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What are radical free and how do they affect the skin?

The impact of free radicals on the skin is significant. They are known to accelerate the aging process by damaging collagen and elastin fibers, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. They can also lead to hyperpigmentation, dark spots, dryness, redness and irritation.

There are several skincare tips that can help prevent or reduce the damage caused by free radicals on your skin. Antioxidants such as Vitamin C and E can help neutralize free radicals in your body while providing many other health benefits as well. Additionally, using sunscreen regularly is essential for protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays which contain a high concentration of free radicals.  In this article we will discuss how free radicals affect the skin and what you can do to minimize their impact on your complexion.

What are free radicals?

Free radicals are molecules that are naturally produced in the body as a result of normal metabolic processes. However, when exposed to environmental factors such as UV radiation, smoking, pollution and stress, these molecules can become highly reactive and cause damage to our skin’s collagen. This damage can manifest itself in the form of wrinkling, dark spots and lines on our skin.

Free radicals can be produced in the body naturally, but they can also be introduced from external factors, like pollution. Pollution is a huge cause for radicals to become more prevalent, that’s why the environment that surrounds you will significantly impact on the health of your skin, for instance where you live or work can increase how much pollution you face, and therefore, the increasement of danger that free radicals get into the skin.

Sources of free radicals in our environment include: 

  • Cigarette smoke. 
  • Environmental pollutants. 
  • Certain drugs and pesticides. 
  • Industrial solvents. 
  • Ozone. 
  • Ultraviolet radiation.
  • Studies show oxidative stress can also occur after an extreme intensity workout. 
  • Stress
  • UV sun rays exposure 
  • Fried food consumption

What is the impact of the free radicals on the skin?

When free radicals interact with other molecules in the body, they can cause oxidative stress which leads to cell damage and inflammation. This damage is not only visible on the surface of the skin but also affects deeper layers of the skin as well. It weakens collagen fibers and elastin which results in wrinkles and sagging of the skin. In addition, free radical damage increases sun sensitivity and contributes to hyperpigmentation, aging, skin breakouts, leading even to the appearance of cancerogenous cells.

Check out a short list of diseases that have been connected to free radical damage includes: 

  • Cancer. 
  • Autoimmune diseases. 
  • Cataracts. 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. 
  • Heart and cardiovascular disease.
  • Neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease). 
  • Aging skin (including wrinkles and sun spots).

It is important to understand the effect of free radicals on your skin in order to take steps to protect it. Fortunately, there are steps we can take to prevent this damage from occurring. Skincare products with antioxidants help protect our skin from free radical damage by neutralizing them before they can do any harm. Additionally, avoiding exposure to environmental factors where possible is key to maintaining healthy skin. With these tips in mind, we can ensure that our skin remains looking youthful and blemish-free for years to come: 

  • Using sunscreen, sun damage is a huge external factor that leads to free radicals production in the body and aging of the skin. 
  • Limiting alcohol intake and smoking, not only are high in calories but also can produce free radicals in the body. Try to limit these habits
  • Antioxidants are key for fighting free radical damage and preventing further damage from occurring. When antioxidants encounter free radicals, which have unbalanced electrons, the antioxidants bind to them, immediately delivering their extra electron to the free radical, returning them to balance before they can harm your cells. By incorporating antioxidant-rich foods into your diet and using skincare products that contain antioxidants, you can help protect your skin from the ravages of free radicals.


The HydraFacial is an amazing treatment for skin health, it uses serums with antioxidant ingredients that offers great results in the skin, read everything about it:

How can I incorporate antioxidants to your daily skincare routine?

You may be surprised how frequently you can find Antioxidants in your daily life, they are common ingredients in foods that you probably eat every day, plus they are formulated in many skincare products for fighting free radical damage. The following ingredients are some of the most use antioxidants in skincare:

Vitamin C: This is one of the most widely used and most popular skin care antioxidant types. Vitamin C helps stimulate collagen production and is the best antioxidant for reducing dark spots.

  • Vitamin E: This is a great antioxidant too that helps speed skin healing and provides deep hydration.
  • Retinol: Retinol is a form of vitamin A and it is one of the most effective over-the-counter (OTC) ingredients for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, speeding cell turnover, and smoothing skin texture.
  • Niacinamide: It is also known as vitamin B3, its main benefit is improving skin tone and texture, and helping fade dark spots.
  • Curcumin: One of the newer ingredients found in OTC skincare products, curcumin is a polyphenol found in the spice turmeric, it delivers anti-inflammatory and skin brightening properties without overcoming the skin.

There are so many options to get antioxidant skincare products on the market today, I guess you currently use a product that contains antioxidant ingredients, they’re that common and popular, but the most important thing is how beneficial they are, helping neutralize free radicals in your body while providing many other health benefits as well.


Have an initial consultation with our team of experts for an analysis and personalized skin care recommendations based on your skin types and needs. 


Medical Facial Expert

Nurse, MBA – Marketing, NYS Licensed Medical Aesthetician & Certified Laser with more of 15 Years Experience

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