Spots on the skin and dark spots on an apple, are they related?
The answer is yes, both are forms of “oxidation”; the same oxidation as rust on your metal lawn furniture. Oxidation is due to unbalanced oxygen molecules seeking balance by joining with another substance, sort of like a romantic breakup with both people on the rebound searching for another soul mate. Unlike the lonely person looking for the perfect lover, the unbalanced oxygen atom (referred to as a “free radical”) isn’t too choosy and will bind to anything that is attracted to oxygen. This isn’t just infatuation, but real chemistry causing dangerous changes to what it binds with, especially within our bodies.
When this happens, healthy cells are changed into sick ones, even disrupting DNA to cause cancer. We can witness free radical damage to the skin from the sun’s UV rays by age spots, premature aging, and wrinkles. So we may not really be aging after all, we’re just oxidizing!
Oxygen is all around us and our bodies require oxygen, so there is no escape. Free radicals are produced as oxygen’s bi-product of metabolism, even from breathing and exercise. But they are also in our environment from pollution, radiation, drugs, pesticides, fried foods, alcohol, and tobacco smoke, just to name a few.
So, are we fighting a losing battle with this invisible force? Not at all! A secret weapon does exist, called “antioxidants” that bind to a free radical and render it harmless, so oxidation doesn’t take place. You’ve seen the evidence when using lemon juice to keep an apple fresh. Our body has the capability to make antioxidants from the food we eat, but loses this ability as we age. Therefore, it is a good idea to eat foods with high antioxidant content, take antioxidant supplements, and use skin care products containing antioxidants to keep your skin looking bright!