What are free radicals?
So let’s head back to your high school days to get a better idea of free radicals and the roles they play in our everyday lives. We’ve all had the pleasure of taking a chemistry class whether it was in college or high school. But, it is from chemistry that a better understanding of free radicals can be gained.
How much do you remember about cells and molecules?
Now, if you looked at other areas of Skin Care By Louisa, you already know that we have detailed explanations of what cells and molecules are. Molecules are made up of one or more atoms and cells are composed of molecules.
Atoms are comprised of four properties: a nucleus, neutron, protons and electrons. Protons are positively charged particles; neutrons are negatively charged particles; the nucleus is responsible for telling the number of electrons that surround the atom.
Electrons are important because have the responsibility of bonding atoms together to form molecules [hmtad name=”Additional Ad Unit 12″ align=”floatright”]through a chemical reaction. Much like the sun and planets, electrons orbit or surround the atom. Two electrons is the maximum number needed to fill or complete the innermost shell. As a shell gets filled a new one emerges and the second shell has eight electrons.
The outer shell plays the most important role in the structure of the atom. Full outer shells usually won’t experience a chemical reaction because all atoms look to maintain a stable relationship.
There are a number of methods atoms attempt to achieve balance, they include:
- The outer shell can be filled to the max by either the addition or subtraction of electrons
- The outer shell can be filled by bonding actions with other atoms and a sharing of electrons.
- Sharing electrons is a readily accepted behavior by atoms. This reactions maintains the stability and balance it requires.
How Free Radicals are Formed!
The bonds that are formed usually do not break away, however when they do the end result is a molecule with an odd, unpaired electron.
Free radicals are the end result of the splitting of weak bonds. They are thieves in the sense that their sole purpose is capture an electron to gain stability. As the nearest molecule is attacked and loses its electron, that molecule now becomes a free radical starting a chain reactions eventually ending in the destruction of a living cell.
A free radical can develop during metabolism but your immune system has the ability to create them to fight against viruses and even bacteria.
Most people are familiar with the free radicals that are created due to environmental factor. Free radicals and cancer have been linked for years.
Enter antioxidants including vitamins and minerals. When our body becomes overloaded with free radicals and the normal defenses of the human body can’t fight them we call on antioxidants. However, if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur.
This is where we have the aging process, skin care and skin conditions, and health and nutrition issues develop.