According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of aging is caused by ultraviolet (UV) ray damage. Of that 90 percent, roughly half of your UV skin damage comes from free radicals. What are free radicals? Why do they harm your skin? And what can stop them?
A free radical is an atom, or molecule, with a single unpaired electron in an outer shell. Free radicals are unstable molecules that react quickly with other compounds to gain the needed electron to become stable. Once a free radical picks up an electron, it converts that molecule into a free radical. The result can be a destructive chain reaction of cell death, skin cancer or, in this case, damaged skin.
To prevent such harm, the body uses a defense system of antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals by “donating” one of their electrons, thus reducing the free radicals’ ability to destroy skin. Antioxidants act as scavengers, helping prevent cell and tissue harm that could lead to cell damage, or worse, disease.
As we age, our defense against free radicals decreases, making antioxidants even more valuable. One of the most powerful antioxidants for our skin is vitamin C. It protects skin collagen and is needed for wound/wrinkle healing in addition to more collagen production. This vitamin is equally effective against both UVA/UVB rays, the major contributors to premature aging and wrinkles.
However, vitamin C is not alone in the fight against free radicals. For the best defense, combine vitamins C and E, resveratrol (the essential ingredient of red wine) and green tea. This mix of topical antioxidants helps firm the skin’s overall appearance, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, erase sun damage, and brighten dull skin.
Are antioxidants necessary to protect the skin? YES! Free radicals are like dominoes—once a chain reaction begins, it can be hard to stop the damage. Unless you use antioxidants daily, free radicals will win the battle of aging.
To learn more about antioxidants and products that help prevent skin damage, call Carolina Aesthetics at (864) 233-8088. Consultations are free, so call today to meet with one of our trained aestheticians to address your skincare needs.