Free radicals: what are they and why do they harm our skin?

Free radicals: what are they and why do they harm our skin?

A lot of us have seen this word around before and many of us know that we need protection from free radicals, but why is that? What are free radicals? These tiny unstable molecules are creating oxidative stress, making us vulnerable to health issues and can seriously damage our skin! Not to mention, free radicals are basically everywhere; they’re found in air pollution, sunlight (UV radiation), smoking, alcohol, pesticides, and poor nutrition. Educating yourself on this just might make you want to amp up your skin care regimen.

What you need to know about oxidative stress

Oxidative stress happens when a molecule loses one of its electrons, causing it to become unstable and interact with other molecules by stealing their electrons through a process called oxidation. Imagine you cut up an apple and then leave it for a few hours, what’s going to happen to it? It will start to oxidize, making it wither and become brown. Essentially, when a similar process happens in the human body, we experience the same type of oxidative stress – causing us to have health issues, a poor complexion and it can even affect our mental health. This process happens when there is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Our bodies actually produce both free radicals and antioxidants naturally, however we need to be aware of excess free radical exposure to stay healthy. In order to keep these free radicals in check, we need to supply our body with more antioxidants.

Avoiding free radicals

For the most part, you can easily protect yourself from free radicals. Although it’s impossible to avoid total exposure, there are a few easy steps you can incorporate into your daily life that will help keep you and your skin healthy. Doing what you can to avoid the triggers I listed above will of course help, but antioxidants will be your best friend when it comes to fighting off free radicals.


Antioxidants are essential for the survival of all living things, so you can imagine how important they are for both our physical health and skin health. An antioxidant rich diet with a high plant intake has incredible health benefits. Superfoods such as dark berries, coffee, green tea and dark chocolate are just a few of the most popular and well known antioxidants. Now, as amazing as antioxidants are, you still have to keep in mind that you should never have too much of anything! Balance is important, and excessive intake of antioxidants can actually have a toxic effect on the body; so as tempting as it is, we really shouldn’t go eating excessive amounts of dark chocolate. As I’m sure you know, everything we put into our body has an affect on us, and for a lot of us, you can see just how healthy we are by our skin’s complexion! The skin is the largest organ in our body, so everything we apply to our skin during our daily routine is just as important as what we eat or drink! Skin care products that contain antioxidants can help prevent signs of aging such as photosensitivity, wrinkles and inflammation.

Antioxidants in products

Found in over 37 ZO products, it’s really easy to add any of these into your skin care regimen. Here are a few of my top favourite products:

Daily Power Defense (My #1!!!) – This product easily speaks for itself, is actually known as a “Powerful Antioxidant Serum” that promotes skin health, will help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and minimizes UV oxidative damage!

Retinol Skin Brighteners – All of the ZO retinols contain Vitamins C and E, which are a few of the most important antioxidants. This product will help repair/strengthen the skin and prevent future damage.

Firming Serum – This product is already tempting just by its name, who doesn’t want firm, plump skin? Well, this product does that and then some. The Firming Serum is one of the most popular and powerful anti-aging products which contains an exclusive plant stem cell complex that supplies powerful antioxidant protection to our skin.

Exfoliation Accelerator – Now this product has a holy trinity of benefits: it stimulates cell turnover, contains antioxidants that prevent future damage (Vitamin C & E), and has anti irritant properties to help soothe and calm the skin.

Complexion Renewal Pads – There’s a reason this product is part of the “Getting Skin Ready” kit. It’s an essential! Not only do they make your skin glow, but they also contain a botanical blend of ingredients that help reduce redness/inflammation and provide benefits from antioxidants.

These products are just a few of the amazing options you have to ensure that you protect your skin and your health. Even if you think that this might be a lot to try and incorporate into your daily life, try doing at least one thing to add some antioxidants into your lifestyle to prevent those free radicals. Every little step helps!

Xoxo Rosslynd