Since our skin is our largest organ and the first line of defense for our bodies from the environment, it is important to ensure it is prepared and protected. I’m not just talking about sunscreen (though you should always wear it)! You’ve probably seen or purchased products claiming to reduce damage from free radicals, but what does this mean? And what is an antioxidant? Would antioxidant-rich ingredients be beneficial for your skin? The short answer – yes.
First, the villains: free radicals. These rogue atoms are missing an electron each, which make them unstable and hazardous, and could eventually cause cancer or skin aging. They terrorize the body by destroying cell membranes and DNA as they search for an electron to replace the one they have lost. Stable atoms are the victims here because the radicals will steal one of their electrons, transforming a perfectly normal bystander atom into a free radical and continuing the reaction like a row of dominoes.
Where did these free radicals come from? Ironically, due to its molecular structure, the most common free radical is oxygen itself. As we breathe and our cells turn food and oxygen into energy, some products of our metabolism become free radicals. Environmental factors such as UV rays cause many important molecules in your body to become excited and sensitized to light, which leads to the production of free radicals in and on your skin. And let’s not forget about cigarette smoke, pesticides, and industrial solvents! So, since we are constantly being bombarded by free radicals, what can stop these unstable villains from damaging our bodies?
Enter our heroes: the antioxidants. Antioxidants act like stable philanthropists that donate one of their extra electrons to free radicals. When an unstable free radical zips along with wounded cells in its wake, the antioxidant donates one of its own electrons to the radical, which neutralizes the reaction and stops the villain in its tracks. The body is able to heal some of the wounded cells, but for the most part, a free radical attack is permanently damaging. Antioxidants are so important because they stop these radical reactions as soon as possible and limit the amount of cellular injury.
Antioxidants are found abundantly in plant-based oils, particularly ones that contain vitamins A, C, and E. By applying these ingredients to our skin, we can help to fight free radical damage immediately. Topical use of antioxidant-rich oils is an effective way to defend your skin from free radicals. This is why many Badger products contain ingredients like Jojoba, Calendula, Rosehip, Seabuckthorn, and Sunflower, which are potent antioxidants that protect your skin from cell-damaging free radical reactions. Check out Badger’s sunscreens and oil face care products to experience the benefits of antioxidants for yourself and emerge victorious from this battle!
Remember, the villains are out there, but the heroes are just as abundant.