We hear about free radicals and anti-oxidants all the time in relation to our skin and ageing but what’s it all about?
Let me explain. ROS (reactive oxygen species) are oxygen molecules generated by sun or pollutants. Within our bodies oxygen can be a very reactive molecule and will take electrons from nearby molecules. This will set off a chain reaction that is generally called free-radical damage. Within the skin this free radical damage can attack stable skin cells causing issues with collagen and elastin and reducing your skins immune response. Free-radicals can deteriorate the skin’s structural support and decrease the elasticity. They play a role in everything we worry about in relation to our skin and ageing such as wrinkles, lack of tone and volume loss.
Our skin is exposed to potential free radical forming substances on a daily basis. Contributing factors can be diet, lifestyle, alcohol, stress and uv light. These are all capable of inducing free radical generation as well as ROS. Oxidative stress refers to an imbalance between ROS formation and the cells antioxidant ability to defend itself. Severe oxidative stress can cause cell damage and mutations.
The only effective protection the skin has to fight back is what you feed it both topically and internally. Anti-oxidants arm the body with vital defences to protect us. You provide these through your diet and product use hence the focus on five a day and anti-oxidants in skincare.
What can we do?
• Your diet plays a vital role in your skin protecting itself. Eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible using the five a day guideline as your minimum daily intake.
• Reduce the intake of burnt or overly processed foods
• Exercise helps detox skin and remove waste products. Aim to exercise at least three times per week.
• Use an anti-oxidant serum every day under a broad spectrum sunscreen.
• Choose anti-oxidant ingredients such as Vitamin A, C & E in your skin care for optimum protection
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