Anyone else out there who used to think that the term: “Free Radicals” was a good thing?
No one? O.K, well personally I feel like my misguided thoughts were created by the fact that, to me, anything “Free” is supposedly a good thing.
Not this time around…
In my quest, and need to understand the nature of human skin, and how it can be better (okay, I just wanted to get rid of premature wrinkles, dark circles under my eyes, and zits!), I kept stumbling upon this word, and at first I dismissed it with simple definitions, after admittedly thinking that free radicals weren’t such a bad thing.
When something reoccurs, I have a tendency to pay just a little more attention to it than usual, hence this post!
There are a few brief things that I understand about Free Radicals at this point, and that is the fact that they are itty bitty particles, if you will, that are responsible for scientists’ understanding of the aging process of the human body.
Scientists now know that every single disease that ever was, and is begins first at the cellular level. So the fact is that Free Radicals that attack your skin, and cause damage to your skin cell’s DNA.
I didn’t understand that originally. I thought that DNA was something that you were born with, and could never change, but now we find out that it’s not a matter of impossible, but unwanted.
The thing is; These damaged/toxic cells who’s information has been tampered with will then reproduce more toxic cells, which cause skin damage, and aging.
What exactly are Free Radicals?
Free Radicals are like these negative particles that will magnetically attract positive forces, anywhere where they can be found. Keep in mind that they are negative, and not positive particles.
Here’s the thing about our dermis; it’s not particularly easy to find positive charges within it, so free radicals then abscond with whatever positive charge that they can find from other stable molecules in the skin, and the most notable molecules would be; collagen, and elastin, which are primarily responsible for maintaining our skin’s vitality.
So then this happens over many many years (as you age), and a bundle of collagen that was once stable, acquires several points of damage and becomes dysfunctional.
What ends up happening is that the dermis (containing this collagen) becomes weak, and begins to sag, and wilt.
What causes free radicals?
The most common cause is UltraViolet exposure, which disrupts the path of electrons within the dermis, and that’s what leads to the unstable particles that I told you about.
Running away from the sun by living in the city will not protect you from these little monsters within.
It’s been found that something as simple as taking a jog within traffic, and chronic irritation can also lead to the generation of free radicals.
How in the world am I so exposed to Free Radicals?
All you have to do is just sigh, or take a deep breathe whilst standing behind a city bus, and you have just exposed yourself to more pollutants than what your grandmother would have experienced in her entire life!
We have Air pollution, fluorescent lights, some computer screens, and even tap water with iron in it all conspiring to expose your skin to more free radicals than anyone in the history of mankind has experienced.
Ladies and gentlemen, our beacons of civilization are making us sick!
Your skin has not evolved highly enough to cope, let alone keep up with all these attacks, and so oxidation is happening, and such an accelerated rate that one clever lady once said that it’s like our skin is “rusting.”
External factors like smoking, excessive alcohol intake, stress and sunlight are among the common contributors of free radicals to our system.
They are not just the bane of our skin by causing the signs of early aging. Free radicals can overwhelm our body’s immune system, and then cause severe damage to our cells, thereby exposing our bodies to various chronic diseases.
But don’t cells regenerate?
Our body cells’ birth, death and rebirth happen 24 hours a day, so you are definitely right about that. It is a natural process that is vital in keeping our body healthy.
Oxygen will then interact with all the cells inside our body, and we call this process oxidation–as I have already explained–and it happens naturally during normal cellular functions. Oxidation can be very damaging to our body, because of the modern world in which we live. As our body metabolizes oxygen, cells become damaged in the process and that’s when it is turned into free radicals.
How do I protect myself from Free Radicals?
The best defense against free radicals is preventing their occurrence at the outset by blocking UV rays and keeping the skin hydrated.
BUT Once free radicals are formed, the body has a natural defense against them comprised of enzymes like Super Oxide Dismutase (SOD), Catalase, and Glutathione Peroxidase. When this natural enzymatic system is depleted (think of a worn-out force-field) our skin is very susceptible to attack.
“If a cell is damaged by free radicals, it wants to repair itself and it will if it’s stimulated,” explains Anne Chapas, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University School of Medicine, in New York City.
Kick-start the process by working antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals, into your skin-care routine and diet. The best antioxidant-rich ingredients in skin-care treatments include idebenone; coenzyme Q10; kinetin; botanicals such as green tea, soy, coffee berry, and vitamins C and E.
Vitamin E especially has been shown to penetrate deep into the skin, where damage happens.
Apply an antioxidant-rich face lotion with SPF in the morning, consider using a spray with free radical–fighting properties in the afternoon, and wear a cream containing one of the above ingredients at night.
Antioxidant supplements can be enormously helpful once natural defenses have been depleted.
Antioxidants this, and antioxidants that; Why exactly should I bother?
Because, eating a diet rich in antioxidants is simply not enough. It is estimated that only about 2-3% of the antioxidants we eat, get to the skin. To significantly reduce skin damage and repair the skin, we must apply products to our skin that contain high levels of antioxidants. The epidermis has no direct supply of blood to provide antioxidants, and it also has the greatest exposure to sun and chemicals. Our skin is literally craving antioxidants.
But wrinkles are for old people
You may think that being in your twenties makes you immune to any of this, “I’m young, I don’t have wrinkles, and I will worry about them, when I get them, and when I get them, I’ll embrace them as a sign of maturity…”
That was my exact attitude, until I realized that the creases from making funny faces, etc. could some day cement themselves as fine lines, and then wrinkles.
I even already have laugh lines, so essentially every time I smile, my skin is having a go at me. Those laugh lines, will one day turn into wrinkles.
It is estimated that between birth and age 27, our body’s antioxidant levels pretty much equal the intensity of our free radical attacks. But from age 27 and on, our antioxidant levels decline, and free radical damage increases. By age 82, free radical damage is 60 times greater than at age 22.
If you aren’t sure where to start, I would strongly suggest giving Bella Terra Mineral Cosmetics’ Moisturizer a go. It contains botanical extracts that fight free radicals!
- Want Lighter, Softer, More Youthful Skin? (thatbword.wordpress.com)
- The Anti-Aging All Stars: Antioxidants (skinnv.wordpress.com)
- Reduce Sun Damage – Adopt the Right Habits to Avoid Skin Damage From the Sun (clarinsusa.com)
- Totes ♡ The Fact That Collagenase Hates Algae Extract! (thatbword.wordpress.com)
- Green Tea (healthyskinsolutions.com)
- Powerlessness Against Free Radicals (nutritionalfactss.wordpress.com)
- Free Radical Theory Of Aging And The Antioxidant Revolution Pt1 (divinehealth235.wordpress.com)