The Effects of Free Radical Damage
Some of the causes of free radicals occur when you face exposure to tobacco smoke, UV rays, radiation, and other environmental elements. In turn, your body produces quantitively more free radicals than normal metabolic functions produce.When an abundance of free radicals is roaming around in your body, the balance between free radicals and antioxidants is skewed and it is no longer regulated effectively. This causes oxidative stress to occur.1
So, how does this imbalance become a problem? Free radical molecules negatively affect your DNA, proteins, lipids, and can even lead to disease.2 On your skin, in particular, tremendous damage occurs, which is the scientific explanation of aging skin.1
What are Antioxidants?
One of the best defenses against free radicals and oxidative stress are antioxidants. These naturally-produced substances protect your skin from their damaging effects and several studies have shown that antioxidants also help improve elasticity and reduce wrinkles.1,4
Types of Antioxidants
Since synthetic antioxidants can often cause more harm than good, increasingly there is great interest in finding nontoxic, natural antioxidant compounds.2 This we postulate constitutes nontoxic healing.
Astaxanthin is one of the hottest antioxidants being researched. Commonly found in marine animals, it is said to have 200x more antioxidant properties than Beta-carotene and is more effective than Vitamins C or E. This is how fish protect against the damaging effects of the sun's rays. Studies have also shown its ability to reduce UV-induced skin damage.1
Other powerful antioxidants include Carotenoids and Ferulic acid. These protect against oxidative and free radical damage while also offering a wide range of anti-aging benefits and effects.
Alas, with the potential to quester several oxygen radicals and rid the body of their deleterious effects, Vitamin C is one of my favorite antioxidants in both oral and topical forms. Its regenerative properties have been shown to be a key to maintaining a youthful glow while also boosting collagen production.3
Antioxidants are one of my first recommendations for patients looking to improve their skin’s appearance and protect against free radical damage. No matter which specific type you prefer, nontoxic antioxidants are one of the best natural defenses we have against signs of aging. If you haven't already begun using topical antioxidants as part of your skincare regime, I highly suggest that you start now.
Stay tuned for our next newsletter, coming out later this month, as we continue our two-part article about topical antioxidants for skin.