You’d be hard pressed to find a skin care brand that doesn’t refer to the terms ‘Free radicals’ or ‘oxidative stress’ when insisting that their new topical skin treatment will work miracles and have you looking 10 years younger. But what do these terms actually mean? And are topical treatments really the way to prevent the damage they cause?
Oxygen is an essential, life sustaining element. Cells transport oxygen around the body, delivering it to muscles and organs through the blood stream. These cells also use oxygen to convert nutrients from our food into a form of energy the body can utilise, this is call cellular metabolism. Free radicals are a natural by product of cellular metabolism. Your body may also naturally produce them as part of immune system functioning. However, extrinsic factors are also common causes for the creation of free radicals within the body. Pollution, smoking, alcohol, stress, inflammation, ageing, illness and a variety of other environmental factors can be a source of free radicals.
Oxidative stress is the result of an abundance of free radicals around the body. Free radicals roam the body and damage cell components and connective tissue, including DNA, contributing to several degenerative conditions such as, arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease and more. As Free radicals damage cells and connective tissue they can be attributed to ageing and a decline in total health and wellness.
Though you can never entirely rid your body of free radicals, and they are necessary in moderation, you can prevent the build up and damage caused through antioxidants. Antioxidants work within the body to stabilise free radicals, stopping them from causing any further harm. The body naturally synthesises a variety of antioxidants, but some are consumed. Many of the nutrients that comprise a healthy diet have anti-oxidative properties. It’s important to never underestimate the power of a good, balanced diet when it comes to your overall health and well-being.
Now for the big question. Can you rewind the clock on free radical damage and oxidative stress with the use of topical skincare? It’s debatable. Moisturising will always improve the appearance of your complexion, but has little physiological effects as the molecules are too large to penetrate the upper layer of the skin. Research has also shown that oftentimes the antioxidant ingredients within topical treatments expire too quickly to take effect. The simple way to ensure that you are actively preventing oxidative stress caused by damaging free radicals is to supplement a healthy diet. A beauty supplement will ensure that your body is receiving adequate doses of all the nutrients vital for optimal health and beauty and reduce the effects of harmful free radicals.