What Are Free Radicals and Antioxidants?

Free Radicals

Free radicals are unstable and highly reactive chemicals that damage cells. They are made when an atom or a molecule gains or loses an electron. When oxygen molecules separate, they become unstable free radicals and look for other atoms or molecules to react with and become stable. This is known as oxidative stress, and this causes damage to cells.

Studies have found that free radicals that undergo the process of oxidative stress cause:

  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Autoimmune diseases (the body attacks its own cells)
  • Inflammation of the joints (arthritis)
  • Cataract and decline in vision
  • Accelerates ageing
  • Genetic degenerative diseases
  • Certain cancers

Free radicals are found naturally in the body. However, exposure to toxins, smoking, drinking alcohol and overconsumption of fried foods increase free radical production.


Antioxidants are chemicals that neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing damage to the body cells by oxidation. The amazing thing about antioxidants is that they can lose an electron without becoming free radicals themselves. Endogenous antioxidants can be found in the body naturally and exogenous antioxidants, also known as dietary antioxidants, are obtained primarily from the diet.

Sources of antioxidants:

  • Fruits
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Green tea catechins
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains
  • Lean meat
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Seafood

Here is a list of 7 antioxidant cosmetic products that combat free radicals:

1) The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Face Cream

  • Clears free radicals and reduces wrinkles on the face.
  • Contains Sicilian lemon, grapefruit, oats, ginseng and horsetail herb.

2) Eau Thermale Avene A-Oxitive Antioxidant Defence Serum

  • Contains vitamin C & E to fight against oxidative stress.
  • Contains hyaluronic acid for skin hydration.
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

3) Image Vital C Hydrating Antioxydant Ace Serum

  • Contains a combination of plant antioxidants and vitamins A, C & E.

4) Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Anti-oxidant Serum

  • Hydrates and nourishes the skin.
  • Contains lactic acid that has antioxidant properties.

5) Paula’s Choice

  • Contains squalane which is a source of antioxidants.
  • Contains vitamin A, C & E. Protect against environmental damage and improves the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Provides skin hydration and anti-ageing benefits.
  • Reduces fine lines and wrinkles on the face.

6) MyChelle Pumpkin Cream Antioxidant-Rich Moisturizer with Shea Butter

  • Contains organic shea butter and pumpkin seed oil to nourish the skin.
  • Contains Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) to aid cellular repair.
  • Contain antioxidants spin trap, tocomin and astaxanthin.
  • Pumpkin seed oil cream is rich in vitamin E which is an antioxidant that protects the skin.

7) Cetaphil Body Lotion with Antioxidants for Aging Skin

  • Contains antioxidants and niacinamide that make the skin look more youthful and have a healthy glow.