Protect Your Skin From Invading Free Radicals

January 21, 2013

It’s funny how words and expressions creep into our lexicon but sometimes we’re not really even sure what they mean.  Maybe that’s the case with “Free Radicals.”

A free radical is an atom with at least one unpaired electron.  Because it’s unpaired, it’s unstable and also highly charged, and it’s looking for another electron to make it stable.  To accomplish this, it steals an electron from another atom, which in turn, becomes another unstable free radical.  And so begins a chain of events that would, apparently, continue without end. I hope we haven’t lost you yet!

Our skin retains its youthful nature primarily with collagen.  These collagen cells provide strength and elasticity.  However, free radicals, as they continue to steal electrons, destroy the collagen cell structure in our skin resulting in aging and wrinkles.  As free radicals attack active collagen strands, they corrupt those cell structures and cause the skin to wrinkle and sag.

To some degree, free radicals are inescapable.  They are created every time we oxidize food to create energy.  However, they also occur involuntarily through excessive sun exposure, smoking, environmental pollutants, stress and obesity.  We must eat to live, but these other factors are controllable.  So what’s a good defense?

These highly charged oxygen molecules – free radicals – can be neutralized by the introduction of chemicals which donate the missing electrons and thereby short-circuit their need to steal electrons.  These chemicals are called antioxidants.  Antioxidants provide the missing electron that the free radical seeks and in doing so prevent damage that would occur otherwise.  By protecting strands of healthy collagen cells, the aging process can be slowed and youthful-looking skin tone preserved.  Common antioxidants are Vitamins A, C, E and Beta Carotene which come in topical serums to apply directly to the skin’s surface.

All antioxidants are not created equally, look for products that are sold in medical spas or doctor’s offices to get quality topical vitamin serums. Dr. Ness, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon at Omni Cosmetic, has personally chosen products that are effective, safe, and comfortable for your skin. Don’t fuss about free radicals – there are easy measures you can take to preserve your healthy skin!