Need a quick refresh? Free radicals are unstable molecules. The body naturally produces free radicals during normal metabolism, exercise, and immune responses, although it can also regulate these by making its own supply of antioxidants (assuming essential nutrients and cofactors are present). However, certain situations, such as air pollution, other environmental stressors, nutritional choices, and daily stress, can increase free radical production while counteracting antioxidant defenses. The result is free radicals, causing oxidative stress.
So what does this mean for your skin? “Free radicals and oxidative stress lead to changes in the cell that are recognized as signs of aging: decrease in collagen and elastin, increase in pore size, increase in texture changes and pigmentation changes” , says Morgan Rabach, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co. -founder of LM Medical NYC. And according to Schweiger Dermatology Group board-certified dermatologist Michele Farber, MD, it can also lead to reduced skin barrier function.
Well, antioxidants have the ability to actively buffer and fight this process.* One way to do this is to donate an electron without becoming a free radical in the process. Or they neutralize them by breaking them down. And in doing so, they can delay and alleviate many of the skin issues we mentioned above. At this point, I guess the reasons the experts tell you to stock up on antioxidants, both internal and external, become clear.
Fortunately, you can bolster your body’s internal antioxidant defenses through targeted foods and supplements.* Replenishing your antioxidants internally starts with a balanced, nutrient-dense, plant-centered diet. But the latter (supplements) are more concentrated because larger doses of antioxidants and extracts can be delivered in products such as capsules, powders, gummies or liquids. Needless to say, if you’re looking to hone your routine in the name of skincare, carefully formulated antioxidant supplements with ingredients rooted in science will do the trick.*