Free Radicals

Imagine you left a tire unprotected in the sun for many years. Over time that tire would break down and would no longer be usable. However, the life of the tire could be greatly increased if you shaded it from the sun and kept it coated with a protectant such as Armorol™. Skin reacts to the environment in a similar fashion. Free radicals are created by excessive exposure to sunlight, environmental pollution, cigarette smoking, and poisons like cleaners, pesticides and herbicides. Free radicals are responsible for our skin’s premature aging and tissue damage.

Free radicals are oxygen molecules that have “lost” one of their electrons, creating unstable or reactive molecules that start a destructive chain reaction, like dominoes, in the body. Because the molecule has an incomplete set of electrons, it tries to steal its missing electron from other healthy molecules creating more and more free radicals. The major damage caused by free radicals is when they come into contact with important cellular components such as DNA or cell membranes, leading to dysfunction, mutation and even cancer. They can attack enzymes and proteins, disrupt normal cell activities, or cell membranes, causing the possible death of a cell. Such damage in the cells that line our blood vessels can lead to hardening and thickening of the arteries and eventually to heart attacks and strokes. So how can we slow down and possibly prevent free radical damage? Antioxidants are our first line of defense. They have been proven to neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, since they are stable in either form, ending the electron stealing reaction.

What does comedogenic and non-comedogenic mean? The definition comedogenic is very simple. It means “pore clogging” and refers to ingredients found in skin care products that can be irritating and can block pores which often lead to acne breakouts.

Non-comedogenic refers to products that, when applied to the skin, do not plug the oil glands. Look for this label description on products such as makeup, foundation, and moisturizers especially if your skin is acne prone.