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Thoughts: What are Free Radicals?

You may have heard about free radicals online or have seen it printed on the back of a skin care product. But what are they? How do they affect your skin? This is something that I think is important and worth discussing... Here are a few thoughts I want to share that are interesting about free radicals and how they can affect the body when it comes to skin health.

1. Free radicals want balance! A free radical is a molecule (base building block of a compound) that’s missing an electron. A free radical wants to find balance so it can become stable. If there isn’t an antioxidant present to restore it to it's balanced state, a free radical can cause damage to the surrounding cells in its effort to find its missing piece. This process is natural and called oxidation.

2. Free radicals are harmful to the skin and body. As free radicals start to oxidize they can cause damage to healthy skin cells. This can cause negative and destructive chain reactions which contribute to hyperpigmentation, increased skin sensitivity, acne, and more.

The best way that I can describe what happens with free radicals and the damage that occurs is to have you visualize an avocado. When you cut it open and its exposed to oxygen after a while the avocado begins to brown. Still and avocado - but not as tasty or visually appealing. This is because the avocado has begun to oxidize. This is a similar process as to what happens with our skin cells.

3. Free radicals are everywhere We are exposed to free radicals every single day. In a previous post I shared about the different types of aging. Generally, free radical damage is always caused by extrinsic (or EXTERNAL) factors. Think: Alcohol, poor diet, tobacco, marijauna or vaping, chemicals, environmental pollution, and excess sun exposure.

4. How does this affect the skin? Free radicals can accelerate skin aging. This damaging chain reaction leads to death of skin cells. When skin cells die, it leads to skin aging. And while skin aging and cell death are natural parts of life, the presence of free radicals can accelerate this process. To state simply free radicals contribute to formation of fine lines and wrinkles, and dark spots/hyperpigmentation.

5. What can I do to help? I will say again and again. The BEST thing you can do for healthy skin is to live a healthy lifestyle - sleep well, eat whole foods, protect yourself from sun exposure, avoid smoking and vaping. Topically as far as skin care products - Antioxidants can help provide extra electrons to help bring molecules back into balance which puts a stop to the damaging oxidation chain reaction. Topical products that include Vitamin C are some of the BEST to help prevent and proactively treat free radical damage.

So much more to say but I am trying to keep this short. Free radical damage and oxidative stress is one of the primary causes of aging skin. Whether your concern is hyperpigmentation or fine lines and wrinkles - we all can benefit from a healthy lifestyle and using a vitamin C product.

As always, if you have questions or thoughts please reach out to me directly via email at guidedcompass @ or call my office 330-442-5695.

In Health,


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