Acne and its treatment have baffled both scientist and the lay person for many years. On the face of it (no pun intended) it should be fairly easy to treat but even for people that have the most rigorous facial routines and medication breakouts keep happening, and now scientists think they have found the reason. Free radicals and I don’t mean a group of acne protesters.
What are Free Radicals?
Free Radicals are molecules that are essentially unleashed by ultraviolet light such as sunshine, and also by air pollution which create havoc to the human skin. These everyday environmental factors cause the oxygen within the environment to separate and form free oxygen radicals. These free radicals can destroy collagen, create dark spots, damage DNA and are now believed to be detrimental in the progression of acne and acne breakouts. It is believed that this occurs from the free radicals causing a certain inflammation to the skin which blocks pores trapping any dirt, bacteria, debris and dead skin cells within the pore which causes a pimple outbreak.
In simple terms oxygen is the Romeo that is constantly searching for his Juliet, a tragic romantic always looking to be part of the perfect pair, however when this can not be found, the oxygen molecule attaches itself to the human skin instead, and what does this molecule give your skin in return? Nothing it just destroys the essential fibers within the skin that keep it supple and firm.
Generally, throughout life you cannot escape having free radical trauma to your skin and body in general unless you spend you like hibernating in the dark. Whether you have acne or not wherever there are healthy cells you will also find less healthier cells. However, if our skin has more unhealthy than healthy cells then our skin is prone to problems such as aging quicker and pimple breakouts as over time the cells become more dehydrated, increasingly inflamed and less able to heal itself.
Plainly thinking free radicals scratch away at the walls of cells and at an individual’s DNA until eventually it causes the untimely death of that cell. This is not an overnight process however, it happens progressively overtime throughout every organ, consequently causing three things to happen throughout the body.
- Collagen fibers are attacked by the free radical cell essentially breaking the collagen fibers.
- The function of cell barriers decreases which ultimately affects how all the molecules can flow into and out of the cell. This in turn allows less oxygen and nutrients into the cell which then in turn causes the cells consequential death.
- The hydration of skin reduces as the cells struggle to retain water. Therefore, it becomes frequently easier for water to be released into the atmosphere from the skin.
Some of the main factors that are thought to increase free radical cells are
- Harsh/ heavily chemical based skin care products
- Sunlight/ UV lights
- Pregnancy (due to hormone levels)
- Stress/busy lifestyles
Therefore, in order to maximize your healthy skin and to prevent breakouts you should choose a healthy skin care range. It is essential that you check labels for example I recently brought a vitamin E moisturizing cream and it contained parabens for instance, thus really be critical when you purchase skin care products. To get the best of all worlds you should focus on the purity of the product, the ingredients used in the product and also be aware that the ingredients although they often sound good may not be effective in transposing through the skin and hydrating at a deep level.
Therefore, to get the best from your skincare range and avoid damage from free radicals you need to incorporate
- A good sun cream, this should be applied everyday even if you feel the weather is not particularly glorious, it is surprising how many people catch a suntan on a cloudy day, be sun-ray aware.
- Use products that contain vitamin A to reduce irritation and encourage reproduction of healthy cells.
- Use creams rich in antioxidants especially vitamin C.
- Use chemical free skin care products to reduce inflammation and trauma.
- Use a greatly effective cleanser that is based on lactic acid for instance in order to hydrate and promote healing of the top layers of skin which in turn will enable a proactive role.
The most important thing to remember is that free radicals sound intense and scary, however by following advice and taking care of your skin it should not affect your acne breakouts too horrendously and what does occur will be manageable.