What are “free radicals” and how do antioxidants help with their damage, especially when it comes to our skin?
When I first started to research skin care products about 4 years ago, I started to hear about free radicals being the main cause contributing to aging and age-related conditions. Almost in the same breath, I also heard that antioxidants could neutralize this damage through supplementation and correct food choices as well as topically with nourishing skin care products. Sun damaged skin, older skin, dry skin, skin that’s been damaged from pollution and bad diets.. all of the damage from these conditions and more could be diminished, corrected back to health and prevented to a great degree with antioxidants. I was on a quest. I had very sun damaged, age spotted skin that had improved greatly with my facial exercising but I was nearing 60 at the time. Was their hope for further improving my skin?
What is a free radical?
First of all, I wanted to understand what and how a free radical “reacted” in the body and in the skin. All cells produce free radicals. A free radical is any atom or molecule that is missing an electron in its outer shell. This free radical will attack and destroy other necessarily healthy atoms to get the electron it’s missing. These free radicals can accumulate and cause oxidative damage. This oxidative damage causes biological organisms to age. In other words, free radicals turn the oils of our skin rancid which in turn damages the collagen in the skin. Collagen is the protein in fibers that serve as the building blocks of our skin. In fact, free radicals have even been associated with skin cancer and premature skin-aging due to sun exposure (which speeds up this free radical damage).
What are antioxidants and how can they help?
Antioxidants are a group of beneficial nutrients – vitamins, minerals and enzymes. An antioxidant is a molecule capable of slowing or preventing the oxidation of other molecules. They help to remove the free radicals and their damage from these cells. That is, they slow down and can even stop this oxidative damage that causes the skin to age. Antioxidants are reducing agents. Meaning antioxidants reduce the damaging oxidative process in cells, including skin cells.
Since antioxidants block the process of oxidation by neutralizing free radicals, the antioxidants themselves become oxidized. That is why there is a constant need to replenish our antioxidant supply. There are two ways antioxidants are classified to work at defusing free radicals:
- One is called “chain-breaking”: When a free radical releases or steals an electron, a second radical is formed. This molecule then turns around and does the same thing to a third molecule, continuing to generate more instability. This process continues until an ending occurs — either the free radical is stabilized by a chain-breaking antioxidant such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, or it simply decays into a harmless product.
- Prevention is another way antioxidants can work: Antioxidant enzymes prevent oxidation by reducing the rate of the chain initiation. That is, by neutralizing the initiating radicals, such antioxidants can prevent an oxidation chain from ever setting in motion.
How Does this Work in Skin Care Products
Free radical damage can be controlled and prevented by applying skin care products with antioxidants directly onto the skin. Topical products containing antioxidants in effect, defend the skin, help in reducing scars and promote healing. In other words, antioxidants assist in protecting and promoting the building blocks of collagen. Since the antioxidants are destroyed or oxidized in the process, you have to continue to feed the body and skin with fresh antioxidants to keep up with the free-radical damage.
Carolyn’s Facial Formulas™ skin care line is packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and the latest technology for giving you the healthiest and most radiant skin possible. Our serums are super packed with beneficial, nutrient-rich antioxidants and vitamins. They tend to target the lower layers of skin with these valuable ingredients that heal and regenerate cells. Serums go a step further than crèmes, and a step further still than lotions in overall richness and nutrients. A serum is a great choice for getting added nutrients deep into the skin; its molecule size is much smaller than a lotion or regular moisturizer.
Our crèmes target the top layers of the skin and are usually considered moisturizing and protective. Furthermore we know that skin care products are most effective when they are fresh, so we use airless bottles that create a vacuum that protect the product from air exposure oxidation. The super concentrated serums are light sensitive and are in protective heavy blue glass bottles.
I was able to not only reduce my age/sun spots to almost nothing, I have been able to regain younger, firmer more radiant-looking skin with this skin care line. I’ve worked out a schedule to follow that allows anyone to reduce age spots to almost nothing while improving the texture and condition of the skin – and doing all of this in the shortest amount of time using the least amount of product. Why are these skin care products so effective? CFFormulas™ has the freshest antioxidants, and the latest technology in its ingredient base. Read more about that here …