I am sure many of you heard about free radicals, especially when buying anti-aging skincare. You often hear: a product contains antioxidants that help to fight free radicals.
But what are free radicals and why are we fighting them?
A free radical is any atom or molecule that has a single unpaired electron in an outer shell. It is produced when your body breaks down food or is exposed to radiation or tobacco smoke. Free radicals can cause significant damage to living cells and tissues. They play a big role in aging and are linked to various diseases.
Free Radical Theory of Aging states that organisms age because cells accumulate free radical damage over time and we lose the ability to fight them. As a result more free radicals, more damage to cells which leads to aging.
Certain lifestyle factors like smoking, alcohol, fried foods, air pollution, radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals can accelerate the production of free radicals.
How do we fight free radical damage?
Antioxidants are compounds that prevent or lessen the effects of free radicals. Therefore, using skincare products and eating foods rich in antioxidants help to neutralize free radicals thereby stopping them from causing cellular damage.
Antioxidants are found in a variety of plants in the form of vitamins A, C and E, selenium, flavonoids and carotenoids.