Everyone has probably heard of antioxidants, even if it is not always clear what is behind them and how they relate to the face cream sitting on the bathroom shelf. With free radicals, on the other hand, one often has to listen twice, and even then the association is more in the direction of a political extremist group rather than skin care.
This blog article explains in a simple way what free radicals and antioxidants are, what they have to do with men's skincare and how the two relate to each other.
Antioxidants are chemical compounds that prevent other substances from changing their structure by donating electrons - more simply put, antioxidants are constructs that protect cells from damage.
Antioxidants occur naturally in the human body (i.e. are produced naturally by the body) and are also found in a variety of foods such as blueberries, nuts and whole grains.
Free radicals are basically the exact opposite. They are molecules that are missing an electron, which makes the compound unstable. In their search for the missing electron, free radicals take from other cells, such as DNA or various proteins, and remove the required electron in order to use it themselves. This damages these cells and, since they are now missing an electron , they also become free radicals. Thus, a chain reaction is set in motion that can cause lasting damage to the body and is also known as oxidative stress. Various diseases and an accelerated ageing process are associated with this.
Our body naturally produces free radicals. However, the molecules are also favoured by factors such as smoke, UV radiation and pollution.
When left unchecked, free radicals can lead to premature skin ageing, fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of premature ageing are the consequence.
This is where antioxidants come in, as they can neutralise free radicals and prevent oxidative stress from damaging the skin.
Antioxidants explained in more detail
Antioxidants, as mentioned earlier, are substances produced naturally in the body that can protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules. Antioxidants are found in many foods, but also increasingly in dietary supplements and nowadays even in skincare products.
Antioxidants are virtually the resistance fighters against free radicals. In their search for an electron, free radicals damage cells. To prevent this, antioxidants give the free radicals an electron. This stabilises the molecules (making them no longer radical, so to speak) and prevents damage from being done to other cells. Antioxidants are structured in such a way that they can manage without the donated electron, meaning they do not become free radicals themselves.
Many face creams and skincare products support the skin through antioxidant ingredients. With Kluuf you will find the following products, for the perfect skin care for men:
Face cream (Kluuf's vegan face cream for men):
- Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
- Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Root Extract
After shave (Kluuf's vegan after shave care):
- Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract
- Beta Vulgaris (Sugar Beet) Root Extract
- Ginger Root Extract
- Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice Powder
- Spirulina Platensis Powder
- Chlorella Vulgaris Extract
- Bis(Tripeptide-1) Copper Acetate
Body lotion (Kluuf's vegan full body lotion for men):
Cleanser (Kluuf's vegan facial cleanser for men):
- Mineral Complex (INCI: Magnesium Aspartate & Zinc Gluconate & Copper Gluconate, Pentylene Glycol & Aqua).
It is important to mention that skincare products are only a support in the "hunt" for free radicals. The priority should be a healthy diet rich in antioxidants.
Free radicals explained in more detail
Free radicals are, as already laid out, unstable molecules that lack an electron, which they try to get elsewhere. This can damage cells and tissues in our body.
Free radicals are formed naturally in the body and are also produced by external factors such as smog or UV light. These molecules are also responsible for oxidative stress, which is thought to play a role in the development of various diseases (oxidative stress = the chain reaction when free radicals "steal" an electron from cells and these in turn are converted into free radicals and behave in the same way).
Our skin suffers particularly from free radicals, as these not only promote premature skin ageing, but also encourage inflammation and can even cause skin diseases such as eczema. In addition, the skin's natural defence mechanisms can be weakened by free radicals. This makes the skin even more vulnerable to external stressors such as UV radiation or pollution.
The best way to protect against free radicals, or limit natural exposure, is to limit the molecules' fostering factors. Specifically, this means:
- Using sunscreen
- Avoiding smoke (keyword tobacco)
- Eating a balanced diet
- Reducing stress
- Getting enough sleep*
*While we sleep, our body, or more precisely the brain, produces melatonin which in turn is considered to be the body's own antioxidant. So we basically create free radical 'hunters' while we sleep.
Antioxidants, Free Radicals & Skin Care
At Kluuf, we think of free radicals and antioxidants as two iconic adversaries: Batman and the Joker, Tom and Jerry, Luke and Darth Vader - the list goes on.
The fact is that antioxidants donate an electron that is superfluous to free radicals. This converts the molecule from unstable to stable and it is no longer considered a free radical, i.e. it is taken out of circulation or neutralised.
This not only prevents damage to various cells and membranes and limits oxidative stress, but also strengthens the skin's natural resistance.
In addition to a conscious lifestyle that promotes antioxidants, these electron donors can also be absorbed through skincare to prevent cell damage. It is important to emphasise that skincare should be seen as additional care and can never replace restful sleep and a balanced diet.
What must not be forgotten with all the positive properties of antioxidants is that a high concentration of free radicals can significantly hinder or limit a low number of antioxidants. So it is by no means the case that a few blueberries a day offset several hours of unprotected sun light or a night without sleep.
We from Kluuf strongly believe that a healthy balance of all factors leads to success.
So, in summary, antioxidants are the perfect adversaries for free radicals. Both structures occur naturally in the body and there are a variety of factors that favour both of them. A balanced lifestyle that includes a vitamin-rich diet is just as important as rest and avoidance of external stressors such as UV radiation. Sustainable skincare products such as face creams and lotion also support the body with antioxidants.
Antioxidants should be a part of every sustainable skincare routine, not just for men and with Kluuf. However, for those who value simple skincare that is not only effective, vegan & sustainable, but also does good with every application, antioxidants can be found in the following Kluuf products for men:
Kluuf's face cream - buy here
Kluuf's body lotion - buy here
Kluuf's cleanser - buy here
Kluuf's after shave - buy here