Free radicals are attacking you all the time and they’re doing a world of damage to your skin. At least that’s what skincare commercials and advertisements would lead you to believe. “Free radical” has become somewhat of a buzz phrase in the world of skincare and for good reason. The term sounds scary and free radicals are very real. But it’s hard to get a handle on what exactly free radicals are and what impact they have on the health of your skin. Here’s a look at the truth about free radicals, what they do and how you can stop them in their tracks.
What Are Free Radicals?
Free radicals aren’t malicious little monsters floating through the atmosphere, waiting to attack your skin. In reality, they’re far less nefarious. A free radical is nothing more than an atom, a molecule or an ion that has unpaired valence electrons. These single, “free” electrons make the molecule or ion hyper-reactive towards other substances, grabbing their electrons and damaging their structure. The resulting damage can impair both function and lifespan of molecules and cells.
Free radicals can be generated by both internal processes and external stimuli. Some internal triggers are stress, alcohol and poor nutrition. Examples of external triggers are solar radiation, cigarette smoke and environmental pollution. These challenges are constant, forcing your cells to respond continuously.
One study published in Dermatology Research and Practice estimates that 80 percent of damage from environmental stimulation is due to UV radiation. Damage from UV induced free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS), an oxygen specific type of free radical, can cause premature signs of aging. The study claims that UV radiation from the sun is the most important factor in skin aging and skin cancer.
What Are They Doing To Your Skin?
So how exactly are these pervasive free radicals damaging your skin? The Free Radical Theory says that free radical damage and oxidative stress can accumulate and alter the cellular processes of your skin. Oxidative stress caused by free radicals can induce disease, inflammation and a chain reaction that destabilizes and harms cells, proteins and even your DNA.
How Can You Fight Back?
By this point, it’s easy to see why free radicals are so terrifying to skin. They’re generated by multiple pathways, they can do some serious damage and that damage can be cumulative. But do not abandon all hope. Antioxidants such as Fulvic Acid are powerful allies in the battle against free radical damage and the war against as aging, inflammation and disease.
Your body produces some antioxidants, and you ingest some through fruits and vegetables in your diet, but these aren’t enough to combat the constant bombardment you’re getting from environmental stimuli. If you’re concerned about premature skin aging, the best thing you can do is use topical skincare products that contain anti-oxidant ingredients, like the organic fulvic acid in Fulom’s Face and Body Cleanser, Hydrating Lotion and Moisturizing Cream.
Antioxidants inhibit the oxidation of other molecules, which is where the free radicals do their dirty work. A review of antioxidants published by Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery claims that a skincare routine rich in antioxidants is “vital in both preventing and repairing age-related damage.” Prevention is key with antioxidants. The best antioxidant skin care products use ingredients that can stop the free radical chain reaction before it even starts. They stabilize reactive molecules before those angry, lone electrons ever have a chance to react. A study published by Clinical Interventions in Aging suggests that antioxidant supplementation needs to start early in life for the full effects to be seen. By this logic, the most effective weapon against free radical damage and signs of aging is to establish a routine of prevention early on and stay true to it as we age.
Protecting your skin from the sun by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays has tremendous effectiveness in preventing free radical related aging. By banning these rays, you can start to eliminate that 80 percent of damage from environmental stimulation that they are responsible for. Shoot for an SPF of 30 or higher, but be aware that a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily increase protection by a great amount.
Here at Fulom Skin Care we choose not to combine our formulation with SPF into a dual purpose product. The goal of any hydration regimen is for the product to absorb into the skin. Fulvic Acid, by virtue of it’s low molecular weight and inhere properties, goes even further and penetrates cell walls. SPF is designed to stay on the surface of the skin, providing a reflective surface for UV rays to bounce off of. They are products with two distinct and mutually incompatible goals, thus we choose to stay pure.