The Damaging Effects of Free Radicals and How to Reduce It

A few hours wandering around a big city is all it takes to realize how much pollution we're exposed to daily. And while it's simple to wipe away the evidence of the day with your favorite face cleanser, you won't be able to undo the impacts of all of the contaminants.

Free radicals, like pollution, are everywhere, but the harm they inflict is often less obvious – at least at first. At the same time, the harm they do to your health and skin is no laughing matter.

What are free radicals?

The human body produces highly reactive and unstable chemicals known as free radicals during cell metabolic processes. They're a by-product of your metabolism. Thus, they're technically a waste product. They can, however, be created in the body as a result of exposure to chemicals, toxins, and other environmental factors.

The degree of harm your skin is prone to is determined by the frequency of your exposure to pollutants or carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). If your business or home is near an industrial region, your exposure to pollution is substantially higher. This raises the risk of skin damage.

The following are some examples of environmental contaminants that cause the generation of free radicals:

  • Dust
  • Smog
  • Floor cleaners
  • Cigarette smoke
  • UVA and UVB radiation
  • Pesticides

Free radicals have a very short life span of only a few seconds. However, they tend to build in your cells within this short time frame, causing harm to your lipids, proteins, and DNA, as well as accelerating the aging process.

How to use antioxidants in your skincare routine

To combat free radicals on your skin, you can include antioxidant-rich skincare components in your routine in addition to eating antioxidant-rich foods. This is a list of common compounds to look for when choosing your skin care products.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a skincare ingredient that can help with various skin problems. Because it is high in antioxidants, everything from dull skin and uneven skin tone to dark spots and premature aging can be remedied with only this one component. Look for a vitamin C serum to protect your skin from oxidative stress.


Since it is a derivative of niacin (vitamin B3), it is also known as vitamin B3. Niacinamide has become a favorite skincare ingredient for many because of its ability to keep the skin well hydrated. Not just that, it is also believed to have anti-aging properties, treating acne and preventing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Some studies even showed that it could improve the skin's barrier function, which helps it retain moisture and keep the skin well moisturized.

Vitamin E

It is also known as alpha-tocopherol because its chemical structure is like that of vitamin E. This oil-soluble vitamin acts as an antioxidant, and it is believed to be effective in fighting free radicals in the skin. It can be seen in many skincare products. It is used to treat acne, fine lines, wrinkles, and other skin concerns. It can be found in serums, moisturizing creams, day creams, and night creams.

Green Tea

This is a great anti-aging ingredient. It is loaded with antioxidants, which help reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and even blemishes. In addition to this, it is also a natural astringent, which means that it can tighten the skin pores, thereby leaving you with flawless and glowing skin.


Free radicals not only have harmful effects on your health but may also damage your skin and accelerate skin aging, which is why you should be very careful. It is best to take precautionary measures to prevent their production in your body by leading a healthy lifestyle.

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