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Free Radicals

We often hear the words ‘free radicals’ when talking about the importance of protecting the skin, but what are ‘free radicals’ and what damage can they can do?

A free radical is an atom or group of atoms that has an unpaired electron and is therefore unstable and highly reactive.

An atom becomes unstable and dangerous when it loses one of its electrons in its outer most shell. When the outermost shell is not full this makes the atom unstable. As a result it will try and stabilize itself by bonding with another atom that is also looking to complete its outer shell.  Free radicals form when an uneven number of electrons remain. This means the electron is unpaired, making it chemically reactive. It will now try and steal an electron from a neighbouring molecule to balance itself.  Once a free radical forms it can create a free radical cascade that quickly wreaks havoc on living tissue, in particular, our skin causing accelerated ageing.

Free radicals can form spontaneously but are also triggered by external environmental aggressions like UV, pollution, medication and smoking.  These free radicals attack our collagen and elastin (our skin’s support system which keeps skin smooth and firm), promote pigmentation flaws and leave skin looking dull and lifeless.

Gatineau have spent many years studying the negative effects of free radicals on the skin and as a result ensure all of their moisturisers contain anti-oxidants.  Anti-oxidants are a group of beneficial vitamins and minerals that are capable of neutralizing free radicals and prevent damage to our skin cells.  Always ensure you protect your skin morning and evening with a protective moisturiser containing anti-oxidants – your skin will be younger for much longer!

 

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