Health talk: Free radicals and antioxidants

There are plenty of harmful substances that can age your skin. One of the primary age provoking elements is free radicals.

So what are free radicals? Free radicals are highly unstable atoms that are a result of an oxygen atom losing an electron. In an attempt to regain stability, the free radical will seek to steal electrons in order to stabilize themselves.

Simply put, free radicals are the unwanted waste or pollution of the body that can cause it to age. Many say that free radicals are the number one cause of age which is why you should understand how they form and how to decrease the number of free radicals in our bodies.

What causes free radicals to form?

Many factors can cause these unstable atoms to form. Internal and external factors can form free radicals. Let’s discuss the internal factors first.Free radicals and anti oxidants

Internal factors

Internally the body creates free radicals from metabolic reactions. Metabolic reactions are chemical reactions that are used to produce energy inside of your cells. Whenever you inhale and use oxygen for your body, not all of the oxygen molecules are used. The remaining molecules lose their electrons and become free radicals.

This reaction is completely normal and part of everyday human life. These responses are not something that you can prevent, but the free radicals can be reduced which we will talk about later.

External Factors

The external factors are much different from internal factors for they can be avoided if you take precaution. Some of them include…

Unhealthy diets

All food can create free radicals when they are digested, but unhealthy foods can create a much greater amount. Eating unhealthy foods including greasy, fatty, and simple carbohydrates can produce plenty of free radicals during digestion.

When foods are fried at a high temperature, their molecules can become unstable resulting in free radical production. As free radicals try to gain back electrons, they can set off a chain reaction, which is why you want to avoid these foods as much as possible.

UV rays

The sun is one of the top leading causes of aged skin. This is because the sun produces UV rays that are harmful to the skin.

When the skin cells are damaged, free radicals can begin to form. This can all be prevented by wearing high SPF sunscreen.


Pesticides in food can also create more free radicals. A great way to avoid this is to eat more organic foods.

Air pollution

Breathing in air pollution can also bring about more free radicals in your body. This one is hard to avoid especially if you live in the city.

Cigarette smoke

Smoking cigarettes can cause a rise in metabolic reactions in the body. They can even cause harm from second-hand smoke. Try your best to avoid smoking or being around other smokers.


This is another huge factor in the causes of aging skin. Stress causes the hormone cortisol to be released. Consistently high levels of cortisol can lead to free radical creation.

Ultimately, uncontrolled stress can result in a loss of collagen fibers and elastin which may lead to wrinkled skin and less skin cell production.

What are the dangers of free radicals?

Free radicals can cause great harm to your cells. As they fight to gain back their electrons, they can be doing damage to the cells DNA, membrane, and repair mechanisms.

Unfortunately, the formation of one free radical can lead to a chain reaction of free radicals. Once one free radical has gained back its electrons, the next one looks for another electron as well.

The process can spiral out of control and can be closely compared to the idea of a tiny zombie apocalypse in your body. Luckily your body does have its ways of fighting against this chain reaction, but it becomes less efficient as you age.

What is the free radical theory of aging?

The free radical theory of aging is a theory that claims aging is caused by the decrease of antioxidants and increase of free radicals. It states that as we age, free radicals are increased resulting in oxidative damage and mutations in the body. These mutations include cancerous cells and accelerated aging.

Simply put, the theory claims that an increase in free radicals over time causes a shorter lifespan. However this is just a theory, but it does have some scientific truth to it. Many scientists believe that this can be very close to the truth and others say it is not exactly right.

Whether or not it is true, scientists can clearly note that free radicals do cause harm to the body. An excellent way to eliminate a number of free radicals in the body is to take advantage of antioxidants which can safely replenish these starving molecules.

How Antioxidants deplete many free radicals

Antioxidants work great to fight against free radicals and their damaging ways. Antioxidants replenish the free radical by providing it the electron that it is looking for.

An easy way to think of this is to resort back to the zombie apocalypse reference. Antioxidants can be looked at as the CDC finding a cure to bring the zombies back to life.

This can save your cells from being damaged by these free radicals. Antioxidants work great in skin products. They allow the skin’s renewal process to continue and collagen production to flourish.

Examples of antioxidants.

Knowing how you can obtain a healthy amount of antioxidants can be an excellent way to protect your skin. Topical creams can be a perfect way get a healthy dose of antioxidants. Some antioxidants to look for include…

  • Vitamen E
  • Vitamin C
  • Beta-carotene
  • Coenzyme Q10
  • Retinoids

You can also add plenty of antioxidants into your body by eating the following foods…

  • Berries
  • Nuts
  • Carrots
  • Dark chocolate
  • Fish
  • Kelp
  • Kiwi
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach

Keeping up with free radicals can help you fight against your aging body and skin. This website can also help you tremendously in the fight against aging skin so feel free to check out some of the other informative articles.

There are also plenty of great products that are genuinely reviewed on this page to ensure you find a topical anti aging cream that is right for you and your skin.