When it comes to our skin it's essential to understand the role free radicals play ... but what are they? Put simply, these are the unstable molecules that damage our cells and contribute to premature ageing. However, adopting effective skincare strategies can help combat their harmful effects.
Understanding Free Radicals:
Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that form when we are exposed to environmental factors such as pollution, UV radiation and toxins. These molecules lack an electron, making them unstable, so they seek to stabilise themselves by "stealing" electrons from other molecules in the body. This process, called oxidative stress, causes damage to DNA, proteins and lipids, and it's this process that leads to premature ageing, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
Skincare Tips to Combat Free Radicals:
Antioxidant-Rich Diet: Eat a diet rich in vitamins A, C, E and various phytochemicals found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Include berries, citrus fruits, leafy greens, nuts and seeds into your meals each day to provide your body with a wide range of protective antioxidants.
Apply Topical Antioxidants: Using skincare products that contain antioxidants can provide added protection. Look for products that include ingredients like vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea extract, resveratrol or coenzyme Q10. These promote collagen production and improve overall skin health.
Wear Sunscreen Daily: One of the primary sources of free radicals is UV radiation from the sun so apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF every day, even during cloudy weather. This forms a barrier that shields from harmful UV rays, reducing the formation of free radicals and preventing sun damage.
Ditch The Cigarettes: Smoking not only exposes the skin to harmful chemicals but also restricts blood flow. This leads to a decrease in essential nutrients and oxygen supply.
Consistent Skincare Routine: Morning and night cleanse gently with a mild, non-stripping cleanser to remove daily impurities without causing irritation. Follow with a moisturiser that contains ingredients like hyaluronic acid, ceramides or peptides to replenish and hydrate the skin, reinforcing its natural protective barrier.
Sleep and Stress Management: Quality sleep allows the skin to repair and regenerate, while chronic stress can lead to increased oxidative stress. Find time each day for stress-reducing activities such as meditation, exercise or yoga; and aim for 7-8 hours shut-eye each night.
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