Antioxidants: what are they and how do they fight free radicals?

Antioxidant substances are those that have the ability to inhibit oxidation caused by free radicals, and thus protect our cells against possible damage to their structure. Some may wonder, What are free radicals? Well, they are chemical substances that are characterized by having one of their unpaired electrons. The presence of this solitary electron makes free radicals very reactive substances, and they can interact with almost any molecule, for this reason, they can easily react with our biomolecules, oxidizing them and causing damage at the cellular level.

Why are free radicals produced?

They often occur as a consequence of some natural oxidation reactions that occur in our body, such as cellular respiration, which occurs in the mitochondria and is necessary for obtaining energy.

They can also occur due to high frequency solar radiation such as gamma rays or ultraviolet rays, this is one of the reasons why solar radiation causes burns on the skin.

Other factors that increase the amount of free radicals present in our environment are atmospheric pollutants, such as ozone, nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide or carbon tetrachloride; in addition to the combustion of organic compounds with the production of smoke (grilled meats, cigarettes, industrial pollution).

To counteract the oxidation produced by free radicals and prevent damage at the cellular level, our body uses antioxidant substances. Some of them are synthesized by our own body (enzymes and coenzymes), and others are antioxidant substances acquired through the diet, such as vitamins E, A, and C, some trace elements (Selenium and Zinc) and phytochemicals such as polyphenols and carotenoids, naturally present in plants.

In healthy conditions, our body must be able to neutralize free radicals through the different endogenous and exogenous antioxidants, thus maintaining a balance between the two. However, some factors such as pollution, excessive exposure to high frequency solar radiation, or an inadequate diet can lead to a significant increase in free radicals in our tissues, favoring oxidative processes at the cellular level. We call this situation oxidative stress, and it is characterized by presenting an increase in free radicals and a decrease in antioxidants at the cellular level, which induces irreversible damage in our tissues, promoting the appearance of different diseases.

Oxidative stress in our skin damages the cells of the dermis and accelerates premature aging, since it makes it difficult to carry out natural physiological processes of the skin, promoting dehydration, loss of elasticity and causing the appearance of wrinkles and blemishes.

Today, it is known that one of the best alternatives to prevent premature aging of the skin is the use of antioxidant substances that help restore balance in our dermis, maintaining its vitality and elasticity.

To avoid and reverse the damage caused by free radicals, we can nourish our skin with natural antioxidants, such as coenzyme Q10, vitamin E, vitamin C, carotenoids and polyphenols, which fight free radicals and prevent the appearance of oxidative stress in our dermis. .

For this reason, at Planthia we use natural antioxidant compounds in our formulations, as well as plant extracts and vegetable oils rich in antioxidants that protect your skin against environmental factors such as pollution and solar radiation, and help us maintain healthy and glowing skin.


If you want more information about antioxidants, we recommend the following articles: 

- How antioxidants fight skin aging

- Antioxidants and the Skin 

- Effect of antioxidants on the skin

- Polyphenols as antioxidants

- Free radicals 

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