When it comes to skin, we need to go back to basics to think on a minuscule
level because everything we touch and do manifests itself on a macro level
Oxidative stress – it’s like the villain lurking in the shadows.
You rarely hear about it, but it can wreak havoc on your skin.
As estheticians, we’ve seen the real-life effects of this silent menace on the skin, and it’s no joke.
And even more concerning is that oxidative stress isn’t just about wrinkles and fine lines.
It’s linked to some of the most dreaded degenerative diseases, like cancer, dementia, and arthritis.
So join us as we travel under the skin to understand how to deal with these troublesome molecules.
Free radicals and Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is one of the primary contributors to ageing.
Oxidative stress starts with molecules referred to as free radicals, and these free radicals start with oxygen – the stuff of life.
But here’s the twist: Oxygen can also be a bit of a troublemaker. We are exposed to free radicals every day, and they can pop up from various sources – the sun, pollution, smoking, poor diet, stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol, and even some medications.
When these free radicals lose an electron, they get a little crazy, stealing electrons from healthy cells to stabilise themselves. This leads to healthy cells becoming damaged and looking for their fix, creating a never-ending cycle of cellular chaos.
Now, imagine this happening to your skin and body day in and day out. It’s like a relentless tornado causing havoc internally and externally.
Oxidative Stress and Ageing
And here’s the kicker: oxidative stress is the culprit behind premature ageing; like a silent saboteur, it can cause fine lines, wrinkles and textural changes.
In this study (1), two savvy physicians who’ve delved deep into anti-ageing treatments and free-radical biochemistry came up with the following conclusions about oxidative stress.
“The field of free radical biochemistry is as revolutionary and profound in its implications for medicine, as was the germ theory and science of microbiology, which led to the development of effective treatments for infectious disease”.
Translation? Oxidative stress and free radicals are like the unsung heroes (or villains) in the story of degeneration and disease.
So how do You Stop This?
You have to limit your free radical exposure—some are within your control, like UV and lifestyle like smoking, while others, like air pollution, are not so much.
Oh, and this is where gorgeous antioxidants come to the rescue. These molecules help stabilise free radicals by donating an electron, as this research found (2).
Antioxidants don’t turn into free radicals after giving away an electron; they also make free radicals harmless by breaking them down. They are the superheroes that put free radicals in their place.
So, ideally, you want to saturate your skin and body in antioxidants that protect your inner and outer skin from harmful free radicals while providing protection from the sun and aiding in cellular repair.
We love antioxidants and their superpowers so much that we dedicated a whole article to them, which you can read here.
To conclude. The naked truth
So, as you can see, free radicals are by-products of cellular metabolism and are formed by exposure to external sources like air pollution, cigarette smoke and pesticides, UV, etc.
y steal electrons from your robust, healthy cells to stabilise themselves, causing them to become disorganised and aggressive.
The molecule then becomes a free radical, and the chain reaction continues. And some of the mutant rogue cells even turn in on themselves, which is when things really begin to go haywire.
When too many free radicals exist, they attack your body, causing inflammation and breaking down your DNA. It’s as though your body’s immune system turns against itself, and when this gets out of control, it leads to oxidative stress.
We want to empower you to protect your skin from damaging oxidative stress and free radicals by helping you to make meaningful changes – so adopt sensible lifestyle practices and prioritise self-care for your skin and overall health.
The next time you’re tempted to overlook oxidative stress, remember that even the tiniest things, like atoms, have a considerable impact on your body and skin.
And the best way to neutralise them is to introduce potent antioxidants into your daily routine and diet.
So, folks, we think you’ll agree it’s time to take charge, educate yourself, and embrace a routine that keeps your skin glowing; after all, it is the little things that count.
1: The Free Radical Theory of Aging Is Dead. Long Live the Damage Theory.
2.: Free Radicals, Antioxidants in Disease and Health