Free Radicals & Skin Damage

When a free radical encounters a skin cell, whether it was formed through natural biological processes or environmental stress, all hell breaks loose. The free radical will grab onto anything and everything it can.

The electron stealing chain reaction will grab onto proteins, like collagen, causing them to uncoil and become damaged, resulting in cell injury and cell death, ultimately translating to saggy, looser skin, permanently changing the structure causing what you would think of as damaged skin: wrinkles, fine lines, fragile skin and uneven pigmentation.

Free radicals also cause trouble in DNA by bonding with the DNA structure and causing mutations, which can ultimately cause cancer. This same type of free radical damage may be involved in the development of dementia, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and atherosclerosis – to name a few.

Where to get Antioxidants:

Before you go rallying against free radicals – a FEW of them are necessary. It’s a delicate balancing act to get the right number of antioxidants to where it’s needed the most. With over 8000 varieties, including vitamins, polyphenols and flavonoids there are plenty of antioxidants that can be effective, both imbibed in foods and supplements and applied externally to skin. And just like a healthy diet, the more potent, mixture of antioxidants you use, the healthier and younger you will look.

1. Eat for Healthy skin

You are what you eat and we know that what we eat can have a significant impact on our skin’s future. Many foods are great sources of antioxidants, with many found primarily in plants, since many plants have evolved to deal with high UV exposure because plants just can’t pick up their roots and find a shady corner.

However, we can’t just eat ten servings of kale a day and expect that to provide us with all the antioxidants we need. Instead we need to eat fruits and vegetables, legumes, mushrooms, whole grains, seeds, nuts and oily fish that all contain different types of antioxidants that are used for different purposes and work in different tissues of the body and in different parts of cells.

The best way to get a variety of antioxidants in the diet is to eat foods that represent all the colours of the rainbow. Each colour provides its own unique antioxidant effects. Bright orange, deep yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots provide one type of antioxidant. Red foods like tomatoes, provide another. Green vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage, and blue or purple foods, like blueberries and aubergine, each have their own antioxidant packages. Throw in some spices (the most abundant source) and you’ve got an antioxidant super-party.

2. Free Radical fighting skincare

Just as foods can help aid the body fight free radical damage, your skincare is another vital way of injecting skin with antioxidants and also protecting it against the environment. When it comes to your skin, there are a few ways you can absorb your antioxidants. The most obvious way is to simply slather ’em on your skin.

The three main antioxidants touted for their benefits in skincare are Vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A when applied topically has been scrutinized lately for it’s possible toxicity & Vitamin C applied topically increases sensitivity to the sun – and for those reasons we do not use Vitamins A & C in our skincare.

Research has shown skin does better with a cocktail of effective antioxidants than just one. In our skincare range, we didn’t just stop at Vitamin E & called it a day. Along with a healthy shot of vitamin E, we also added a dollop of Ferulic Acid, a powerful anti-oxidant in its own right, it also works synergistically with vitamin E, to boost each other’s capability.

And that’s not all. As plants have evolved over millions of years to ward off predators, provide a defence against microbial attacks and protect against sunlight damage, plants have developed thousands of different compounds such as polyphenols, flavonoids, isoflavones, anthocyanins and many more. Just like a healthy diet, the more potent, mixture of antioxidants you use the healthier your skin will be. That’s why we use dozens of minimally processed raw ingredients from around the world in our skincare range.

Don’t Look for a Miracle

There isn’t one single miracle, exotic antioxidant with a great story (seaweed from the coast of Norway or some rare flower from the Amazon) that works the best for your skin. Instead, there are hundreds if not thousands of effective antioxidants for skin, ranging from familiar ones, to names you may not be familiar.

What counts is that the product you use contains a variety of these—and the more the better. Research has shown skin does better with a cocktail of effective antioxidants than just one. Tackle excess free radicals from the inside & out and you can make a real difference to skin health as well as the health of the rest of your body, for skin health that lasts day after day.

Your skin is your largest organ, so it is important to take care of it. Antioxidants protect skin by countering free radicals, which damage skin cells. Antioxidants in skin care products can do a lot for the health and appearance of your skin, including reducing the signs of aging. From calming inflamed skin to tightening and toning, antioxidants offer great benefits for your skin.

The science in skincare is our ongoing series helping consumers better understand the science in skincare. We translate the science into a format that is much easier to read, bust the myths and give you a clear, transparent and honest assessment so you can make an informed choice of what goes onto your skin.

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