Every day, as you go through your day, you expose your skin to a lot of things that cause damage to it.
When we talk about things that damage the skin, we usually talk about using the wrong skincare products, bad skincare practices, poor diet, bad makeup practices, etc.
But there are things that damage our skin every day, that we are not aware of and we have very little control over them.
One of such things is free radicals.
We are exposed to them every day and they are one of the things we should be actively fighting, especially if we do not want to look older than our mates.
What are free radicals?
To fully explain this in a way you can understand, I have to talk a little bit about science. Don’t zone out on me. Trust me, it is quite simple to understand.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that cause damage to the cells in our body. So, normally, molecules contain atoms. Atoms usually have electrons and these electrons work in pairs. None is ever alone. That way everything is safe and normal.
It becomes a problem when there is a breakdown in the structure of the atoms and electron pairs split up. The atoms that contain these unpaired electrons are free radicals.
Since these free radicals are unstable and are missing an electron, they try to steal electrons from stable molecules so they can become stable again.
The result of this is a chain reaction that creates many more unstable atoms in our body.
Where do free radicals come from?
Free radicals are naturally produced in your body. They are a part of the human biological process and they are byproducts of cellular metabolism.
They can also be introduced by external factors. Factors that trigger free radicals include
- Household cleaning agents,
- Cigarette smoke,
- Poor nutrition,
- Air pollution,
- Ultraviolet rays from the sun,
- toxins, etc.
Environmental pollutants can trigger an increase in free radicals. So, as much as you can, avoid them.
How do free radicals damage the skin?
When free radicals become too much, they affect your healthy cells and it becomes hard for your body to fight them off.
Free radicals can cause diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. They can also cause great damage to your skin.
They damage your skin’s DNA which speeds up skin aging. So, you begin to experience aging signs like wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, and sagging skin, long before you normally should.
They can also cause dark skin patches, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, etc. As time goes by, the effects of free radicals become more noticeable.
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How do you fight free radicals?
The good news is there is a way you can fight off free radicals and prevent them from damaging your skin and your body.
The weapon you need to fight this is called an antioxidant. An antioxidant is simply a molecule that prevents the oxidation of other molecules. The job of an antioxidant is to help protect your skin from the damaging effects of free radicals.
What antioxidants do is, they provide an extra electron to the unpaired electrons. They bind them together and make them whole again. These prevent the unstable atoms from damaging your cells any further.
There are different kinds of antioxidants and they work in different ways due to the difference in their chemical properties.
But the good news is, with antioxidants, you do not have to worry about free radicals.
They also help to:
- Reduce skin inflammation
- Keep your skin firm
- Treat acne
- Fasten the treatment of acne scar
- Slow down your skin’s aging process
Aside from antioxidants, you should stay away from anything that can trigger free radicals in your system as much as you can.
How do you get antioxidants?
First thing you should know is one of the biggest sources of antioxidants are vitamins.
To learn everything you need to know about antioxidants, please read this article: What Are Antioxidants and How Do They Affect Your Skin
How do you get those into your body and your skin?
Eat foods that contain antioxidants
Eating foods rich in antioxidants is the most natural way to get antioxidants into your skin.
Eat foods that are rich in vitamins A, E, C, and D. The good news is many foods we eat on a daily basis have these vitamins.
Eat more leafy green vegetables like ugwu, spinach, kale, cauliflower, etc. Eat more fruits too, especially citrus fruits. Also, add berries to your diet and drink as many cups of green tea as you can.
And stay away from foods that cause harm to your skin in any way.
Use skincare products that contain antioxidants
From this moment, when you go shopping, watch out for products that contain antioxidants.
Look out for ingredients like vitamin B3 (also called niacinamide), Vitamin C (also called L-Ascorbic acid), Vitamin A (look out for retinol), Vitamin E, and green tea extract.
Vitamin B3 makes your skin barrier stronger and prevents toxins from penetrating your skin.
Vitamin C prevents oxidative stress caused by free radicals and helps to boost collagen production in your skin. Using a vitamin C serum will help.
Green tea extract contains polyphenols that increase your skin’s immunity and help to treat the damage done to your skin.
Vitamin A helps to reduce the appearance of aging signs and it can be used to treat acne.
Vitamin E moisturizes your skin and acts as a shield against free radicals. It also prevents premature aging.
With these antioxidants in your skincare products, your skin is fortified with the right nutrients to fight free radicals.
Yes, free radicals cause a lot of damage, but the good news is you can stop that from happening.
Just make sure to follow the tips I gave above and you are good to go. If you have any questions, leave a comment and I will answer as soon as I can.