Oxidative stress is a cellular or physiological condition of elevated concentrations of reactive oxygen species that cause molecular damage to vital structures and functions. Several factors influence the susceptibility to oxidative stress by affecting the antioxidant status or free oxygen radical generation. Here, we review the effect of alcohol, air pollution, cigarette smoke, diet, exercise, non-ionizing radiation (UV and microwaves) and psychological stress on the development of oxidative stress. Regular exercise and carbohydrate-rich diets seem to increase the resistance against oxidative stress. Air pollution, alcohol, cigarette smoke, non-ionizing radiation and psychological stress seem to increase oxidative stress. Alcohol in lower doses may act as an antioxidant on low density lipoproteins and thereby have an anti-atherosclerotic property.