Oxidative stress is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in our body, where the free radicals are presently more than antioxidants. Oxidation is an important process in our body. It happens when our body metabolizes oxygen to produce energy. This process also produces free radicals.
Free radicals are necessary to some extent as they help in the elimination of pathogens causing infection and other health problems. However, when there are more free radicals present than antioxidants, they can start causing damage to fatty tissue, DNA and proteins in our body. Over a long period of time, this can lead to diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, neurodegenerative disease (such as Parkinson and Alzheimer’s disease), cancer, premature aging and so on.
Sources of Free Radicals:
- Everybody produces some free radicals naturally in the body, which is normal.
- From the environment: radiation (including UV, x-rays, mobile phones), cigarette smoke, pollution, pesticides and other chemicals.
- Diet: high in sugar, fat, alcohol. These lead to inflamed liver and gut.
- Lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation increases oxidation.
- Excessive stress. Stress releases cortisol hormone which trigger inflammation.
- Excessive exercise.
- Chronic infection, such as dental infection.
How to Minimise Oxidative Stress:
- Get enough sleep and exercise regularly
- Do not smoke
- Decrease alcohol intake, avoid sugar and processed food
- Avoid chemicals exposure, such as pesticides used on food
- Use sunscreen
- Reduce stress. Allow time for daily stress remedies: go for a walk, meditation, talk to a friend, watch a funny show, etc.
- Include enough antioxidants in our diet: berries, cherries, citrus, prunes, dark leafy green, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, olives, fish, nuts, turmeric, ginger, green tea, onion, garlic and cinnamon.
As mentioned before, oxidative stress leads to premature aging including skin aging. So when treating aging skin, make sure you combine diet, lifestyle, advanced treatments and skincare. It is very important to look after your skin from the inside-out.
(Written by: Ria Turangan)