Free radicals , also known as reactive oxygen species (ROS), are unstable oxygen molecules with one or more unpaired electrons. Its objective is to explore the body to steal the missing electron or electrons from other molecules and thus regain stability. As a consequence, the attacked molecules become free radicals and, in this way, a chain reaction begins , which ends up generating cell damage.
Free radicals are part of the normal physiological process. They are responsible, among other things, for the elimination of infectious agents or the creation of different hormones necessary for life. To control its effects, the body naturally produces antioxidants capable of neutralizing them. However, when the production of free radicals exceeds the body's ability to produce antioxidants, a process known as oxidative stress occurs.
In the case of the skin, said oxidative stress favors a cascade of inflammatory reactions that effect cellular functions. Among the damaged cells are fibroblasts, responsible for the formation of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, which give the skin a firm and healthy appearance. But what factors cause these imbalances?
Free radicals and pollution
Pollution is highly damaging to the skin as it contains a multitude of aggressive agents. For example, the union of heavy metal particles that float in the air, coming from the combustion in industries, boilers and internal combustion engines, with sunlight produces ozone. This highly oxidizing gas generates free radicals, as do other elements, such as tobacco smoke.
Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules, with one or more unpaired electrons, and highly reactive.
Also, digital pollution , although less known by most, is detrimental to skin health. Visible light, coming from LED bulbs or the screens of electronic devices such as tablets, televisions, computers and smartphones, also penetrates the skin causing oxidative stress.
Exposure to these pollutants and the consequent appearance of free radicals , has harmful effects on skin as the degradation of collagen and elastin and hyperpigmentation. In addition, pollution causes damage to the extracellular matrix, that is, the structure that surrounds and supports the cells found in the tissues, so the skin loses hydration and firmness. Consequently, skin aging is accelerated and the appearance of spots, wrinkles, etc.
Free radicals and nutrition
An unhealthy diet can affect the production of free radicals in the body. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid highly processed foods, fried foods, alcohol and any food high in saturated fat . Instead, it is necessary to promote the consumption of foods with high antioxidant power such as oranges, broccoli, spinach, nuts, sardines or salmon, among others.
Free radicals and sun
Exposure to solar radiation without adequate protection can cause immediate and visible damage such as sunburn, but it can also generate free radicals that, in the long term, result in an alteration of the DNA structure, and can even cause skin cancer.
Solar radiation, responsible for the sensation of heat, stimulates the formation of free radicals.
The advanced photoprotection is key to preventing the negative effects of oxidative stress that causes solar action, such as DNA damage, aging skin or photocarcinogenicity
- Use an advanced sunscreen, formulated with repairing and antioxidant active ingredients that, in addition to protecting from the four solar radiation, neutralizes free radicals and repairs sun damage.
- Choose products suitable for each skin type that offer broad spectrum protection and with a high SPF, starting at 50.
- Apply the product generously all over the body, without forgetting the least exposed areas and repeat the application as many times as necessary.
- Use oral photoprotection as a complement to the topical. The photoprotective capsules are suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive. Its consumption guarantees a reinforcement to prevent oxidative damage produced by solar action.
- It must be remembered that the harmful action of the sun does not occur only in summer. Therefore, it is advisable to take photoprotection every day of the year, even in winter or when it is cloudy.