Your skin is the literal protective armor of your body, a complex framework of layers, nerves, glands, and cells composed of fats, protein, water, and minerals to guard your body against injury and disease. With so many different things trying to get through your skin to do you harm, there are a lot of skin conditions that damage your body and a wide variety of treatments to help. So much of the damage in our bodies is on a molecular level, and free radicals are a type of microscopic invader the skin can definitely do without.
Retinoids are one of many chemicals that have a variety of uses but also have several helpful applications for treating the damage things like free radicals can do to the body. To better understand what it is and how it helps, let’s examine the basics about free radicals, how they damage your skin, and how retinoids can help.
If you live in the Lake Oswego, Oregon, area and you’re struggling with damaged skin due to free radicals and other factors, the Lake Oswego Laser Aesthetics (LOLA) team at Lake Grove ENT can help improve skin health.
Understanding free radicals
Molecules are particles made up of atoms, and for atoms to be stable, they need electrons surrounding the protons and neutrons to be stable. Free radicals are atoms with unstable protons; to compensate, they look for other atoms to bind with. There are various types, but the ones most harmful to humans are oxygen-free radicals, which come in the form of superoxides, hydrogen peroxide, singlet oxygen, and hydroxyl anions.
These particles can form when we’re exposed to things like cigarette smoke, radon, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, air pollution, some medical radiation, and chemicals found in occupational and environmental substances (vinyl chloride, asbestos).
How it affects your skin
The unstable nature of free radicals causes them to try to bind with anything they come in contact with, but other particles, like antioxidants, can keep them in check. When you don’t have enough antioxidants to keep free radicals in check, it creates what is known as oxidative stress, which causes cellular damage that has been connected to signs of disease and aging.
This includes problems like various forms of cancer, cataracts, autoimmune diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and signs of aging in your skin (discoloration, wrinkles, and creases).
How retinoids help
Vitamin A (also known as retinoic acid or retinol) is one of many nutrients our body needs to maintain health, specifically regarding vision, boosting immunity, reproduction, and cell division. As we mentioned before, it is also a source of antioxidants that are good against the harm free radicals can have on your body. We can get them from foods like spinach, liver, and various dairy products, and they come in the form of retinoids for skin care.
It is frequently used in topical applications to help skin that comes in over the counter and prescription doses to help with a variety of skin problems, including reducing inflammation, unclogging pores, slowing the signs of skin aging from UV overexposure, psoriasis, and pigmentary conditions.
Retinoids are a great topical solution for many skin conditions and just one of the tools we have to help you keep your skin healthy. Make an appointment with our LOLA department at Lake Grove ENT today to find out what we can do to keep your skin looking healthy and young.