The human skin has a surface area of approximately 1 to 1.5 square meters and is far more than merely a protective barrier. Your skin is a living organ, with various purposes and benefits. The skin regulates excretion of metabolic waste products, it regulates and adjusts temperature, and includes numerous receptors for detecting pain, tactile sensation, and pressure. The health and external appearance of the skin correlates directly with the lifestyle and dietary habits of each individual, in addition to critical age-related contributing factors such as hormonal changes and imbalance.
The skin plays a vital role in the social and visual experience, as it can clearly give away an individual's age and reflects the consequences of aging. Skin ageing is influenced by various internal & external factors:
Ultraviolet radiation, excess alcohol consumption, tobacco abuse, environmental pollution, stress, hormone levels and chronological ageing.
In addition, people don't realize that as their body weight increases and their blood sugar levels rise, biochemical reactions disrupt the structural framework of their skin. These two factors together lead to cumulative deterioration in skin appearance and function.
Frequently Asked Questions
- 1How does skin age with time?
- 2How does one help prevent accelerated skin ageing?
- 3What is the Anatomy and Function of the skin?
- 4Which 4 Main INTRINSIC Factors are responsible for Skin Aging?
- 5What are the EXTRINSIC FACTORS in Premature Skin Aging?
- 6What effect does UV Wavelengths and Infrared A have on the Skin?
- 7What are the Environmental Toxins that cause EXTRINSIC skin ageing?
- 8What are Dietary Strategies to Promote Youthful Skin Appearance and combat skin ageing?
- 9Is there an Optimal Diet for Skin Health?
- 10Is there a connection between Skin Health and Gut Health?
- 11What Medical Procedures and Modalities are there To Combat Skin Aging?
- 12What topical Interventions are there to restore skin health at Skin Renewal?
- 13How does Hormone Therapy help prevent Skin Aging?
- 14How does DHEA and Melatonin help skin ageing?
- 15What Nutritional Supplementation is there to Combat Skin Aging?
- 16Why does one need to supplement with Vit D3?
- 17What Photoprotective Nutrients are there for skin health?
- 18What Are Cutting-Edge Topical Ingredients?
Each individual has different genetic makeup and lifestyle habits, this will contribute to changes in normal physiological functions within the skin, and may lead to decline by 50% by middle age.
Within the skin, ageing is associated with various biological changes: a loss of fibrous tissue, slower rate of cellular renewal, and a reduced vascular and glandular network.
Barrier function to protect the skin and maintains cellular hydration also becomes impaired. The subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) flattens, particularly affecting the face, hands and feet.
To prevent rapid deterioration of youthful skin, action needs to be taken to support the skin's intrinsic defense systems. Fortunately, through the latest scientific innovations and practices, it is possible to dramatically slow down, and potentially reverse, the signs and symptoms of accelerated skin aging.
- Topical interventions containing scientifically advanced ingredients (such as growth factors, peptides, retinols etc) that help support youthful skin structure and function,
- and targeted nutritional supplements that fortify your skin form the inside out ensuring a healthy body to support a healthy skin.
The skin is comprised of three distinctive layers, the epidermis, the dermis and hypodermis. Each layer is unique with its own particular cellular makeup and physiological function.
The epidermis (outer-most layer) is comprised of two main substances: keratin, which strengthens the skin, and melanin, found in the basal layer of the epidermis giving the skin its individual color. Important cellular components in immune recognition of pathogens, called Langerhans cells, also reside in the epidermis. The epidermis provides protection against the environment; the stratum corneum being the outermost layer providing the primary barrier to pollution, UV exposure and other stresses.
The dermis lies directly below the epidermis and provides a basis of strength and support. Unlike the epidermis, the dermis contains a multitude of nerves, blood vessels and fibroblasts that provide sensory receptors, deliver nutrients, and maintain the structural foundation of the skin. Collagen is the most abundant connective material within the dermis with the primary function of maintaining skin firmness. Elastin protein fibers combine with collagen to give the skin elasticity so the skin can move and bounce back to its original form. The base of the dermis is composed of substances such as complex sugars, glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulphate. Combined these substances form a "cementing and gelling" base. This "base" is able to bind to water molecules, allowing nutrients and oxygen into the various tissues and protects the dermal structural layer. New cells are produced within the dermis before they eventually migrate toward the outer layers (the epidermis).
The bottom layer of the skin is the hypodermis. This deepest layer contains adipocytes (fat cells) that insulate the body and help to preserve heat, as well as other connective tissues.
Skin contains the sebaceous (eccrine) glands and sweat (apocrine) glands, which help to prevent dryness by producing vital oils and moisture, protect skin against bacteria, and maintain core body temperature (thermoregulation).
Premature skin ageing can result due to various factors such as intense physical and psychological stress, alcohol intake, poor nutrition, overeating, environmental pollution, and UV exposure to name a few.
Intrinsic skin aging is determined primarily by genetic factors such as hormonal status and metabolic reactions, such as oxidative stress. The skin is a living organ and thus at risk of similar degenerative effects seen in other organs such an ageing heart, liver and lungs. Interesting enough, due to its visibility, the skin outwardly discloses many aspects of our inner health and can be seen as the dashboard of our inner workings.
- Cellular aging is the process by which a cell becomes old and can no longer replicate. This phenomenon is known as "replicative senescence", and can be the result of DNA damage caused by various factors such as UV radiation, toxins, or age-related deterioration. A typical sign of replicative senescence is the shortening of telomeres, the "caps" at the ends of DNA strands that help ensure chromosomal stability.
- Due to the nature of the skin organ, skin cells are some of the most rapidly dividing and reproducing cells in the body. However, as DNA damage accumulates with age, the rapid replication of skin cells causes them to be vulnerable to replicative senescence, especially if there was minimal or no efforts to protect skin cells from damage.
- With aging, there is a decline in the level of most hormones, including the anti ageing sex hormones estrogen, testosterone, DHEAs (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate), and growth hormones. These particular hormones have great influence on the skin and affect the ageing process.
- When is comes to hormones,balance is crucial. This can be seen in clear examples during an individual's life: while escalating sex hormones during puberty increase the likelihood of skin acne, declining hormonal levels with aging accelerate skin deterioration and visible ageing.
- For women, the particular change in estrogen hormone levels during menopause is accompanied by significant changes within the skin.
- Estrogen hormones influence the skin's thickness, wrinkling, and moisture levels. Estrogen binds to receptors on skin cells, activating gene expression that modulates skin cell renewal. With declining estrogen levels, skin cellular renewal becomes sluggish, resulting in thinning of the epidermal and dermal layers. Capillary blood circulation velocity decreases significantly, thus reducing the ability to provide nutrients, growth factors and oxygen to the skin cells. As a result the skin looses its ability to maintain hydration, strength and elasticity. This leads to the aged appearance of a tired, wrinkled and hollow face.
- The skin is the outermost barrier separating internal tissue from the environment, as an occupational hazard the skin is regularly exposed to UV radiation and air pollution. Exposure to these damaging factors create and increase the production of highly volatile molecules called free radicals, which go on to wreak havoc in the cellular environment of the skin.
- Chronic free radical assault leads to the appearance of uneven, blotchy pigmentation, and subverts the structural framework of the skin, giving rise to wrinkles and sagging skin. Free radicals also arise from internal, metabolic reactions like glycation from elevated blood sugar, so simply avoiding exposure to UV light is not adequate for optimal protection.
- Oxidative stress plays a central role in initiating and driving events that cause skin aging at the cellular level. Oxidative stress breaks down collagen, alters cellular renewal cycles, damages DNA, and promotes the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (cytokines), which trigger the generation of inflammatory skin diseases. It is also established that free radicals participate in the pathogenesis of allergic reactions in the skin.
- In addition to the skin's antioxidant defense, epidermal immune cells called Langerhans cells help protect the skin by recognizing antigens (foreign substances) and inducing antibody defense responses. In ageing skin there is a reduced number of immune Langerhans cells, which decreases the skin's ability to ward off stressors or infection that may impact its health. This is critical, because with advancing age, skin immunity declines, increasing the incidence of infection, malignancies and structural deterioration (skin aging).
Elevated Blood Sugar Levels and Glycation:
- While external factors such as sun exposure can accelerate extrinsic skin aging, scientific evidence points to glucose-driven intrinsic aging. Glucose is a vital cellular fuel. However, chronic glucose exposure, such as with diabetic patients, has long been known to affect how the body ages by a process called glycation.
- To explain: the same browning reaction that occurs when you cook meat at high heat takes place at a slower rate to long-lived tissue proteins such as collagen in our bodies. When the proteins in meat are exposed to heat and carbohydrates in the absence of moisture, they cause it to turn brown in a chemical process called the Maillard reaction. Similarly, in the human body, once sugars enter the circulation, they attach themselves to the amino groups of tissue proteins such as collagen to slowly rearrange their youthful structure into the main culprits of damage, called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGE molecules are particularly destructive when they form chemical bridges and undergo extensive cross-linking with other proteins. As a result, once healthy collagen fibers lose their elasticity, they will become rigid, more brittle, and prone to breakage. Strong scientific evidence also indicates that glycation reactions are promoted by oxidative stress and lead to the production of reactive oxygen species ROS in the skin.
- This assault on the skin's structural support system contributes to the aging of tissues and, when accelerated by hyperglycemia, to the gradual development of diabetic complications. Collagen abnormalities with aging and in diabetics have widespread consequences for the skin. These include as thinning of the skin, discoloration, loss of elasticity, and tendency to rashes and infections.
- Laboratory research shows that once formed, AGEs can be self-perpetuating—directly inducing the cross-linking of collagen even in the absence of glucose. Glycation also induces fibroblast apoptosis (cell death), which creates a state of cellular senescence that has been shown to switch fibroblasts from a matrix-producing to a matrix-degrading state. In this state, the secretion of collagen-degrading enzymes, called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), increases and levels of their inhibitors decline.
- In fact, glycation directly increases the release of MMP-1, which preferentially breaks down collagen. While these assaults on the skin occur internally, external sources of oxidative stress can also aggravate skin aging. In particular, sun exposure increases levels of MMP-1 in the skin.
UV Radiation and "Photoaging"
- The intrinsic ageing of the skin is worsened by environmental (extrinsic) factors. One of the most damaging extrinsic factors leading to accelerated skin ageing is solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and Infrared (IR) radiation. Extensive clinical trials and studies have determined that prolonged sun exposure is a primary causal factor in various skin diseases including, premature aging, inflammatory conditions, melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
- A series of harmful biochemical reactions occur within the skin when it is exposed to excess UV radiation; this process is referred to as photoaging.
- Chronic sun exposure damages the dermal connective tissue and changes normal skin metabolism. In addition to depressing the individual's immunity, and stimulating oxidative stress and inflammation, UV radiation increases the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPS), enzymes that degrade collagen. The destruction of collagen is a major contributor to the loss of skin suppleness and structure that occurs with advancing age.
- The major targets of UV irradiation in the skin are the surface epidermal layers; this results in the depletion of antioxidants such as alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which decreases the overall antioxidant capacity within the skin. Secondarily to the depletion of vital antioxidant molecules in the epidermis, intrinsic antioxidant defense systems begin to fail; these include superoxide dismutase SOD, catalase, and glutathione-S-transferase.
A suntan is evidence of skin damage, and represents the skin's attempt to protect itself from further damage.
UV-A radiation (which is a long wave) accounts for the largest percentage of total UVR (90–95%). These wavelengths penetrate deeper into the epidermis and dermis of the skin causing oxidative stress that stimulates post-UV inflammation and hyperpigmentation (melanin production). It is oxidative stress that creates the "tanned" skin, which many strive for as it is often mistakenly associated with health and vitality.
UV-B radiation (mid wave)although it compromises only about 5% of the total UVR, UV-B radiation is highly damaging to DNA and epidermal keratinocytes. UV-B radiation is mainly responsible for burning the skin and often leads to non-melanoma skin cancer.
It is important to note: UV-B radiation also stimulates the synthesis of vitamin D within the skin. However, obtaining optimal 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 50 – 80 ng/mL through sun exposure only is NOT IDEAL as the damaging consequences of excess sun exposure will override the beneficial effects of vitamin D. Therefore, SUPPLEMENTATION with about 5,000 – 8,000 IU of vitamin D daily is a more favorable method for ensuring optimal vitamin D status for most individuals.
- Tobacco,in all forms of smoking, is a major factor that contributes to many chronic diseases and reduced life expectancy. Studies have confirmed that smoking tobacco damages the skin on various levels.
- On the molecular level, tobacco smoke produces oxidative stress. This then impairs blood flow and lymphatic circulation, and triggers DNA damaging reactions, making the skin more vulnerable to disease and aging visually.
- "smokers skin", due to the decreased circulation, is characterized by increased fine lines and wrinkles, uneven color and tone, dehydration, dull and frail skin. It is interesting to note that smokers who quit will notice a dramatic improvement in the visual appearance of their skin. This is due to the reduces toxin exposure and improved circulation resulting in the skin appearing more youthful and bright.
- Pollution: In addition to UV radiation and smoking, pollution is a factor in premature skin aging. Epidemiological studies have correlated pollution levels with poor health status. Specifically, recent studies relate particle pollution to advanced skin aging.
- Most notably, skin hyperpigmentation and sluggish skin cell renewal has been observed in both human and animal studies. Individuals concerned with maintaining youthful skin as they age should also review Health Renewal's protocol for Metabolic Detoxification, as the information therein can be utilized to help dampen the consequences of environmental toxin exposure.
The skin is the "visual" organ shown to the world, it is thus the beauty industry's primary objective to improve the appearance of skin with sophisticated topical treatments and interventions. However, the importance of offering support to the health & beauty of the skin from within is often overlooked. This can easily be achieved with proper nutrition and supplementation.
In addition to the well-documented role of a wholesome, plant-based diet in maintaining the youthful vivacity of the skin, modern nutritional science is elucidating the relationship between specific nutrients and optimal skin health.
Sadly, the typical Western diet falls considerably short of providing the nutritional composition needed to keep skin healthy and vibrant.
NR 1: Macronutrient Composition and Glycemic Load - The Western diet contains excessive amounts of simple carbohydrates and saturated fats. This dietary pattern correlates with an increased appearance of skin wrinkles.
- The glycemic index (GI) measures how rapidly and significantly foods cause blood sugar elevations following consumption. Epidemiology data suggest that a high glycemic diet may contribute to inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema as well.
- Insulin resistance and inflammation disrupt sebum production, cause collagen malformation, and excite the epidermal growth factor receptor, which is involved in tissue renewal, but can also stimulate inflammatory reactions in the skin cells.
- When sugar comes in contact with collagen (a protein), a devastating reaction, called glycation, occurs resulting in the formation of tissue-destroying advanced glycation end products (AGES). Glycation occurs in all tissues of the body, but is accelerated by a high sugar diet and, within the skin, excessive sun exposure.
- Protein glycation and AGE formation are accompanied by increased free radical activity in skin collagen, which accelerates skin aging. All of these changes create an environment within the skin that favors degradation of collagen, compromising the integrity and regeneration of skin tissues.
NR 2: Fatty acid composition:
- Within the skin, fatty acids make up an integral component of cell walls (membranes) that help maintain cell structure and function.
- Clinical studies show that the healthy balance of fatty acids in skin dramatically decreases with aging and increased oxidative stress, such as that caused by chronic sun exposure. Therefore obtaining the right amount (and type) of fats through diet or supplementation is critical to maintain healthy skin as we age.
- Traditional and non-Westernized diets offer a more balanced intake of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (typically at a ratio of about 4:1) Today, the Western diet provides a ratio of about 15:1 or more of omega-6's to omega-3's.
- Excessive amounts of the omega-6 fat arachidonic acid, found in relatively high quantities in egg yolks, poultry skin, and organ meats from animals fed corn-based diets have a pro-inflammatory effect in the body (including the skin).
- Conversely, fish oil rich in the omega-3 oils (EPA and DHA) inhibit the production of inflammatory metabolites. Due to their ability to modulate inflammation, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are effective in the management of inflammatory skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and rosacea.
NR 3: Micronutrient & Antioxidant density:
- For some time, nutrition experts have recommended choosing whole foods that are micronutrient- and antioxidant-dense over commercially-manufactured, overly processed foods negligible in micronutrients yet rich in fat and carbohydrate calories. This is a critical consideration for skin health as well.
- Clinical studies have shown that catechins from green tea, anthocyanins from darkberries and red cabbage, bioflafanoids from citrus, carotenoids such as lycopene and lutein from tomatoes, Resveratrol from red wine and genistein from soy offer potent secondary antioxidant protection in the skin. By including these types of foods more often in the diet, the antioxidant defenses in the skin can be optimized.
NR 4: Sodium (salt) and Hypertension – The Western diet relies heavily on over-processed, salty foods and some studies suggest that high sodium intake increases the risk of developing hypertension. Studies have shown that those with borderline and established hypertension have significantly lower skin capillary densities than non-hypertensive subjects. A recent trial proved that by reducing sodium intake in hypertensive subjects, even modestly, microcirculation and capillary densities in the skin can be improved.
NR 5: Caloric Intake – Data indicate that calorie restriction (CR) promotes longevity through improving body composition and optimizing metabolic function. Caloric restriction may promote healthier skin aging due to improved skin cell renewal and repair mechanisms as well.
Studies indicate that the Mediterranean diet is linked with improved health and longevity. The Mediterranean dietary pattern centers upon fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, monounsaturated fats (MUFA; like those found in olive oil), and a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs).
An impressive amount of epidemiological data link the Mediterranean diet with improved cardiovascular, cognitive, and metabolic health.
The unique properties of this diet are also of particular interest for the skin. The Mediterranean diet may exert an anti-inflammatory effect due in part to its emphasis on extra virgin olive oil, which is high in compounds that modulate oxidative stress and quell inflammatory reactions. A particularly interesting olive oil compound is oleocanthal. This compound has been recently been shown to possess anti-inflammatory actions similar to ibuprofen. In one hospital-based study in Italy, researchers gathered and compared medical and lifestyle history, as well as sun exposure habits and dietary patterns from over 300 controls to over 300 cases of cutaneous melanoma patients. Upon analysis and careful control for sun exposure and pigmentary characteristics, shellfish, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids, regular tea drinking, and greater consumption of fruits and vegetables were associated with improved skin health.
The human skin harbors a variety of microorganisms, which are known as the skin microbiota. Within the skin, there is a complex network of interactions between the microbes and cells of the epidermis (outermost skin layer). Friendly bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria are well documented for effectively treating certain infections, promoting healthy immunity, and reducing skin inflammation.
Orally administered pre- and probiotics have been shown in vivo to rebalance the skin microbiota and optimize skin barrier function. Additionally, oral probiotics boost cellular antioxidant capacity and combat inflammation as well.
Moreover, probiotics have a list of benefits and help to:
- neutralize toxic byproducts;
- defend the lining of the intestine;
- increase the bioavailability of some nutrients and;
- reinforce the intestinal barrier against infectious microbes that may harm healthy skin.
As the quest for youth and beauty continues to evolve, research advancements within the cosmetic and medical aesthetics industry have seen exponential growth over the last 20 years. Within corrective non-surgical aesthetics, the most sought after treatments include those with the least amount of down time and minimal risk, as available from Skin & Body Renewal clinics.
- Lasers (Laser Genesis, Pearl laser, Pearl fractional);
- Intense pulsed light IPL ( Limelight, PhotoGenesis ), Syneron SR;
- Hyaluronic acid based fillers Juvederm/ Surgiderm by Allergan , Restylane / PerLane/ Emervel by Galderma
- Botulinum toxin (such BOTOX® and Dysport)
- Chemical peeling,
- Radiofrequency (Exilis, Tripollar, Accent)
- Microdermabrasion procedures
- Mesotherapy (transdermal and injectable versions)
- (Please see listed treatments on the right hand side of this webpage)
Medically supervised treatments such as exfoliation-type (microdermabrasion) or chemical peels have been performed for years to rejuvenate the skin. Glycolic acid chemical peels offer a non-invasive treatment to help renew skin surface. After application, the peel lifts off the surface layer of the skin to bring out a radiant glow and minimize visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. Although chemical peels are used mostly on the face, they can also be used to improve the skin on the neck and hands.
With advanced technology there are now a multitude of devices and mechanisms available to thermally treat the skin. These include laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) skin resurfacing and may require a mild anesthetic and short recovery period.
To date, fractional laser resurfacing (Pearl Fractional) have become popular in medical aesthetic practices as they have exhibited favorable outcomes with minimal recovery time. In general, this type of treatment involves the application of a focused laser light to the skin. With the heat generated by the light, upper and middle layers of skin are removed. After skin healing, general results show a visible improvement in skin coloration and softening of fines lines and wrinkles.
To help restore volume, smooth skin appearance and minimize fine lines and wrinkles, semi-permanent (BOTOX®, Dysport, Juvederm®), and more permanent dermal fillers (Restylane®) are treated to the eye area, forehead and nasolabial folds (smile lines). The procedure occurs with a local injection to the treated area of the face, performed by a medical Doctor. Depending on the type of injectable treatment used, results generally last from 3 to 4 months (BOTOX® and Dysport treating fine lines and dynamic wrinkles) 18 months to 3 years Restylane®/ Juvederm for static lines and volume replacement. A combintion of the injectable treatments are commonaly knows as a Liquid Facelift to give instant results and restore youthful appearance. .
Since their introduction in the 1980’s, "cosmeceuticals" (a topical product that exerts both cosmetic and therapeutic benefits), have continued to evolve to ward off the signs of skin aging. In the last few years, skin cell regenerating creams have been brought to market to combat the signs of skin aging. The gold standard for skin rejuvenation are retinoids such as retinol, retinaldehyde and retinoic acid.
A new concept for skin ageing is to include the GRASS principles into one skin rejuvenation program:
- G - for growth factors and peptides which stimulate collagen production
- R - for retinoids which stimulate collagen
- A - for antioxidants to protect the collagen that you have
- S- sunscreen to prevent skin ageing for UV and Infra red radiation
- S - speciality creams for acne, pigmentation, rosacea, dryness, pores, oiliness.
The use of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) (patented by Neostrata) has been shown to improve skin texture and reduce the signs of aging by promoting cell shedding in the outer layers of the epidermis and by restoring hydration. They are used often to improve skin texture and for treating mild to moderate photo-damage.
The most common ingredients used in formulations and peels include;
- Citric Acid
- Glycolic Acid
- Lactic Acid
- Malic Acid
- Pyruvic Acid
- Phytic Acod.
Age-related changes in hormone levels, especially that which occurs during the menopausal years for women, have dramatic effects on skin health. Therefore, utilizing natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BIHRT from Reakiri) as a means to maintain hormones in a youthful range is a provocative strategy for combating skin aging. Several trials, and many happy patients, have shown that hormone replacement therapy improves skin quality in addition to improving overall quality of life.
To assess the effects of estrogen replacement therapy on skin aging, 40 post-menopausal women received systemic estrogen replacement therapy for seven, 28-day cycles. By the end of the trial, skin elasticity and hydration improved significantly, with no adverse effects reported.
In another trial, researchers aimed to assess the effects of systemic estrogen therapy on skin collagen in post-menopausal women. Researchers found that, by 16 weeks of treatment, collagen content had significantly increased in facial skin, resulting in improved texture and firmness.
There are also some studies that have noted visual improvements in skin depigmentation (age spots) and wrinkle reduction in peri- and post-menopausal women treated with topical Estriol - E3 based creams. These creams are available through Skin, Body & Health Renewal after a thorough consultation with your Health Care practitioner.
The sleep hormone (melatonin) and the anti-stress hormone (DHEA) are both found in human skin. Both are converted into entities with biological roles within the skin. In low concentrations melanin can stimulate cell growth. This type of on-site, organ-specific production of hormones is called intracrine biosynthesis, which allows different organs to manufacture the substances they need without flooding the entire body with growth factors.
Although the exact roles of DHEA and melatonin in human skin are still being investigated, researchers have identified several methods whereby these hormones protect against aging of the skin, maintain the health of skin, and affect how sunlight reacts with skin cells.
DHEA has beneficial effects beyond its conversion to skin-friendly hormones. DHEA itself has powerful skin protective effects. A study in the Journal of Surgical Research demonstrates the extraordinary ability of topically applied DHEA to protect skin's delicate blood vessels. Researchers found that if DHEA was applied after a serious burn, the blood vessels underlying the burned area are protected. DHEA also has antioxidant action against peroxyl and superoxide free radicals, and also limits the bioactivation of some toxins DHEA blunts chemical carcinogen-induced DNA damage as well.
A 2008 clinical trial found that after four months of treatment topical DHEA improved skin brightness and texture in postmenopausal women.
Melatonin is an antioxidant hormone that protects against UV radiation (Fischer 1999). A group at the University of Zurich has shown that topical melatonin gives excellent protection against sunburn if applied before sun exposure, and may also be involved in repairing burned skin. In addition, melatonin appears to play a role in regulating blood circulation within the skin resulting in a host of benefits.
Unlike topical products, which are applied to targeted areas only, skin nutritional formulations are taken orally thus being metabolized and distributed throughout the entire body. The bloodstream then continuously supplies these bioactive compounds to all skin division (i.e. epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous fat). Therefore, by working internally and thoughout the entire body, nutricosmetics are able to further protect and support the health of the skin.
- Minerals such as selenium, copper and molybdenum are required cofactors for the maintenance of antioxidant defense systems in the skin.
- Recently, certain natural ingredients such as Curcumin, Resveratrol, Coenzyme Q10, Selenium / Vit E were added to this list of beneficial supplements.
- Acne: There is some clinical research showing that selenium-dependent glutathione peroxidase enzyme activity is low in participants with acne vulgaris. One study examined the effect of selenium and vitamin E, in which acne patients took 200 mcg of selenium with 10 mg of vitamin E twice per day for 12 weeks. At the end of the trial, a reduced number of lesions and visual skin improvements were observed, especially in participants with low baseline glutathione peroxidase activity.
- Carotenoids are a group of fat soluble compounds found in orange and red fruits and vegetables that confer antioxidant protection within the skin.
- Lycopene, found predominantly in tomatoes and tomato-based products, is well-supported in the scientific literature for skin photoprotection. When skin is subjected to UV light stress, more skin lycopene is destroyed compared with beta-carotene, suggesting a role of lycopene in photoprotection against UV damage in tissues. In one trial, 20 women ingested 16 mg of lycopene daily for 12 weeks. After being exposed to UV radiation and in comparison to the control group, the lycopene-supplemented group had a significant reduction in post-UV exposure reddening and inflammation. The researchers concluded that lycopene effectively protected the skin from acute and potentially long term photo-damage.
- Trials (in animals and in humans) have shown that Coenzyme Q10 suppresses the UV radiation-induced inflammatory response in skin cells. In an eight year prospective study of 117 patients with melanoma, CoQ10 plasma levels predicted the risk of metastasis. CoQ10 levels were significantly lower in patients than in control subjects and in patients who developed recurring melanoma than those who did not.
Another nutrient that is an important contributor to skin health is Vitamin D, which is synthesized in the skin upon exposure to UV-B radiation. Insufficient vitamin D levels have been linked to a multitude of conditions such as decreased physical performance (which can affect work performance and mental health), poor cardiac health, autoimmune disease, neurologic disorders, several cancers, and increased overall mortality.
In its active form as calcitriol, vitamin D contributes to healthy skin cell renewal and repair. It also supports the skin’s immune system and can neutralize free radicals, which otherwise wreak havoc, within the epidermal layers. However, due to notable dangers associated with excess sun exposure (and excessive marketing to prevent sun exposure), vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic throughout the world. With more frequent sunscreen use (although required), less sun exposure, and natural aging, the skin’s ability to manufacture vitamin D is compromised, emphasizing the need for dietary and supplemental intake. Supplementing with the correct dosage and quality is key in extracting the much needed benefits from these supplements.
How does Fern Extract (Polypodium Leucotomos) aka Heliocare protect the skin?
Extracts from the leaves of a certain species of fern, Polypodium leucotomos (PL) have been shown in clinical studies to effectively block ultraviolet (UV)-induced skin phototoxicity.
In one study, 53 patients with sun allergy condition (Idiopathic photodermatoses), consumed 480 mg PL extract daily while exposing themselves to sunlight. Over 73% of the patients had a benefit from the administered PL, with significant reduction of skin reaction or irritation and subjective symptoms. With no side effects observed, the study authors concluded that oral supplementation with PL effectively and safely provides photoprotection.
Another clinical trial found that oral PL effectively reduced skin reddening induced by artificial UVR. Moreover, upon histological examination of skin biopsies taken from the subjects who consumed PL extract, decreased skin cell DNA damage and immune activation was noted. The authors of this study concluded that "oral administration of PL is an effective systemic chemophotoprotective agent leading to significant protection of skin against UV radiation".
PL extract appears to be especially effective in those whose skin is particularly sensitive to the sun. Several studies have found that oral PL blunts dermal allergic responses to sun exposure in those prone to such reactions
A recently published comprehensive review, by Gonzalez et al. (2010), of the mechanisms by which PL combats photoaging sates the following:
"PL is a natural mixture of phytochemicals endowed with powerful antioxidant properties. Its short-term effects include inhibition of reactive oxygen species production induced by UV radiation, DNA damage, isomerization and decomposition of trans-urocanic acid [an endogenous sunscreen-like agent], prevention of UV-mediated apoptosis and necrosis, as well as degradative matrix remodeling, which is the main cause of photoaging. These short-term effects translate into long-term prevention of photoaging and photocarcinogenesis. A striking property is that PL can exert its effect when administered orally. Together, these effects postulate PL as a natural photoprotective agent and a potential adjuvant to phototherapy for various skin diseases."
In addition, a recent animal model elucidated further mechanisms by which PL guards against photodamage . This experiment found that PL dramatically reduced the sun-induced expression of COX-2, which drives inflammation and contributes to skin cancer growth, while it simultaneously increased the expression of a major DNA repair protein, P53. In animals fed PL, UVR exposure induced 25% fewer DNA mutations than in animals receiving a control diet.
NR 1: Peptide-based creams represent a breakthrough in skincare technology.
- Within the skin, collagen deterioration results in the formation of protein fragments, called peptides. These fragments are then recognized by collagen-producing cells, which respond by increasing collagen production in order to repair the damaged skin. However, with advancing age, this positive feedback between skin breakdown and the initiation of new collagen formation becomes inefficient.
- Researchers have discovered that application of these protein fragments directly to the skin circumvents the natural deterioration in collagen turnover. Therefore, by applying specialized peptides to your skin, you can effectively "trick" collagen-producing cells into ramping-up collagen production.
- One such peptide is palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3. This synthetic amino-peptide complex effectively stimulates collagen synthesis by interacting with receptors that turn on genes responsible for cell proliferation and renewal. This patented pentapeptide significantly enhances the production of collagen and elastin within the extracellular matrix of the skin. This increased production complements the volumizing action of hyaluronic acid, thereby resulting in visibly reduced wrinkle depth, density, and number. Studies show that this patented ingredient is as effective as the vitamin A derivative retinol in reducing the signs of photoaging, yet it does not cause the skin irritation associated with retinol.
- Argireline (acetyl hexapeptide-3) is a relatively new topical anti-wrinkle ingredient that reduces pre-existing wrinkle depth through a novel mechanism. This active peptide works by significantly down-regulating muscle contraction, interfering with the neurotransmitters that make your muscles contract, thereby preventing the formation of unwanted lines and wrinkles. This natural ingredient appears to be especially beneficial for visibly reducing wrinkle depth around the eyes and forehead
NR 2: Matrixyl® Synthe’6™
The breakdown of skin scaffolding is a major cause of wrinkles. A compound known as Matrixyl® synthe’6™ has been found to complete the maturation and stabilization of fibers, thereby stimulating the scaffolding of skin molecules.
- In a controlled clinical study, 25 women aged 42-70 were assigned to one of two groups. Cream was applied 2 times daily. One group applied a placebo cream, while the other group applied a 2% solution of Matrixyl® synthe’6™. Scientists later measured the participants’ wrinkles and crow’s feetThe researchers found that frown lines among the Matrixyl® synthe’6™ group were lifted by 28%, and the volume of wrinkles was diminished by 31%. And this anti-wrinkling effect was observed in just 2 months. Also, scientists observed that, in the test group, crow’s feet were lifted by 12.6%, and their volumewas reduced 21.1%.
- Matrixyl® synthe’6™ actively promotes the synthesis of six skin matrix constituents—collagen I, III, and IV, hyaluronic acid, fibronectin and laminin. These skin matrix constituents are found in the lower epidermis, where cells communicate with each other and with the cells in the dermal layer. Excessive dryness of the skin promotes fine lines and weakens cells. It can cause lipids in the skin’s fatty layer to crystallize, causing dull and flaking skin.
NR 3: Hyaluronic acid
A natural skin constituent, is a good moisturizer owing to its ability to capture water molecules, which reduces the visibility of lines. It is also a volumizing agent. For these reasons, hyaluronic acid is an ingredient in several skincare applications.
NR 4: Plant-based Ceramides:
Ceramides make up the lipid rich protective layer within the epidermis. Although present in other tissues, their highest concentration is found in the skin. We can obtain ceramides through foods, mainly rice bran, wheat flour, and wheat germ oil. Ceramide concentrations decrease naturally with age and since they play an important role in preventing dehydration in the skin, oral supplemented plant-based ceramides may help to combat breakdown associated with aging.
In a randomized trial, 51 women (aged 20-63 years,) with dry skin were given either 350 mg of a non-GMO wheat extract containing ceramides or placebo for 3 months. After evaluating skin hydration in the legs, arms and face at the beginning and end of trial, a significant increase in skin hydration and an improvement in the clinical signs of dryness were observed at the end of 3 months . When combined with antioxidants in oral formulations, it has been shown that ceramides further optimize systemic absorption and utilization of water-soluble antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid.
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After feeling the effects of lowered hormones and menopause. Dr Burt thoroughly tested and explained the benefits and symptoms of the various hormone deficiencies. I have regular follow up appointments and we have finally reached the point where I am feeling my usual self again. No more hot-flushes, my weight feels under control and I feel fit and strong. Thank you.