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Stand Firm Against Skin Damage

Jun 25th , 2014 
Posted By Terry

It seems that every few months, a new study comes along that illustrates the harmful effects that environmental factors have on the skin. While the numbers vary slightly, general consensus holds that roughly 60 percent of skin aging can be traced to external threats, such as urban pollution, domestic byproducts and–most troubling of all–UV exposure. With so many unseen enemies attacking it, how does one protect one’s skin from this all-out assault? The answer is with antioxidants.

Free Radicals: the Invisible Enemy

Any time dermatologists talk about environmental damage, the discussion inevitably turns to free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have lost an electron by interacting with oxygen. In the body, these highly unstable molecules can wreak havoc upon living cells, stealing their electrons and causing oxidative stress. Scientists have linked this stress to a litany of adverse health effects, including skin aging.

Free radicals have their roots in a variety of sources. Poor diet and lifestyle choices—such as smoking and consuming alcohol in excess–can trigger a free radical cascade that taxes the body from within. However, the most common culprit in free radical damage, particularly when it comes to skin aging, is a much more pervasive source: the sun. When the skin is overwhelmed by UV rays, emerging free radicals can lead to a breakdown in collagen and elastin–connective fibers that provide the skin its firmness and suppleness–as well as cellular DNA damage. The result often takes the form of lines, wrinkles, roughness and sagging skin.

Antioxidants to the Rescue

In recent years, antioxidants have entered the health and beauty consciousness as product developers and consumers come to better understand the free radical threat. Today, antioxidant products are among the most popular in skincare, and with good reason. Working to correct the look of past damage and prevent future harm, they fulfill a critical role in nearly every anti-aging regimen. But just how do antioxidants work?

Known as “free radical scavengers,” antioxidants seek out the volatile molecules, sacrificing one of their own electrons to neutralize the threat of oxidative damage. Some, like Spin Trap–a common ingredient in CosMedix products–actually reassign the former menace to help with cellular respiration, turning a negative into a positive.

Produced by the body and obtained from food, antioxidants provide a natural defense network against encroaching free radicals. However, when external forces overwhelm the body’s internal supply, damage can quickly follow. Antioxidant products help to fill the gap, ensuring that the skin remains protected from the free radical assault it faces every day.

Not all Antioxidants are Created Equal

Often touted as “cure alls” by skincare companies, antioxidant products are only as effective as their chief ingredients. Because individual antioxidants function in different ways, products that contain only a handful of common or non-skin-specific antioxidants may still leave the skin open to harm.

However, by combining multiple skin-specific antioxidants, users can give their skin maximum free radical protection. Products like Affirm by CosMedix deliver a cocktail of targeted ingredients designed to minimize the appearance of existing damage and counteract daily threats to ensure a more radiant, youthful tomorrow.

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