The ‘Dark Side’ of Oxygen..
Oxidative stress is a major cause of skin ageing, skin inflammation, skin allergies, skin problems and is an outward manifestation of oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress (OS) occurs when the available supply of the body’s antioxidants is insufficient to handle and neutralize free radicals of different types. As the outermost barrier seperating internal tissue from the environment, THE SKIN is regularly exposed to UV radiation, pollution, synthetic ingredrients, prescription medication, cigartette smoke and stress. The result is cell damage that can result in cellular mutations, tissue breakdown and immune compromise.
We cant get away from it as the source of free radicals is an unstable oxygen molecule that must find another electron to make itself complete. In order to do this, the free radical begins randomly bombarding the body’ cells, resulting in injury to the surrounding cell tissue and causing oxidative stress. So no wonder I am seeing an increase in adult skin blemishes, allergic and sensitised skin!
In other words, free radicals are the little ghosts that try and destroy our healthy cells only worse; when a free radical attacks a cell, it turns that cell into a free radical and then those two free radicals turn two more cells into free radicals and those four turn four more and this keeps multiplying and its known as cell mutation.
To counteract oxidative stress, the body produces an army of antioxidants to defend itself. It’s the job of antioxidants to neutralise or ‘mop up’ free radicals that can harm our cells. However, sometimes the bodies natural defense systems decrease with age, or we just are exposed to more free radicals because of where we live and what we do, giving rise to a high level of free radicals that can’t be neutralised by the body.. and this is depedent on diet and lifestyle too!
So how does Oxidative Stress affect your skin?
Oxidative stress plays a central role in initiating and driving events that cause skin ageing and skin problems at the cellular level. Did you know that over 90% of the signs of aging are caused by oxidative stress? it also
- Breaks down proteins (collagen and elastin),
- Alters and slows down cellular renewal cycles,
- Damages DNA, the cell messasing signals
- Leads to the appearance of uneven, blotchy pigmentation
Inflammation seems to be at the base of oxidative stress and as cells mutate our immune system is overworked and eventually inflammation sets in and promotes the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines), which trigger the generation of inflammatory skin problems, and allergic skin reactions too.
What is the soution?
Balance is the key. We must do all we can to rebuild antioxidant power up in the body through our diet, lifesytle and skincare regime. Look out for the blog which will educate you about topical antioxidants and thier role in your skin routine. Read it here.