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shutterstock_47781688What are free radicals?

Free radicals are unstable molecules with unpaired electrons. When a molecule has an odd, unpaired electron, it will try to become stable by either bonding with other atoms to share electrons, losing electrons to empty its outer electron shell, or stealing electrons to fill its electron shell.


When our bodies are exposed to pollutants and toxins, such as radiation, cigarette smoke, and pesticides, free radicals are formed. Our bodies also produce some free radicals during the natural metabolic processes in order to combat bacteria and viruses.

How do they harm the body?

When free radicals steal electrons from the molecules in the body’s healthy cells, the DNA of the cells changes and becomes damaged. These mutated cells start a chain reaction as they also steal electrons from the molecules of healthy cells, and the cells continue to be disrupted and can cause excessive damage if there are not enough antioxidants to combat this process. The damage caused by free radicals can lead to cancer, diseases, and premature aging. Free radical damage is particularly noticeable in the skin as wrinkles, lines, and creases become apparent.

How can you protect your body from them?

One way to protect your skin and the rest of your body from free radical damage is with antioxidants. Antioxidants are nutrients that prevent free radical damage as they donate their own electrons to stabilize the free radicals, and the antioxidants remain stable even without their lost electrons.

The body produces a certain amount of its own antioxidants to prevent free radical damage, but if there are more free radicals than antioxidants, cell damage will occur. Fortunately, we can also get antioxidants from the food we eat. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, so be sure to eat at least five servings of fruits and at least five servings of vegetables daily.

If you were unable to protect your skin from free radicals and the signs of aging are already apparent, we offer a variety of treatments to correct fine lines, wrinkles, facial hollows, indentations, dark spots, and blemishes. If you are interested in treatment to obtain smooth, youthful skin, contact the practice of board certified plastic surgeon Dr. John L. Roussalis by calling (307) 234-4585 or filling out our online contact form.