the chain reaction – this may damage DNA, proteins, lipids and nucleic acids and also cause cancer, cardiovascular diseases and even autoimmune diseases.
Free radicals may interact with your body because of exposure to air pollution, smoke and other toxic chemicals. And what’s the first thing free radicals interact with? The skin, of course!
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons, a condition that makes them extremely unstable and reactive. They are a natural byproduct of various metabolic processes within the body but can also be introduced through external factors like pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, and industrial chemicals. The most common types of free radicals are derived from oxygen, known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), including superoxide anion, hydroxyl radical, and hydrogen peroxide. These ROS are particularly dangerous because they can easily interact with other molecules due to their unpaired electrons.
The body does have its own defense mechanisms against free radicals, including enzymes like superoxide dismutase and catalase, and non-enzymatic antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. However, when the production of free radicals overwhelms the body's ability to neutralize and eliminate them, it leads to a state called oxidative stress.
Free Radicals and the Skin
Free radicals are pretty awful for the skin. Here’s how free radicals can gradually damage your skin.
- Changed skin color
- Red sports of visibly broken blood vessels
- Damaged elasticity
- Broken/inhibited elasticity
- Damaged skin DNA
In the skin, free radicals are generated through various internal and external factors. Internally, they can be a byproduct of normal metabolic processes like breathing or digesting food. Externally, free radicals are commonly produced by environmental stressors such as UV radiation from the sun, pollution, tobacco smoke, and industrial chemicals. When the skin is exposed to these factors, it leads to an increase in the production of free radicals.
These unstable molecules can then interact with and damage important components of the skin cells, including DNA, proteins, and lipids. The skin does have natural antioxidant defenses to neutralize free radicals, including enzymes and other substances like vitamin E and C. However, excessive free radical activity can overwhelm these defenses, leading to oxidative stress and subsequent damage.
With compromised collagen and elastin and damaged DNA, your skin is prone to wrinkles and inconsistent skin pigment.
Armoring Your Skin Against Free Radicals
Luckily, the effects of free radicals can be paused and even reversed. Turns out, Vitamin C skincare is one of the biggest assets we have to protect our skin from external free radical damage!
The impact of free radicals on the skin is profound and multifaceted. One of the most visible effects is the acceleration of the aging process. Free radicals can break down collagen and elastin, the proteins that give skin its firmness and elasticity, leading to wrinkles, sagging, and a loss of youthful appearance. Additionally, they can alter the DNA of skin cells, potentially leading to mutations and contributing to skin cancer development.
Free radicals can also affect the skin's melanocytes, which produce melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color. This can result in uneven skin pigmentation, such as age spots and hyperpigmentation. Moreover, free radical damage can weaken the skin's natural barrier function, making it more susceptible to dehydration and less effective in keeping out harmful pathogens. This weakening can exacerbate skin conditions like eczema and acne and make the skin more sensitive to external irritants.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant – a naturally occurring vitamin that neutralizes free radicals and their effects.
Vitamin C serums are great in treating free radical damage. They boost collagen and elastin within the skin so that it retains its texture and suppleness. It also helps to soothe irritated and inflamed areas on your skin, which are caused by free radicals.
Vitamin C skincare is also known for its brightening effects. It breaks dark spots and pigmentation caused by free radicals and rebuilds your skin’s protective barrier.
The Most Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidants can be found in various skincare products containing ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, retinol, and green tea extracts. These antioxidants help to repair existing skin damage and prevent further oxidative stress. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other foods high in antioxidants can also support the skin's defense against free radicals from the inside out.
Maintaining overall skin health through proper hydration, avoiding smoking, and limiting exposure to pollution and other environmental stressors can further bolster the skin's resilience against free radical damage. Ultimately, a comprehensive approach combining protection, targeted treatments, and a healthy lifestyle is essential in safeguarding the skin from the aging and damaging effects of free radicals.
Vitamin C isn’t the only powerful antioxidant – there’s also Vitamin E! Vitamin E is known to improve blood vessel health and also interrupt the free radical chain reaction!
In other words, paired together, these ingredients are unstoppable – and boy, do we have a surprise for you.
Head on to our store for an all natural anti wrinkle serum, which combines Vitamin C and E.
So what’s it going to be? How will you fight free radicals?
Leave your comments below and let us know what do you think.
Christine Wright is a trusted beauty expert and an esthetician who is loved by editors and bloggers. She is a prolific writer on the topics of natural, chemical-free skin and body care. She also does reviews on store brand beauty products, with fairness and a real point-of-view. She is well-known of creating products for specific skin types, especially to those with ultra-sensitive faces.
Opinions expressed are those of the writer.
Taking an oral Vitamin C pill and applying a Vitamin C serum on your face are 2 different things. If you want to work on your facial skin to help your skin appear brighter, improve elasticity, increase moisture and clear up acne, a facial Vitamin C serum is your best bet. I recommend using ML Delicate Beauty Advanced Anti-Aging Vitamin C Serum [https://bit.ly/2knRQ93] because not only I received great feedback from my clients after they’ve used it, their product contains Ferulic and Hyaluronic acid which are a great booster to restore the tone and firmness of the skin.
I hope this help.
I have been taking vitamin C in pill form religiously for years now. Does it make a difference if it’s applied to the face as a serum? I have dry and flaky skin and I’m thinking this might help with that maybe?