The Effect Of Free Radicals On Your Skin
For those who haven't heard about what free-radicals are yet - read and weep. Free-radicals are bad news to our health and looks. They are linked to the beginnings of cancer, illness and aging. Scientists are now focusing their efforts on understanding how free-radicals work, and what effects they have on the body. So, all you folks wishing to know how free radicals affect the skin, take note, they are beyond doubt harmful. They diminish your skin's structural support and decrease its elasticity, resilience, and suppleness.
Free-radicals are often tagged as the culprit in the case of wrinkles, liver spots and poor skin condition. Damage due to free-radicals isn't something that is easily explained, as it happens on an atomic level. When oxygen molecules are involved in chemical reactions, they usually lose one of their electrons. In turn these molecules, which are now called free-radicals, will take electrons from nearby molecules.
This will set off the chain reaction known as free-radical damage. Almost any chemical or gas containing oxygen, can cause free radical damage. To name a few: carbon monoxide, hydrogen peroxide, exhaust fumes.
If you brown your food, you should be aware that this is a common source of free radical damage that you could easily reduce. It's best to steam cook food whenever practical. Frying can damage otherwise healthy oils. Small servings of olive oil and butter are less liable to oxidate. Too much sunlight should be avoided.
A sensible preventive measure is to use a good quality sun-block product whenever you're outside, even if the sun doesn't seem particularly strong. What other ways do free-radicals damage the skin? Radiation Radiation may cause the build up of free-radicals. Free radicals in the body may be increased with over-exposure to X-rays and gamma rays. Cigarette Smoking Smoking, aside from being a health hazard to the lungs, has been known to cause dry, unhealthy skin, and pale, unhealthy complexion. Cigarettes are known to promote free-radicals in the body, worsening the adverse effects tobacco brings. Even if you are not a smoker, being in a smoky atmosphere still exposes you to increased free radical damage.
Stop, think for a moment, about the harmful effect your smoking has on others, particularly children. Inorganic Particles There are also other substances that cause free-radical damage. Among these substances are asbestos, quartz, silica. Gases Although ozone is not a free-radical, it is a very powerful oxidizing agent. The two unpaired electrons in ozone, are liable to degrade under certain circumstances.
This suggests that free-radicals can be formed when this decomposition happens. It sounds a gloomy picture, and of course you're wondering, don't we all need oxygen to live? Yes, we do. Thankfully, antioxidants offer some protection! Antioxidants Antioxidants help prevent free-radical damage by preventing the free-radical molecules from interacting with other molecules, therefore stunting the chain reaction of the process. Other ingredients are vitamins A, C and E; flavonoids; superoxide dismutase; beta carotene; selenium; glutathione; and zinc. It is reassuring to know that these antioxidants are abundant in both the human body, and plant world. So how do free radicals affect your skin? Research is beginning to establish that wrinkles and other age related skin factors are directly linked to free-radical damage, the effect of which is not wholly controlled by antioxidants.
If you do not obtain enough antioxidants from your diet and other sources, your skin cells could break down and lose their ability to function well. Some scientists think that antioxidants are the answer to halting, delaying and possibly even reversing free-radical damage, and that increased presence of antioxidants in the body will play a part in slowing down free-radical damage. To increase antioxidants in your body the most obvious solution is to increase your intake of antioxidants from dietary sources (fruit - particularly colored berries, and green vegetables). Another answer is to regularly use a reputable antioxidant supplement. A good selection is always close at hand.
A lesser known solution - best practiced alongside good diet and supplementation - is to use topical applications of products containing antioxidant compounds to increase your defense against free-radical damage. For consumers worried about free radical damage, most beauty products currently specify an antioxidant formula. Some are better than others, depending on the quantity and quality of the active ingredients. Obviously you need to be patient since it isn't practical to expect results immediately. It is however, still a good idea to apply skin products containing antioxidants as the benefits of these compounds are well-known.
My recommendation is to apply an anti-oxidant compound, to the skin, and leave this on overnight, which will avoid conflict with sun screen products or make-up. A warm shower or bath will open the pores of the skin, and increase the rate of absorption. Although science has yet to put the finishing touches on the studies regarding free-radicals, there is enough evidence to suggest that antioxidants can benefit the body. An increase in your personal intake of antioxidants will not produce an instant and visible difference in your skin condition.
However, it will diminish the damage caused by free-radicals, and may even reverse them.
Joy Healey qualified as a nutritionist in 2000, at the prestigious Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London. Learn more about skin care and download a free ebook at: http://www.nutrition4all.co.uk/skin.html
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