12 Products That Fight Free Radicals Because Your Skin Needs a Hero

Free radicals — we’ve all heard about them and seen at least one or two stories touting how the right products can reduce the effects of the dastardly particles. Yet few of us know what free radicals actually are. Before we move on to our radical-fighting skin care roundup, here’s a little science lesson.

What is a free radical?

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, free radicals occur when atoms become reactive. This happens when atoms aren’t surrounded by enough electrons, forcing them to bond with another atom to use its electrons to complete the outer shell. And, just like that, a free radical is born. While many people think that free radicals are floating in the air, they’re naturally created in the body as a response to things such as pollution, smoking, unhealthy diets, sun exposure and so on. Once they’re created, the oxidative process sets in, causing everything from fine lines and wrinkles to dark spots and more serious skin care concerns. So when you hear about a beauty product that combats free radicals, it’s not putting up a shield that makes them bounce off your skin, it’s helping to prevent those outside elements from getting the chance to create them in your body.

Now that you’re all caught up on what a free radical really is, let’s talk products. The best thing you can do for your skin to protect it from forming free radicals is to load up on antioxidants. Here are 12 skin care heroes to protect your skin with each and every use.

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