Is Your Skin Older Than You? Free Radical Damage From Air Pollution May Be The Underlying Cause.

Is Your Skin Older Than You? Free Radical Damage From Air Pollution May Be The Underlying Cause.

woman with air pollution mask on city street

Free radicals may sound like the name of rock band or improv theater troupe, but they’re actually highly unstable and potentially damaging molecules that are generated naturally by the body as byproducts of chemical processes, like as metabolism. They’re also present in high concentrations in air pollution. Some even come from exposure to sunlight. Once they form, free radicals can start a chain of reactions with our bodies’ cells causing the cells to function poorly or die. Today’s post focuses on how free radicals in ambient air pollution can accelerate your skin’s aging process and how you can defend your skin against free radical damage.

Oxygen can be stable, with two electrons in its orbit, or, if it has only one electron (as free radicals do) it’s on fire trying to steal an electron from another molecule in order to be stable. An unstable oxygen molecule races around like a toddler with scissors causing destruction to anything in its path until it runs out of energy. In their search for an electron to steal from another molecule, free radical will interact with almost anything they encounter including proteins and DNA in human skin cells.

This process of scavenging activates chain reactions as molecules snatch and donate electrons thereby damaging once-healthy skin cells. As a result, the skin cells lose their ability to divide in order to grow and repair themselves. When the levels of free radicals overwhelm the body’s natural defenses against them, it causes oxidative stress which leads to the same sort of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots that are the result of too much sun exposure.

Fortunately our bodies are not without their own defenses against free radical damage. Our bodies produce antioxidants which protect our cells from attack by free radicals. Antioxidants act like superhero nutrients in the body by neutralizing the toxic free radical molecules because they can donate an electron where needed to stabilize the free radicals.

antioxidant rich blueberries and raspberries - berries

Some vitamins are antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E. Some minerals are antioxidants, such as selenium and manganese, and there are also plant compounds that act as antioxidants such as beta carotene and lycopene.

We can boost our natural levels of based on the foods we eat and the skin care products we use. Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help increase blood antioxidant levels to fight oxidative stress and reduce the risk of these diseases. Foods such as blueberries, strawberries, green tea and kale have high levels of vitamins A, C and E which provide antioxidants offering up electrons to satisfy free radicals’ needs. The best way to get a variety of antioxidants in the diet is to eat foods that represent all the colors of the rainbow. Each color provides its own unique antioxidant effects.

We recommend further supporting your skins’ fight against free radicals and oxidative stress by protecting it with a vitamin rich serum like our new Nutrify Ozone Defense Serum. Ozone Defense is infused with vitamin B5 and hyaluronic acid to help bind moisture to the skin to lock out airborne pollutants, and vitamins B3 and C help fight oxidative damage. It also contains vitamin C, a potent antioxidant, which has been shown to help reduce skin inflammation, irregular pigmentation, and promote healthy collagen production.


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