What causes skin aging?
The number one cause of skin aging is from sun damage (excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays) and environmental pollution such as cigarette smoke (one puff on a cigarette or breathing in second hand smoke introduces several trillion rampaging free radicals into your body and doesn't allow oxygen to reach the skin, and depletes the body of Vitamin C). Other contributing factors are smog, and chemicals. These factors cause cross-linking of collagen and elastin (the fibers become disorganized bundles instead of fibers that are lined up properly), which often results in a free radical cascade, causing your skin to age. The end result is sagging skin and deep facial lines. Additionally, the lack of circulation, lack of proper nutrition and/or lack of sleep are other reasons. Your family genes can also play a significant role in the way your skin responds to the aging process.
What does Oxidative Stress mean?
Oxidative Stress (OS) is a general term used to describe the steady state level of oxidative damage in a cell, tissue, or organ, caused by the reactive oxygen species (ROS). This damage can affect a specific molecule or the entire organism. Reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals and peroxides, represent a class of molecules that are derived from the metabolism of oxygen and exist inherently in all oxygen breathing organisms. There are many different sources by which the reactive oxygen species are generated. Most reactive oxygen species are exogenous -- they originate or grow within an organism or tissue as by-products of normal and essential metabolic reactions, such as energy generation from mitochondria or the detoxification reactions involving the liver cytochrome P-450 enzyme system. Exogenous sources include exposure to cigarette smoke, environmental pollutants such as emission from automobiles and industries, excessive alcohol consumption, asbestos, and exposure to ionizing radiation, bacterial, fungal or viral infections.
What are free radicals?
Free radicals are normal oxygen bearing units that wander off their intended paths of usefulness. They contain vital oxygen for the deepest tissue respiration. They are highly reactive chemicals that have unpaired electrons. This process is called oxidation. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, "stealing" its electron. When the "attacked" molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of living cells. Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism and sometimes the body's immune system's cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals. Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Free radicals can damage important cellular molecules such as DNA or lipids or other parts of the cell. Also, free radical damage accumulates with age.
What is an antioxidant?
An antioxidant is an ingredient to counteract oxidation and destroy, neutralize or re-direct free radicals (rogue oxygen molecules). They neutralize free radicals by donating one of their own electrons, ending the electron-"stealing" reaction. The antioxidant nutrients themselves don't become free radicals by donating an electron because they are stable in either form. Antioxidants act as scavengers, helping to prevent cell and tissue damage that could lead to cellular damage and disease. They chemically react with free radicals to convert the rogue oxygen (reactive oxygen species) into water. Antioxidants are important agents in protecting the cells from oxidative damage caused by rogue oxygen free radicals that can lead to premature aging.