Skin Care & Anti-Aging
With all the problems with conventional cosmetics (mineral oil, harsh detergent shampoos, benzalkonium chloride, and oil-based preservatives) premature aging of skin, hair, and nails can easily occur. Long-term skin damage can also occur due to allergic reactions such as hives, itchy rashes and dermatitis. Continued damage causes thickening of elastic fibers (polysaccharides), and mast cells (large tissue cells) which occurs in the lower layers, just as it does with ultraviolet irradiation of the upper layer. In short, the skin will prematurely age from the chronic inflammatory response to synthetic chemicals.
The human skin is truly up against a considerable amount of criteria that induces premature aging. External factors that damage the skin can include sunlight, air pollution, and harsh chemicals in the environment. Internal factors may include a poor diet, stress on the adrenal and/or thyroid glands, cigarette smoke, and lack of antioxidant nutrients.
Collagen, a protein, is one of the substances that gives our skin a youthful tone and suppleness. Collagen is especially susceptible to damage caused by free radicals (i.e. pollution, sunlight and radiation, chemicals, stress, harsh soaps and detergents, and many other toxins in the environment).
Famed dermatologist, Dr. Nicholas Perricone suggests a special eating regimen, a face lift or applying topical antioxidants. His diet includes a 6 ounce serving of fresh grilled salmon, a salad of romaine lettuce dressed with lemon juice and olive oil, and daily servings of fresh cantaloupe. These foods will help erase the fine lines and make the skin moist and smooth.
The logic of eating a diet high in antioxidants should reap benefits for better skin health. Antioxidants are mainly imparted in fresh vegetables, fruit, and legumes. Protein is also important and can be obtained from salmon, shrimp, and poultry.
- VITAMIN A
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that works wonders for the skin. Vitamin also plays a key role in the health of bones and teeth and can stimulate wound healing. Because topical vitamin A (retinol) is not stable in cosmetic preparations, it must be linked to fatty acids (retinyl palmitate). This will increase elasticity of skin and decrease skin roughness. In combination with 10% alpha-tocopherol acetate (vitamin E) vitamin A was shown to increase skin moisture and cellular renewal, thus decreasing skin wrinkling. Dosage: Oral doses of 5,000-10,000 IU daily if sufficient since the body can store vitamin A and too much can be toxic.
- ALPHA LIPOIC ACID (ALA)
ALA is a potent antioxidant that protects the skin from free radical damage, has anti-inflammatory activity and increases circulation. High-potency alpha lipoic acid face cream (along with Ester C) can give the skin a healthy glow in 3-5 days. Dosage: oral doses of 50 mg 3 times a day. Apply topically as directed on package..
- DMAE (DIMETHYLAMINOETHANOL)
DMAE is a nutrient that improves skin tone and lifts sagging eyebrows. DMAE works rapidly and actually changes can be seen in 20 minutes. Dosage: creams, capsules, and tinctures available, see package for directions.
- HYALURONIC ACID (HA)
HA is natural polysaccharide located in the connective tissue between collagen and elastin fibers and in the topmost skin cells. HA holds cells together, providing structural support to the skin while retaining precious moisture. HA can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so applying it causes skin to plump, fine lines flatten, and deeper wrinkles become less noticeable. Japanese researchers find that people who have taken hyaluronic acid rarely have skin cancer or need a sun block, and it keeps their skin from showing signs of aging. Dosage: 140-280 mg daily orally, or use cream forms with HA.
- B-COMPLEX VITAMINS
B complex vitamins help to rejuvenate cells, including skin cells, hair cells, fat cells, and nerve cells, all playing a role in contributing to the health of the skin and the complexion. The B vitamins are water soluble, and therefore need to be replenished on a regular basis. Dosage: 50-100 mg daily.
Astaxanthin is unlike other antioxidants because it is active in so many parts of the body, thus providing a more complete shield of antioxidant armor for the skin. Topical or oral supplementation may improve the appearance of fine wrinkles and improve moisture levels and elasticity of the skin. Dosage: As directed on package.
The free-form lutein, the yellow carotenoid that helps defend eyes against the sun’s rays, is now being recognized for lending its protective properties to sun-exposed skin as well, especially when paired with its nutrient partner ZEAXANTHIN. The basis of lutein’s effectiveness appears to lie in its ability to quench free radicals. Free radicals are unstable environmental molecules created by exposure to sunlight or toxins that rob our body of precious oxygen. Dosage: 4-8 mg daily.
- VITAMIN E
When applied topically alpha-tocopherol (a high-potency form of vitamin E) rapidly penetrates the skin and migrates to the areas near the sebaceous glands. Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and protects the skin against UV light damage, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and delays the progression of skin aging. Dosage: 200-800 IU daily.
- OMEGA 3, 6 ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS (EFAs)
Omega 3 Essential fatty acids (fish oil, flaxseed) act as precursors for ceramides that form the skin’s protective barrier. EFAs also help reduce inflammation, get moisture to the skin surface, help aid damaged cuticles, and promote normal hair growth. Evening primrose oil (containing gamma linolenic acid) is effective in treating excessive itching and has been the subject of studies in treating topical dermatitis and seborrhea. Dosage: 1,000-4,000 mg daily.
An antioxidant mineral that is a vital component of glutathione, and enzyme in the liver that battles free radicals. Selenium works with vitamin E, helping to boost the immune system, prevent cancer and cataracts, and may have anti-aging characteristics. Dosage: 100-200 mcg daily.
- GREEN TEA EXTRACT
This antioxidant is a frequent additive to skin preparations (topical and oral) used for protecting and nourishing the skin. Dosage: As directed on product.
Blumenthal, M. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, Austin, TX. American Botanical Council. 2003.
Broadhurst, CL. Antiaging Products for Skin, Hair and Nails. Nutrition Science News. October, 2000. 5(10): 428-432.
Hyaluronic acid. The Village of Long Life, ABCNEWS.com. October 30, 2005.
Looking to Lutein for Skin Protection. Healthy Profits, July/Aug 2005. 8(7): 2.
Perricone, N. The Wrinkle Cure. Warner Books, New York, NY. 2000
Petty. L. Miracle in a Jar? Hya;uronic acid. Alive #277, May 2005. P. 102.
Pure Encapsulations brochure. www.purecaps.com.
Roberts, AJ, O’Brien, ME, Subak-Sharpe, G. Nutraceuticals- The Complete Encyclopedia. Perigree Books. New York, NY. 2001.
Up Next: Raynaud's Disease