If you own a TV or read magazines, you've most likely heard how antioxidants protect us from Free Radicals. You've heard of superfoods, "high in antioxidants" and skincare lines promoting their magical powers. You've come to the understanding that Antioxidants are good and Free Radicals are bad, but why? What do these terms mean to our bodies and our skin?
Free Radicals are molecules with an unpaired electron in search of another electron to stabilize itself. Roaming freely in our bodies, these unpaired molecules will destroy every healthy cell in its path including skin cells, collagen and ellastin. Free Radicals destroy our healthy cells in a process called oxidation. After one cell is damaged, that cell will release its own free radicals, continuing the effects of oxidation to surrounding cells in a domino effect. You can compare this oxidation process to that of an avocado or an apple that's been cut open. It's the same idea.
Free radicals can be caused by a number of things including poor diet, stress, injury, environmental pollutants, sun damage, smoking, drinking, and drugs. The natural process of aging also causes free radicals to multiply.
On top of being responsible for the aging process, an over abundance of free radicals can cause a number of diseases including Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Arthritis, just to name a few.
Antioxidants are the only way to keep these Free Radicals from causing damage. Antioxidants work by stabilizing Free Radicals and therefore neutralizing their damaging effects, such as disease and the general aging process. Antioxidants can even reverse cell damage.
Antioxidants have been the real star ingredients to many of the popular skincare lines out there but in conjunction to using the power of antioxidants topically, I highly suggest harnessing their powers through all the wonderful whole foods in which they are already prevalent, such as dark unprocessed chocolate, green tea, red wine, dark leafy greens, fruit (especially berries), nuts, and beans.
A List of Antioxidants:
- Acetyl L Carnitine
- Alpha Lipoic Acid
- Co Enzyme Q-10
- N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
- Vitamins B, C, & E