Why does oxidation harm our skin?
The terms “free radicals” and “antioxidants” have become very common and part of our daily routine for professionals in the professional aesthetics field.
What exactly do these terms mean? Why are oxidation and free radicals harmful to our skin and how can using advanced cosmetic products containing antioxidants neutralize this damage and protect the skin against accelerated aging?
Oxidation is a natural process, which takes place all the time in nature. On the one hand, without oxygen life would not be possible, and every living cell needs oxygen in order to produce energy and build proteins. On the other hand, the very same oxygen causes wear and tear, destruction and disintegration, and as a result, the aging and death of the cells.
What exactly is the oxidation process and why does it harm our bodies and skin?
The oxidation process is in effect the process of oxygen combustion, which takes place in each cell of our body and serves to produce energy and build proteins. Like in any factory, in the process of production and extraction there are byproducts, mainly free radicals. The free radicals are molecules which play important roles in our bodies and skin, such as killing bacteria and forming connections between collagen fibers in the skin. On the other hand, these molecules have a significant disadvantage – they are unstable and over active. These molecules have a surplus electron (free), which they try tirelessly to get rid of, and this by seeking the closest molecule to which to attach. The problem is that they are likely to connect also to vital and sensitive molecules such as proteins, fats and other tissues, and even to our genetic material – the DNA. As soon as they connect to another molecule, the free radicals attack and harm it. In addition, they turn this molecule into a free radical, which in turn harms other molecules. This creates an infinite chain reaction, which if not stopped right at the beginning, can cause cumulative and significant damage, including the development of carcinogenic processes, chronic diseases and premature aging, including accelerated aging of the skin.
Nature has made sure that every cell contains neutralizing agents – antioxidants. These agents bind the free radicals and in so doing balance their concentration and prevent them from harming the tissues and cells. Normally, in our bodies there is a balance between the accumulation of free radicals and their destruction; however external agents such as air pollution, sun's harmful radiation, smoking, detergents and fertilizers, processed foods, fat-rich foods etc. accelerate the formation of free radicals and cause their accumulation.
In recent years numerous medical and anti-aging researchers have focused on oxidation and free radicals, in an attempt to slow down these processes. One of the solutions under investigation which has already been proven in countless studies, is the use of antioxidants which neutralize free radicals, such as Vitamins A, C and E, found in plants, vegetables and fruit, the minerals selenium and zinc, and other substances such as Coenzyme Q10 and Alpha Lipoic Acid. The intake of food and food supplements rich in antioxidants today constitutes an inseparable part of anti-aging medicine. In parallel it has been found that topically applied skincare products containing active concentrations of vitamins slow down the aging process of the skin. Another finding is that the topical application of vitamins is several times more efficient than consuming them in food or food additives.
For many years, researchers at HL have been studying the optimal effects of antioxidants from natural sources on the skin. Many of the HL professional skincare products combine the most important antioxidants, such as:
Alpha Lipoic Acid a potent antioxidant, fights inflammation, helps prevent oxidative damage to cells.
Coenzyme Q10, naturally produced by the body however its production declines with age, plays a key role in the protection of cells from oxidants and helps manage energy production in cells.
Vitamins A, C, E, each works to protect cells from damage from oxidants, help improves cell turnover, support collagen synthesis, preserve skin moisture retention.
Acai, Grapes, Green Tea, Pomegranate extracts are powerful herbal antioxidants, improve elasticity, protect from sun damage, anti-inflammatory, strengthen cell membranes, reduce fine lines.