Antioxidants and Free Radicals

In writing my three part luxury ingredient series, one benefit that I never mentioned was assisting with neutralizing free radicals. Truthfully, I didn’t know anything about free radicals. I just saw them mentioned as being bad for your skin. I decided the next thing I needed to briefly look into was what free radicals really are when it came to your skin.

What is a Free Radical?

This is the first question I must ask myself. As simply defined by MedicalNewsToday,

“Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging.”

Dr. Noelani González, M.D., director of cosmetic dermatology at Mount Sinai West in New York City says (as quoted by Today.Com), “What makes them unstable is that they are missing electrons from their outer shell. This causes them to search for other atoms or molecules that have these electrons, in order for them to feel whole again and become stable.”

As I continued to read the same article, I came across this excellent example of how free radicals can actually effect you. “When you leave an apple or avocado out on the counter, and it turns brown, that is an example of oxidation or deterioration caused by free radicals,” says Suzanne LeRoux, green beauty expert and founder of One Love Organics. “Free radicals have been implicated in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Where are Free Radicals Found?

The short answer: EVERYWHERE! Scary right? Commonly accepted sources of free radicals are pollution, alcohol, fried foods (poor nutrition), smoking, pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, and chemicals. Your body even produces them! It’s something that happens naturally.

Being that it’s virtually impossible to avoid free radicals, we need to do what we can to assist our bodies in combating damage to our bodies. We need to take care of ourselves inside in out. You’ve probably noticed or heard of eating better helping you to look younger and feel younger. If you take care of your insides through proper diet, you can fight the free radicals which assault your body from the inside. If you provide assistance to your skin topically, then you can help your skin avoid damage from factors you have no control of outside of your body.

Antioxidants and Free Radicals

One way that you can combat free radicals both inside and out is with antioxidants. As defined by PharmacyTimes, antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. What that essentially means is that antioxidants can be your first line of defense to free radicals by dealing with the damaging molecule before the free radical can steal from your skin.

After doing reading into more details about what free radicals are, it helps me understand why a lot of skincare products out there these days tout the benefits of the antioxidants added to their products. While I might have selected a lot of ingredients without full understanding of potential benefits, I am very happy to have selected the ingredients I have so far. Research that I do for my own knowledge will in the long run benefit you and your skin. Special, high in antioxidant ingredients that I have chosen to work with are resveratrol, vitamin C & E, rose hip extract, and jojoba oil.

Essential Oils and Free Radicals

Being that I am spending a lot of time learning about and using essential oils, I too had to look into essential oils that are high in antioxidants. If antioxidants are good for neutralizing free radicals, then this is something that I absolutely need to consider for adding to my products. If applying topically can assist in any way to combating free radicals, I am going to include what I can to provide the best benefits possible!

According to SuperFoodly, the top 10 essential oils with the highest content of antioxidants are as follows:

  • Clove
  • Myrrh
  • Citronella
  • Coriander
  • Fennel
  • Clary Sage
  • German Chammomile
  • Cedarwood
  • Rose
  • Nutmeg

Please be sure to note, this list is not a list of the only oils that contain antioxidants. Plenty of essential oils contain antioxidants to assist with free radicals! And while I haven’t really looked into essential oils being diffused in the air to assist with free radicals, I don’t see why diffusion of essentials oils wouldn’t help. Why not enjoy the smell of oils with the hope of eliminating free radicals before they reach my skin.

You can learn more about essential oils HERE!

Eat the Rainbow!

And if you were wondering why I used a picture of blueberries? Blueberries are considered to be high in antioxidants. If you wish to fight free radicals from the inside (in addition to skincare products), eating foods that are high in antioxidants would be an excellent start!


Government Sources:
Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3299230/
Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249911/
Essential Oils Assisting with Free Radicals – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20521390

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