What exactly are free radicals?
Free radicals are molecules that are known to damage your healthy cells. These molecules have a missing electron in their outermost orbit, which makes them unstable. To be stable, they will steal an electron from your healthy cells. This cell is now unstable and will steal an electron from the neighboring cell. It is quite like a cascading effect called oxidative stress that damages your DNA and weakens your living cells and tissues, only to leave you more vulnerable to other issues. In other words, free radicals speed up the ageing process considerably.
How do free radicals harm your body?
Free radicals are naturally produced in your body due to cellular metabolic activity. They are meant to protect you from bacteria and viruses. However, when the number of free radicals increases, they harm our skin’s structural layer (Collagen) and defensive layer (Lipids).
Due to this, they cause damage to your skin in the following ways:
i) Dryness due to destruction of lipids.
ii) Sagging due to skin’s structural damage
iii) Premature ageing due to skin’s structural damage
iv) Hyperpigmentation due to external factors reacting with your skin in the absence of a defensive layer.
What triggers the production of free radicals?
Free radicals are present everywhere so it is impossible to steer clear of free radicals. They can be generated by some of the most unexpected items like food, water, medicines, etc. Having said that, there are a few things you can try to stay away from to reduce your exposure to free radicals.
i) UV rays
v) Poor diet
How to minimise the damage that free radicals cause?
Since we cannot avoid free radicals, we need to take certain damage control actions to save our skin. A great weapon to fight free radicals is Antioxidants. Antioxidants can neutralise the actions of scavenging free radicals and help stop damaging lipids. A diet rich in Antioxidants can help you with health issues and plump up your skin. They can be applied topically as well.
Read more about Antioxidants here.
How can you incorporate Antioxidants into your skincare routine?
You don’t need to stack another serum for your skin’s Antioxidants requirements because they’re present in some of your toner, serum, cleansers, etc. How can you figure that? Simply lookout if your skincare has the following ingredients:
1) Vitamin C
This powerful ingredient helps you stop the oxidative stress that can damage your skin’s defense layer and skin’s structure. When you apply Vitamin C topically it will help you fight free radicals.
Read more about Vitamin C here.
We recommend Over Dermis Skin Alphabet Vitamin C Serum which has 10% Vitamin C along with other Antioxidant-rich ingredients like Marine Probiotics, Aloe Vera, and Sodium Hyaluronate making it a perfect choice for your skin.
2) Vitamin E
It is a common ingredient found in anti-ageing products. The antioxidants in it, help you combat UV rays, pollution and give you natural protection.
We recommend Swisse Argan Youthful Facial Oil With Vitamin E & Certified Organic Argan Oil that can even be used to protect your hair and nails and delay ageing.
3) Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)
This star ingredient is a ride-or-die for someone who suffers from pigmentation. It is even helpful for those who want to combat free radicals and other ageing factors.
We recommend Aminu Intense Care Soothing Cream for it acts as your moisturiser and serum in one. The powerful concoction which includes Niacinamide will help you heal and calm your skin.
4) Green Tea
Green Tea is rightly a great source of Antioxidants that combats oxidative stress. It can be applied topically as well, as a quick fix every day.
We recommend Dr Sheth's Niacinamide & Green Tea Calming Toner that not just helps you refresh and soothe your skin but also helps you reduce uneven tone.
5) Sea Buckthorn
It is a great source to restore moisture and has anti-ageing properties. It has Antioxidants that could help you fight free radicals.
We recommend Tvam Soap -sea Buckthorn - Handmade as your daily bathing soap.
This ingredient is known to give you glow and luster to your skin. It is loaded with Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties to fight off damaging elements.
We recommend Bliscent Gooseberry & Turmeric Face Toner to keep your skin supple and hydrated.
How to introduce Antioxidants to your skin?
Antioxidants do not cause you any harm and they won’t create a fuss for you even if it is used in your AM routine. During the day if you’re facing pollution, sunrays, electronic screens, etc, it is better to go heavy-duty on Antioxidants by using a thin screen of your choice of serum that has Antioxidants and spray frequently with a toner that has Antioxidants. At night, you can mix focus on your primary skin issues rather than protection.
Knowing that you’d not want to grease up your skin with layers of skin care products in the day, the serum that you can use during the day would be Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop Serum and toner to swear by would be Conscious Chemist Porology Toner that is a multi-tasker to improve your skin texture, control sebum production and has gentle exfoliating property.
For your PM routine, you could use heavy-duty facial oil that helps you restore your skin overnight like Juicy Chemistry Helichrysum & Rosehip-anti-scarring & Pigmentation Control Facial Oil (Cell Construction) which will change your life by not just fighting Antioxidants but also restoring your skin’s structure to give you that glowing even-toned skin.
Are Antioxidants suitable for all?
Yes, they are. Regardless of age and skin type, everybody needs Antioxidants to fight free radicals present in the environment. However, as you age, the need for Antioxidants will also accelerate. It is suitable to be included in your AM and PM routine. You might want to pick an ingredient that is not just rich in Antioxidants but also helps you solve your other skin issues.
To know which ingredient to include as per your skin issues, read here.
Unlike certain ingredients that you need for just time being till it can help you solve your target skin issues, Antioxidants are something that you need every day. It is because your skin is daily going to combat free radicals and so it is not enough to use it just till you see improved skin.
Which food items have Antioxidants?
A lot can change with your diet. You can visibly see the change of diet in your hair, nails and skin. A diet rich in Antioxidants will keep you astray from many health conditions since it fights free radicals produced in your body that could damage your tissues and cells if they increase in number. Certain food items that you must include in your diet for nutrition and Antioxidants are as follows:
i) Dark Chocolate
vii) Red Cabbage
It is often not easy to keep track of your diet. In that case, nutritional gummies do come in handy. The ones that we’d recommend are Within Nutrition Glowing Skin Gummies to fight pollution and maintain that youthful glow.
Read more about nutritional gummies here.
Free radicals are silent killers that are present everywhere and cannot be avoided. What we can do is instead protect our skin with the help of Antioxidants. Antioxidants help us protect our skin from sagging, ageing quicker and unwanted pigmentation that free radicals could cause. Including Antioxidants in your daily skincare routine and diet will help fight the scavenging free radicals and boost your overall health.
- Divya Salvi