Skin Damage from Free Radicals

Understanding How Oxidative Stress Can Cause Skin Damage

Our modern, busy, lifestyles have not only created a more unhealthy environment for our bodies and mind but, as Dr. Mitra Ray explains, can lead to rapid skin aging. Learn how oxidative stress (free radicals) can lead to damaged, aging skin. 

Underneath the epidermis is the dermis, where important components of the skin—such as blood capillaries, hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings, and oil glands—are embedded in a matrix of collagen, elastic tissue, and reticular fibers.  Sagging skin and deep wrinkles can occur when there is a breakdown in the structural components of the dermal layer from free radical damage. The integrity of the dermal layer is important for structural as well as functional reasons.


What are free radicals?

Free radicals are the normal byproduct when our cells are burning glucose to create the energy currency of the body, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Free radicals can cause damage because they are missing an electron and they try to steal electrons randomly from stable molecules in the body. In addition to normal metabolism, we experience a wide variety of other sources of free radicals (see list below).

Free radicals are implicated in causing premature aging and disease in the body. A wide variety of antioxidants from plant sources can neutralize these free radicals before they can attack our cellular components; and, in so doing, can help to prevent aging at the molecular level.


Free radicals and skin damage

In the dermis, free radical damage causes wrinkles by activating enzymes that break down collagen. You will notice wrinkle lines, especially around the lips of a smoker. Also, sun worshippers often have wrinkled skin from too much sun. A diet rich in processed food and animal products can cause similar damage. Smokers and sun worshippers, as well as the rest of us, can improve the health of the skin through whole food based (diet) because research has shown that whole food based (diet) can increase the amount and variety of antioxidants circulating in the blood.  


Sources of oxidative stress (free radical production)

  • Cigarette Smoke (Even 2nd-Hand Smoke)
  • Stress
  • Smoked, Grilled,
  • Preserved Food
  • Cooked Fats
  • Normal Metabolism
  • Alcohol
  • Radioactivity
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Ozone
  • Smog
  • Phase I Enzyme Byproducts
  • Animal Products
  • Oil Supplements
  • UV Rays
  • Polluted Water
  • Exercise
  • Microbial Infection


Tips on how to reduce oxidative stress

Another good tip is to include flax seeds in your diet, regardless of what else you’re eating.  The essential fatty acids in flax seeds that are freshly ground up and mixed with water help to rebuild collagen. This is one other way in which the Green Drink is a miracle for the body and skin. It’s the perfect medium for flax seeds, since it automatically provides enough liquid to hydrate the freshly ground seeds, and the flavors of the ingredients all work well together.


Stay Connected.
You've been added to our mailing list.
Thank you for signing up!
Like ecolife on Facebook & Google, and join us in the Green movement!