What’s the difference between antioxidants and free radicals?

Antioxidants and free radicals are both terms that tend to get thrown around a lot by skincare experts, and sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that not everyone knows exactly what they mean! Plus, it’s often the case that the explanation doesn’t make things clearer; most of the time, the differences between antioxidants and free radicals are explained in terms of chemistry, which can be tricky to follow if you’re not particularly scientifically-minded. This week on AP Skincare, we’re going to break things down a bit for you, leaving aside the unnecessarily complex bits so that you can get a better understanding of exactly what free radicals and antioxidants are, and exactly why they both have such a big effect on your skin.

What are free radicals?

Despite sounding like a grassroots ‘60s band, free radicals are actually much less innocent than you might first assume. They’re unstable molecules that are the result of natural biochemical reactions in your body. Although they’re natural, though, that doesn’t mean they necessarily do you good! We’ll skip all the detailed chemistry involved, but essentially there’s a reason that free radicals are known as ‘selfish molecules’. They’re always trying to latch onto more stable cells in your body. When they do, this damages these healthy cells and compromises their normal functions, often resulting in wrinkles and other signs of early ageing.

defence antioxidant

Excessive exposure to UV rays can also expose you to significant amounts of free radicals, which is part of the reason why sunburn is so dangerous for your skin! It doesn’t help that as your body ages, it steadily loses its ability to fight off the effects of free radicals. But a big part of the way it’s always doing so is with the help of antioxidants.

What are antioxidants?

Basically, antioxidants are your body’s natural defence against free radicals. If you like, you can think of them as your body’s counterbalance measure to protect your skin. Antioxidants are amongst the few cells that can safely interact with free radicals, and halt them in their tracks before they damage other cells. As well as being naturally produced by your body, they’re also found in plant based foods like fruits and vegetables.

Now, this is important because as we’ve touched on above, your body produces fewer antioxidants and at slower rates as you get older. This means that one of the best ways to defend yourself against free radicals throughout your life is by means of a varied, balanced diet that’s rich in fruit and vegetables. We’ve gone into more detail about some of the best foods for your skin here, but you can also find antioxidants in consumables such as:

Their ability to fend of free radicals makes them brilliant for fighting off the signs of ageing and making them magnificent for your skin. For best results, it’s also a great idea to take advantage of some of the excellent skincare treatments we’ve got right here at AP Skincare. Our anti-wrinkle treatment has an fantastic track record of success for reducing lines and wrinkles in our patients, and our experts at AP Skincare know exactly how to apply it for the safest, best-looking and longest-lasting results.

At AP Skincare, your skin’s health is our top priority, and with our range of core skincare treatments, we know how to keep you looking and feeling amazing. Why not pop into our Blackburn treatment centre to see what we can do for you, or give us a call on 01254 297 000?