The skin is a protective envelope that is imperative for homeostasis (the ability of an organism to keep the inside functioning properly for survival). And because it is exposed, it gets targeted by an insane amount of damage from internal and external factors that manipulate the function and structure of the skin. One of the most significant processes that damage the skin and have been linked to cancer, diabetes, metabolic disorders, atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular diseases  is oxidative stress. Here, homeostasis is disrupted not only in the skin but in the body as well.
What is Oxidative Stress?
It's a whole process caused by an imbalance between the production and build-up of oxygen reactive species (also called free radicals, ROS, or oxygen radicals) in the body and skin (mostly created in your mitochondria where you produce energy). The process also includes the ability of the body to get rid of ROS.
How is Oxidative Stress Produced?
Internally, free radicals are generated from other processes in the body and skin like immune cell activation, inflammation, infection, excessive exercise, mental stress, and aging. Externally, their production occurs when you're exposed to harsh environments such as:
- Heavy metals (not heavy metal🤘)
- Certain drugs
- Toxic chemical solvents
- Cooking with oils and fat
- Cigarette smoke
- Radiation (like UV)
Oxidative stress is a by-product (shown above in green) when the above toxins absorb through the skin or body and are either degraded or metabolized.
Why you don't want too much
Too much of anything is not a good thing. And as mentioned above, oxidative stress can cause the onset of some serious diseases if the body is unable to detoxify or protect itself from an overproduction of ROS. The interaction with the build-up ROS on the body depends on:
If the body can’t get rid of it fast enough, ROS literally makes the cell end its life (dayum). This is called cell apoptosis, which easily causes skin aging mostly affecting the nose, surrounding regions, and the area between the eyebrows .
Why do you need it?
The body needs a microdose of some oxidative stress as it’s highly important for proper blood flow changes, it’s imperative for cell-to-cell signaling involved in the cause and resolution of thrombosis, and is crucial for normal neural activity.
Overproduction Occurs All The Time, What Can You Do?
With the rise of ROS in the body and skin, antioxidants are signaled to intervene and ‘scavenge’ out excess ROS by detoxifying the system in which it’s affecting. If the body’s antioxidants are unable to detoxify excess ROS, then external antioxidants like Vitamin C, E, and Dark Phyto Matter are able to get the job done. Learn more about GOA’s Collagen+Control Facial Serum and its role in taking down ROS in the skin.
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3. Scientific Reports. volume 10, Article number: 9626 (2020)