Understanding Free Radicals: Facts & Effects

Free Radicals: what are they?

Everything in the Universe is made up of molecules. Molecules are made up of atoms and atoms are made of pairs of electrons. But when an atom loses an electron when they react in order to gain stability, scavengers also known as free radicals steal an electron from another atom in the skin or body, causing damage to that cell’s DNA. This 'theft’ is carried out via a process called oxidation. Oxidative stress or free radical activity as its otherwise known causes inflammation which causes premature or accelerated ageing. 

Causes of free radical activity

Extrinsic (influences from outside the body) and Intrinsic (influences from inside the body) factors cause this harmful activity. We have control over many of the intrinsic but less control if none from the extrinsic. 

Factors that influence our skin

  • UV Radiation - hence why safe sun protection is required
  • Pollution
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Processed foods
  • Lack of sleep
  • Poor choices in skincare that cause inflammation or impair skin barrier function
  • Stress
  • Drugs and some medications
  • Pesticides
  • Our natural metabolic processes and immune responses
  • Genetics, Gravity and Age

Oxidative stress in the skin may appear as:

  • Saggy skin – a result of damaged elastin fibres
  • Wrinkles – a result of the breakdown of collagen
  • Brown spots or pigmentation – a result of increased melanin production or melanocyte damage 

The damage from oxidative stress, however, is not exclusive to the skin. It affects all tissues of the body and can lead to poor health, cell death and disease. The implications of sustained exposure to our long-term wellbeing are why a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet and healthy lifestyle is so important. The younger we start nourishing our bodies well, instead of stressing them, the better our quality of life.

Our health

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to avoid all oxidative stress today, but we can take action to reduce it. In terms of our health and wellbeing, we should reduce our toxin load (processed food, sugar, alcohol, stress etc.) and eat plenty of colourful fruit and vegetables. Antioxidants in natural foods help boost our capability to fight dis-ease. We should also be proactive in reducing our daily stress levels and maintaining our physical fitness. Consider it an investment into your long-term mental health, physical health and overall quality of life.

Estime & Sens Cosmeceutical Range

Our skin health

In terms of our skins, we can opt for healthy skincare with natural, antioxidant rich ingredients such as Estime & Sens Multi Vitamin and Hyaluronic Acid Hydra Radiance Bi Phase Serum and the Sublime Youth Elixir. Estime & Sense have also created a specific anti-pollution serum to tackle city living head on. Take a look at the Cosmeceutical Vital Protection Serum.

Sun Protection

MIDI 12, also a French healthy skincare brand, has created the cleanest sun protection we've ever seen. The brand's SPF30 and SPF50 has been ranked top on YUKA - the food and cosmetic scanner app with over 40 million users.

With Jojoba, Sea Buckthorn and Raspberry Seed and new generation safe filters the range protects your skin, your health and protects sea life. Rated 100/100 safe, MIDI 12 is different to other sun protection. Click here to learn more.