Science Lesson: The Free Radical Theory of Aging

As you all know from my website and blog, sharing my skin knowledge with others is important to me. I love learning, which is why I’ve completed several courses of advanced cosmetic chemistry at UCLA in California. Here’s a picture of me at the October 2017 course. It is at these courses that I learn about new skin care ingredients, product formulations and the how to achieve youthful-looking, glowing skin.

So here’s my science lesson for today. I am a firm believer in the free radical theory of aging. This theory says that the main reason why we age is that unstable electrons in molecules know as free radicals attack healthy cells and change their composition so that they do not function the way normal, younger cells do.

What is a Free Radical?

Free radicals are unstable molecules. Instead of paired electrons spinning around the nucleus, there is only one. This causes the molecule to become unstable. This single electron wants to be paired so it attaches itself to other molecules in the body, causing cellular damage. These free radicals are very potent toxins that damage our skin because they attach to the proteins and other essential molecules, making them unstable to function normally and causing premature death of a cell. (I know, it sounds tragic!)

Causes and Types of Free Radical Damage

The skin is under attack from free radicals due to UVA and UVB rays from the sun, pollution, stress smoking, alcohol, fatty foods and even aerobic repetitive exercise. The parts of the cells damaged are DNA, lipids and proteins that make up the cells. This slows down the production of collagen and elastin which is essential in keeping the skin firm and preventing wrinkling. This happens beneath our skin very gradually, making wrinkles, brown spots and sagging become apparent over time.

Can the Process of Free Radical Damage Be Slowed?

Yes—Antioxidants to the rescue! Applied topically and taken internally, antioxidants (like stabilized Vitamins A, C and E) are great at slowing the process of aging. Here’s how antioxidants work: remember that lonely electron that wanted so badly to be paired? Antioxidants are able to give free radicals one of their electrons without becoming unstable themselves. This prevents free radicals from attaching to the molecules in healthy cells and causing damage.

Foods such as vegetables and fruits (look for the darker pigmented ones) are high in antioxidants and are extremely important to consume daily. Make sure you’re getting your daily dose of the ten best antioxidant foods.

Recent scientific research has shown today’s antioxidants can be extremely effective in preventing premature skin aging when added in high concentration to anti-aging serums.

Read: What Is A Serum And Do I Really Need One?

Choose Skincare Products With the Following Antioxidants.

  • Stabilized Vitamin C (Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate)
  • Peptides 
  • Superoxide Dismutase (a powerful anti-inflammatory for acne-prone skin) found in Renée Rouleau Skin Correcting Serum

In your quest for anti-aging, you must have a healthy, balanced lifestyle combined with a good diet and skin care products loaded with antioxidants!

Antioxidant Serum

Disclaimer: Content found on and, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.


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  1. The Vitamin C&E Complex is to be used daily under SPF so start with that one! You’ll love it!

    Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

  2. Great Article!!! Which product should we use if we can only get one….vit c or the white tea?? They all sound great!!!!

    Posted By: Amy  | 


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