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What are free radicals?

Posted on October 4, 2017 at 8:35 PM

We all hear the term free radicals and free radical damage, and we all know they aren't good for you. But what are they?

Free Radicals are atoms or a group of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and is unstable and highly reactive. They can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Different factors such as diet, stress, smoking, alcohol, exercise, inflammation, drugs, exposure to sunlight and pollution can form free radicals. A free radical is stable when the atoms outermost shell is full, when the outermost shell is not full it becomes unstable. Atoms want to be stable so when they have become unbalanced they will either lose an electron or look for another atom to complete its outermost shell creating a bond with the other atom. These bonds are week and break causing the atom to lose an electron, become unstable and chemically reactive. This creates a vicious cycle causing this newly unstable molecule to seek another atom to steal and electron from another atom. This is called a cascade, a chain reaction that wreaks havoc on living tissue. There are many free radicals but the most common are oxygen free radicals known as Reactive Oxygen Species. Oxygen free radicals play a large roll in the overall aging process and are responsible for premature aging, hyperpigmentation (dark spots in the skin), different types of cancer including skin cancer, inflamation, damage to cell membranes and even cell death.

Source

International Dermal Institute www.dermalinstitute.com Author Dr. Diana Howard

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