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Free Radicals. It might sound like the name of a scary, slightly crazy, political group, but it’s not. It’s actually the name for certain kinds of molecules. A free radical is any atom or molecule that is missing an electron. They are formed by normal bodily functions, and by environmental aggressors such as UV rays, smoke, and pollution. Free radicals are unstable compounds, looking to pair with another electron. In a process known as oxidation, the free radical takes an electron from a nearby balanced atom, setting off a chain reaction. 

Free radicals chip away at DNA and cell walls. Over time, this process causes oxidative damage, which is responsible for visible signs of aging, including sagging skin, fine lines, and wrinkles. Free radicals turn the oils in your skin rancid, which in turn damages collagen, reducing your skin’s elasticity and weakening the skin’s barrier against moisture loss. In some cases, they have also been associated with acne and skin cancer. 

None of this sounds very good. Thankfully, there are molecules that can fight free radicals and prevent the damage that they do to skin cells. Those molecules are called antioxidants, and they can be vitamins, minerals, or enzymes. What is important about antioxidants is that they can donate an electron to free radicals, preventing the oxidation of other molecules and protecting your skin from the harmful effects. In this process, however, antioxidants become oxidized themselves, which means that you must always replenish the supply of antioxidants to your skin. Antioxidants include vitamins A, C, and E, and applying them topically can reduce scars and promote healing.

At Essentique, we know how important it is to apply antioxidants often, so many of our products are formulated with antioxidant-rich ingredients. Antioxidants are most effective when they can stay on the skin, so many of our oils, serums, and moisturizers–like Lumin8, R3, Petale, Co-enzyme Q10, Elevate, Line-Break, Vipaka Face Pack, Soma, and Supple–are made with antioxidant-rich ingredients.

By Gabrielle Candes


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