How we look to the world is essentially defined by the beauty of our skin. Is your skin lucid, glowing, and younger looking? The answer to helping your skin to be younger looking and healthy is LED light therapy. This is skin rejuvenation from within, working from the inside out.
Light therapy is not invasive and no pain involved. So the treatment follows the scientific inflammation cascade, “The more you irritate the skin, the more it becomes inflamed, the faster you age, and the more you are prone to skin cancer”. No Inflammation with LED, only helping with repair and building of the skin.
Here’s what it does help: softens lines and folds, increases firmness and moisture, collagen production, better blood circulation,minimize pores, promote faster healing, reduce broken capillaries, reduce pigmentation, skin to look radiant, reduce redness, acne, and more. It’s great for antiaging and acne both. At the same time, the Light helps to relax you, so it is stress relieving along with all the healing properties.
The Greeks back in 1500 BC first recorded the healing properties of light to restore health. Of course the technology wasn’t there yet until 1903 AD. Dr. Niels Finsen, Danish physician, demonstrated the beneficial effects of various wavelengths of light to treat TB. Now it is used in dermatology, neurology, physiotherapy and more. Years of research have shown that light therapy has a powerful therapeutic benefit to living tissue.
Again in the 1960’s more was found and NASA began using it, then units were made for the facial room. NASA’s research found that LED’s that produced near-infrared light were shown to stimulate the basic energy in the cells five times more than normal.
So what is LED light therapy? It’s pulsed light that stimulates and regenerates skin cells and promotes healing using specific light frequencies. The spectrum is between infra-red and ultra-violet. The light is converted to an electrical energy wave. Because we are electrical energy also, this wave creates more energy for cell division for rebuilding. So you achieve skin rejuvenation from within.
Even after one treatment you can tell a change in your face. For the best results it is recommended to have at least 1 treatment a week or, even better, 2 treatments a week for 6 to 8 weeks, depending on your skin. I will do a deep cleansing before the light and a mask after at the time of the 1st and 6th treatments. The treatments in between will be a quick cleanse and just the light after.
To find out more about the importance of facials and natural skin care products, please contact Skin Care Plus. We use and recommend the best natural and organic skin care products available. We also offer other skin care treatments that can help with anti-aging and overall skin health, including the best facial in the greater Chicago area, including Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.
Shopping for an anti-aging skin care products is a challenge. It can be difficult to know which skin care are best. These tips can help you shop with confidence.
Sunscreen and Moisturizer: Dermatologists agree that sunscreen and moisturizer are the two most-effective anti-aging products you can buy. Using these every day can make a noticeable difference. Sun protection helps to reduce signs of premature aging on your skin. It also allows your skin to repair and renew itself and reduces your risk for getting skin cancer. When shopping for sunscreen, select one that offers the following qualities:
An anti-aging moisturizer helps to minimize fine lines. It is so effective that moisturizer is the secret ingredient in many anti-aging products. Using a moisturizer with sunscreen is fine. Just be sure that the product offers broad-spectrum coverage and an SPF of 30 or higher. If you will spend time outdoors during the day, you should apply a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, SPF 30 (or higher), and water resistance. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours while outdoors.
Treat Your Top Skin Care Concern: Give sunscreen and moisturizer a few weeks to work. Then look at your skin. Is there still a sign of aging that bothers you?
Using several anti-aging products at the same time can irritate your skin. When you irritate your skin, signs of aging become more noticeable. By focusing on one concern, such as wrinkles or dark spots, you’ll get the best results. Look for a product that targets your concern. There are two reasons for this:
Buy Skin Care Products For Your Skin Type: Your sunscreen, moisturizer, and other anti-aging skin care products will work best if they are formulated for your skin type. If your skin tends to be oily, select a moisturizer made for oily skin. If you have sensitive skin, look for “sensitive skin” on the label. This is important because no one product works for everyone. Be sure to give products time to work. A moisturizer can plump up fine lines in a few days, but most products take at least 6 weeks to work. Sometimes it can take up to 3 months. Be patient and give the product time time to work. Be sure to continue using your skin care products, if you want to continue seeing results. People often stop using a skin care products once they see results.
Select Skin Care Products That Offer The Following Ingredients:
Even hypoallergenic products can cause a skin reaction, so test them before applying them to your face. Apply a small amount to your inner forearm. Repeat this twice a day for 4 to 5 days. If your skin looks normal — free of redness, itch, and other reactions — you can apply it to your face and other skin. Stop using skin care products that sting, burn, or tingle. These sensations mean that the product irritates your skin. Irritated skin looks older. If you are using a product prescribed by your dermatologist, ask if this should be happening before you stop using it. Some prescription-strength products will burn or sting. Some products contain active ingredients that can cause problems if you apply more than directed. You could end up with clogged pores, blotchy skin, or excessively dry skin. Read the instructions, and use as directed.
Have Realistic Expectations: Exaggerated promises, such as look 10 years younger overnight or quickly reduces all signs of aging, are too good to be true. It’s important to remember that anti-aging skin care products deliver modest results. You cannot get the results of a facelift from a cream. “Clinically proven” means that the product was given to consumers to try. It does not mean the product underwent clinical trials and received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Select Products Within Your Price Range: It’s human nature to think that the more expensive the product, the better the results. Effective anti-aging products come in all price ranges.
Skin Care and Anti-Aging Products via https://www.aad.org/public/skin-hair-nails/younger-skin/selecting-anti-aging-products
To find out more about the importance of facials and natural skin care products, please contact Skin Care Plus. We use and recommend the best natural and organic skin care products available. We also offer other skin care treatments that can help with anti-aging and overall skin health, including the best facial in the greater Chicago area, including Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.
Give your topical creams some backup, and care for your face naturally. Nutritionist Dana James shared the good things to eat for a flawless complexion.
Papayas: They contain lots of vitamin C and serve as an exfoliant when applied topically. You will see several skincare products that contain papaya because of its numerous benefits to your skin.
Avocados: A good source of biotin, avocados help to prevent dry skin and brittle hair and nails. When applied topically, they can hydrate parched skin. Create a moisturizing mask. Pit the fruit, puree the pulp, and pat it on your face. The oil acts as an emollient. It also contains beneficial vitamin E.
Green Tea: High on the list of skin-friendly beverages thanks to its impressive storehouse of polyphenols. Aim for four cups throughout your day.
Tomatoes: A German study found that lycopene-rich tomato paste helped participants prevent sunburn when they combined it with olive oil, daily for ten weeks. Besides being a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, tomatoes are considered a high-carotenoid fruit. These nutrients may help slow down cellular damage from free radicals.
Salmon: Salmon contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity, so you’ll have fewer fine lines.
Eggs. Protein helps repair cells that have suffered free radical damage. Eggs, a complete source of protein, also contain biotin, an essential vitamin that protects against dry skin.
Pomegranates: When applied topically, this antioxidant-rich fruit may help skin create more collagen, while speeding healing.
Walnuts: Looking to add Omega-3 fatty acids to your diet but not a fan of fish? Walnuts are a rich source of Omega-3s, which help put shine in your hair and aid in making skin smoother and younger looking.
Beans: Another protein source, legumes help repair cells that have suffered free radical damage. During digestion, protein breaks down into amino acids, the building blocks of cells. Amino acids help to speed the repair and regeneration of skin cells and collagen.
Skincare News via http://www.rd.com/health/beauty/8-essential-foods-for-beautiful-skin/
Collagen and elastin help keep your skin firm. You may develop sagging skin with age as your skin loses its natural elasticity. Intrinsic aging is a natural part of the aging process that reduces collagen and elastin production in your skin. Extrinsic factors such as repetitive facial expressions, sleeping positions, smoking and sun exposure can prematurely age your skin and lead to sagging. Extreme or rapid weight loss may also contribute to sagging skin. Physical activity can help by toning the muscles beneath your skin. Drink plenty of water, exfoliate and moisturize your skin to improve and prevent sagging.
Vitamin C: Your body uses vitamin C to make collagen and elastin, proteins which help keep your skin firm and supple. Vitamin C is an antioxidant and helps support your immune system, so you get both beauty and health benefits from foods rich in this vitamin. After age 50, you should concentrate on a variety of fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C. Citrus fruits — like oranges and grapefruits –red peppers, strawberries and sweet potatoes all contribute a significant amount to your vitamin C intake.
Lysine: Lysine is an amino acid that your body uses to build collagen. It is an essential amino acid, which means that while your body needs it, your body cannot produce it by itself. Instead, it is provided exclusively by your diet. Red meats, cheese and nuts are all high in lysine, but they can also be high in fat. If you are over 50 and struggling with weight as well, try soy products, which are also high in lysine but lower in fat.
Manganese: Your body needs manganese to increase production of collagen and elastin, especially when healing wounds. If you are over 50 and have also had surgery that has left scarring, manganese will help your skin and help you heal. Your diet should provide a small amount of manganese — 2.3 milligrams for men and 1.8 milligrams for women. Eat foods like pineapple, pecans, whole grains and leafy greens, which are high in manganese. Unorthodox foods like seaweed and other sea vegetables are also high in manganese.
Copper: Your body needs the essential mineral copper to knit together collagen and elastin to form strong skin. Copper, like manganese, is found in a wide variety of foods, although it is most concentrated in meat from animal organs, shellfish, nuts and seeds. Whole grain foods, like breads and pastas, are also high in the mineral. Copper is less frequently found in fruits and vegetables, but you can get reach your recommended daily intake by adding nuts and seeds — such as cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds — as well as lentils and mushrooms into your diet. Consume 0.9 milligram of copper daily for healthy collagen and elastin production.
Collagen is a type of protein, and works with keratin to provide the skin with strength, smoothness, elasticity and resilience. It is produced by the skin and other parts of the body. When you are young, you have an abundance of collagen in your body, which is why young children have such lovely shiny hair and smooth skin.
Soy products such as soymik and cheese contain an element known as genistein. The presence of genistein gives soy products their collagen production qualities, as well as helping to block enzymes that tend to break down and age the skin. Just about any soy product contains enough genistein to be helpful, including soy products that have been developed as substitutes for meat products.
Dark green vegetables are also excellent examples of food containing collagen producing agents. Add drak green leafy veggies such as spinach, cabbage and kale to your diet every day. They are packed with an antioxidant called lutein. You need 10 mg to get results – which equates to about 4oz. of spinach or 2oz. of kale. Recent French research suggests this will boost skin hydration and elasticity, fighting wrinkles. Rich in Vitamin C, regular consumption of kale, spinach,collards, and asparagus help to strengthen the body’s ability to manufacture collagen and to utilize the protein effectively.
Beans help your body produce a vital anti-aging substance called hyaluronic acid. Aim for at least two tablespoons of beans each day – broad or butter beans make a great substitute for mashed potatoes.
Red fruits and vegetables also are excellent sources to up the collagen content of foods in the diet. The presence of lycopenesl in these types of foods helps to act as antioxidants, which in turn increases collagen production. Try adding red peppers, beets, and fresh or stewed tomatoes to the diet. Also include sweet potatoes, carrots and more. Research from Dr Ronald Watson at the University of Arizona has found that the antioxidants in red, yellow and orange foods build up under the skin creating extra UV protection. “The effect is so strong that eating six portions a day for about two months will build a natural barrier equivalent to a factor four sunscreen,” says Dr Watson.
Vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables are natural sources of collagen production. You should try to include citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and strawberries into your daily diet.
Prunes One of the biggest causes of skin aging is attack by substances called free radicals, that break down healthy skin tissues. Antioxidants helps neutralize these free radicals before they can do any damage – and prunes are the fruit containing the absolute highest level of antioxidants. Blueberries are a close second. Eat five to six prunes, or a small basket of blueberries, daily to get a great health boost .
Omega Acids also help to create an ideal environment for collagen production. Fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent sources of omega fatty acids. Nuts such as cashews, pecans, almonds and Brazil nuts contain healthy amounts as well.
Flaxseed is a major sources of the healthy fat omega-3. Skin cells are surrounded by a fatty layer made from this and other fats so, the higher your omega-3 intake the stronger that layer is, and the plumper your skin cells are – which helps disguise lines and wrinkles. Mix it into smoothies or add it to balsamic vinegar and use it as a salad dressing, but try to have a tablespoon each day.
Foods that are rich in sulphur content are also important to collagen production. Among these are green and black olives, fresh cucumbers, and fresh stalks of celery. Working in conjunction with the sulphur, vegetables that are rich in Vitamin A also aid in keeping collagen levels high. Try adding raw carrots, fresh cantaloupe and baked sweet potatoes to the diet for an extra boost.
Turkey contains a vital skin-friendly protein called carnosine that slows down a process in the skin called cross-linking. When this happens, fibres grow into the collagen of the skin making it stiff and inelastic. This then stops it snapping back when you do things like smile, laugh or frown – and this is what causes smile lines or crows feet. Eat turkey two to three times a week.
Chocolate is really is good for your skin. In studies in Germany, it was found that after drinking a cocoa-packed drink, blood flow to the skin was boosted (meaning it gets higher levels of nutrients and moisture). It also seemed to be more protected against UV damage – the number-one skin ager. Only dark chocolate contains enough antioxidants to have effects, though.
Manuka Honey is a special honey from New Zealand with unique healing properties. It has been used in skin care for centuries by the Maori people of New Zealand and it’s easy to understand why. When used topically, Active Manuka Honey can restore and rejuvenate your skin. It supports the skin cell renewal process and assists in the formation of stronger collagen protein. As an added benefit, active manuka honey is rich in antioxidants and helps to reduce blemishes.
Rose hips are one of the plants extract that can present a rich source of collagen. They contain a high level of vitamin C, which is good for the production of collagen.
Avocado Oil If you want to know how to naturally produce collagen, you need to use face masks or creams that contain avocado oil. Avocado oil is deeply hydrating and highly compatible with the natural oils in your skin. Avocado oil is high in plant steroids, which help to reduce blemishes and age spots. It also helps to regenerate and rejuvenate skin damaged by free radicals. Avocado oil is important because it is scientifically proven to stimulate collagen production and it increases the proportion of soluble collagen in the dermis of your skin. And don’t forget to include fresh avocadoes in your favourite salad and soup recipes.
One of the key points to keep in mind is that it is possible to provide everything your body needs to produce collagen by eating a balanced diet. By including some of the foods mentioned here, you will soon begin to see a difference in the quality of your skin tone, as well as have an improved sense of overall health. So toss those collagen creams out and start shopping for foods that will actually help you re-grow the collagen you have lost.
Most anti-wrinkle creams contain collagen and elastin, and won’t do anything for you, since that these two ingredients are too dense to enter our skin.
As we age, it’s normal for our skin to gradually lose its elasticity and thin out. This is part of the skin’s natural aging process. However, there are a variety of factors that can cause the skin to start aging at an accelerated rate. A big part of premature skin aging is a result of free radical activity in the body.
Free radicals are molecules that are produced by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation, including radiation from the sun and other sources of UV rays, including tanning beds. Free radicals are also produced when your body breaks down food.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that may provide protection against the effects of damaging free radicals on the cells in your body, including your skin. Antioxidant ingredients are already promoted in a number of skin care products available both over-the-counter and by prescription, and are being actively studied in clinical trials for a variety of medicinal uses.
1. Vitamin E
Vitamin E (tocopherol) is an antioxidant that is present in the skin and found in various foods, such as vegetables, seeds and meat. It helps the skin look younger by boosting collagen production and in turn reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. Unlike other vitamins, skin derives more of its benefits from vitamin E better through topical treatments than through oral supplements. Vitamin E is available in two forms: alpha-tocopherol (alcohol-based) and alpha-tocopherol acetate. The latter does not penetrate the skin as easily, so make sure you’re reading the labels closely to get maximum benefit of the vitamin E.
Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, is a carotenoid found in red fruits and vegetables. It is, in fact, responsible for their red color. In addition to being a healthy choice for your diet, it’s a great choice for improving skin texture because it promotes collagen production and reduces the DNA damage that leads to wrinkles. To get the most benefit from this powerful antioxidant, you can either take a daily supplement or look for skin care products that contain it in topical formulas (lycopene is easily absorbed by the skin).
3. Green Tea
Green Tea has become one of the new age food heroes — a helpful ally in preventing everything from heart disease and cancer to skin aging and weight gain. The full range of heath benefits may take decades to define, but research on its impact on human skin is reasonably well developed. The secret ingredients are chemicals called catechins, which are antioxidants that can clear cell damage on the skin and repair wrinkles, blemishes or other impurities. When applied to the skin, green tea can reduce sun damage by reducing inflammation and tackling free radicals. (It doesn’t block UV rays.) When choosing a tea, its helpful to know that green tea has over five times the amount of catechins as black tea.
4. Coffee Berry
As an ingredient in anti-aging formulas, coffee berry prevents collagen damage, reduces wrinkles and protects the skin against damage. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, leading to more youthful looking skin.
The antioxidant resveratrol is compound that is commonly found in grapes, nuts, fruits, and red wine, among others. (11) Separate studies have shown that when topically applied, resveratrol protects against UVB-mediated cutaneous damage and inhibits UVB-mediated oxidative stress.
6. Grape Seed
Grape seed is extracted from vitis vinifera and is rich in proanthocyanidins, which belong to the flavonoid family. Proanthocyanidins are potent antioxidants with strong free radical scavenging activities. Grape seed extract has been shown to be an even stronger scavenger of free radicals than vitamins C and E.
Genistein is an isoflavone derived from soybeans with the capacity to inhibit UV-induced oxidative DNA damage. Genistein, either topically applied or orally supplemented, was shown to effectively protect human skin against UVB-induced skin photo-damage.
Niacinamide (vitamin B3) is a powerful antioxidant that has shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and depigmenting properties. It has also shown to improve the texture and tone of the skin, as well as reduce fine lines, wrinkles and hyper-pigmentation.
9. Vitamin C
Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is an essential nutrient that can only come from the healthy fruits and vegetables that contain it. Vitamin C is usually touted for its cold-fighting power, but it’s also under study for its impact on preventing and reversing aging skin.
It works in two ways: as an antioxidant, as well as a booster of collagen formation — both of which are important to preserving and maintaining skin’s youthful appearance. (19-21) However, boosting your intake of vitamin C-rich foods does not appear to impact your skin to any measurable degree, so cosmetic companies are hard at work to study whether it can be absorbed through the skin directly via topical creams and lotions.
Skin Care News via http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dermapproved/personal-health_b_4212190.html
Find out more about the importance of facials and natural skin care products, please contact Skin Care Plus. We use and recommend the best natural and organic skin care products available. We also offer other skin care treatments that can help with anti-aging and overall skin health, including the best facial in the greater Chicago area, including Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.
Don’t have time for intensive skin care? Pamper yourself with these basic tips from the Mayo Clinic. Good skin care and healthy lifestyle choices can help delay the natural aging process and prevent various skin problems. Get started with these five skin care tips.
1. Protect yourself from the sun: A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems — as well as increase the risk of skin cancer. For the most complete sun protection:
2. Don’t smoke: Smoking makes your skin look older and contributes to wrinkles. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost layers of skin, which decreases blood flow. This depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients that are important to skin health. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin — the fibers that give your skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, the repetitive facial expressions you make when smoking — such as pursing your lips when inhaling and squinting your eyes to keep out smoke — can contribute to wrinkles.
3. Treat your skin gently: Daily cleansing and shaving can take a toll on your skin. To keep it gentle:
4. Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help you look and feel your best. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. The association between diet and acne isn’t clear — but some research suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C and low in unhealthy fats and processed or refined carbohydrates might promote younger looking skin.
5. Manage stress: Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin — and a healthy state of mind — take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy. The results might be more dramatic than you expect.
Few things feel more indulgent than a great facial. During the 30-to-60-minute procedure, your skin will be steam cleaned, sloughed, and slathered with a variety of nutrient-rich masks, serums, and moisturizers. As your complexion reaps the benefits of all that pampering, your mental health will get a boost as well, thanks to a tension-taming combo of soothing scents, soft music and gentle massage.
“I call it spa science because there isn’t a lot of science behind many of the claims,” says Doris Day M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at New York University Langone Medical Center. Still, she and other dermatologists are fans of the facial, provided it’s under the guidance of a trained professional and customized for your skin type. “Enjoy the process, but take the advice with a grain of salt,” she says. “Think of a facial as a treat rather than a medical treatment.”
We polled women for “facts” they’ve heard at the spa or salon, then asked three top docs to set the record straight. Read on to find out the truth behind that lavender oil and Enya.
By Gerald Imber, MD
Two scientific terms that have become unavoidable are free radicals and antioxidants. These are now understood to be crucial issues in the health and beauty of one’s skin, so pay attention. Free radicals are charged chemical particles of oxygen that enter into destructive chemical bonds with organic substances such as proteins. The result is an oxidation, or chemical burning, of the substance, which destroys it. Protein is denatured, genes may be broken and dangerous residual substances may result from the chemical changes.
Examples of oxidation in nonscientific daily life include the rusting of an iron grill left in the atmosphere, the quick browning of cut potatoes, peaches or avocados left in the open air. It is interesting to consider that when a sliced avocado or peach is treated with lemon juice (a source of the antioxidant vitamin C), it does not brown. But before we jump to the conclusion we wish to see, immersing them in water inhibits the oxidation as well. Knowledge of all this has been around for a long time, though only recently has the process become a consuming interest of researchers and health faddists alike. At the same time that the destructive capabilities of free radicals were becoming known, many compounds that combat this destructive oxidation were identified. They are known as antioxidants, and include among their number many vitamins that were felt to be healthful even before the reasons were clarified.
Various activities of daily life have been shown to increase the presence of oxygen free radicals associated with destructive oxidation. Exposure to sunlight is known to lead to oxidative destruction of the skin, including increased incidence of skin cancer and the collagen-destroying processes causing wrinkles. Strenuous aerobic activity has been associated with increased free radical formation. But while athletes produce more free radicals, they may have also developed a more effective method of combating the damage with natural antioxidants. The evidence of free radical production leading to oxidation and tissue damage is real; some of the findings are confusing, and we are only just scratching the surface of understanding a very important mechanism.
Vitamin C has been given credit for all sorts of miracles, proven and unproven. It is a potent antioxidant and a necessary component of tissue collagen production. Again, we are advised that normal diets, including citrus fruit, provide adequate vitamin C. Over the years scientists and clinicians have waffled over claims for the ability of vitamin C to prevent colds and lessen the length of time that symptoms persist. It is generally believed that these qualities are overstated or wrong. One study did show vitamin C to be effective in preventing cold symptoms in 50% of marathon runners tested but only a tiny percentage of the general population. Since I’m so set against subjecting one’s body to marathon running, I nearly opted to leave that bit of information out. The significance of all this is confusing.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C are key players in the prevention of cholesterol plaques forming in the arteries and are generally necessary for sustained good health. The importance of vitamin C is well-known for its role in the healing of wounds and maintenance of the integrity of tissues. It is important in collagen synthesis, and its absence causes the disease scurvy, which results in tissue breakdown and open wounds. This was in the past a common condition suffered by sailors during long sea voyages. The association of citrus fruit with prevention of the disease led to British ships carrying stores of limes for consumption on extended passages, hence earning British sailors the nickname “limey.”
Excess vitamin C is quickly and harmlessly excreted in the urine. Most proponents believe that 1,000 milligrams per day is adequate for the desired antioxidant effect. A 2008 study quantified the ability of 1,000mg/day of vitamin C to clean up the free radical in muscle after exercise, but questions whether this is beneficial. I’m confused, and I’m sure you are too. Stay tuned—there is surely more to come.
Everything considered, I continue to recommend, and use, daily supplements of 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C.
Vitamin C has also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant when applied to the skin. This is where real progress is being made. Free radicals derived from metabolic processes interfere with the production and maintenance of collagen in the skin. When collagen fibers are inadequate in number or misaligned, the skin structure breaks down and loss of elasticity and wrinkling result. Vitamin C protects the collagen in the skin and is necessary for new collagen production and wound healing. Free radicals from the environment have also been said to enter the skin and cause tissue damage, though how this happens is a mystery to me. The function of the skin is to keep the outside environment outside. That’s how it works. And the difficulty in getting topical vitamin C into the skin illustrates that fact. But mechanisms aside, vitamin C applied to the skin can work if it can get into the skin in sufficient quantities. We will deal with this issue in depth a bit later in the text.
Along with the knowledge of the destructive capability of free radicals is the knowledge that they are products of normal metabolism and are neutralized by antioxidants. These antioxidants are either enzymes within the body systems or antioxidants derived from the diet. The diet-derived group includes vitamin E (tocopherol), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), carotenes (vitamin A), and many others. Vitamins C and E are among the major nonenzymatic antioxidants that protect skin from the adverse effects of aging and sun damage, and for this purpose, topical application seems far more effective than oral supplements. We don’t yet know how much is optimal for this function, but we are discovering how to most effectively deliver it to the skin. The fat-soluble vitamin E molecule is too large to penetrate the skin and significantly raise circulating levels, but application of vitamin E to the skin has consistently shown the ability to retard the inflammation from sun exposure and UVB damage and, in fact, reverse the sun damage. There is also a great deal of evidence that vitamins C and E are enhanced in their antioxidant function when applied together. Current conservative advice is that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables should be adequate for normal healthy adults. Daily oral supplements of vitamin E have long been recommended but have fallen into scientific disfavor due to conflicting reports. Some studies claim it promotes cardiac health; others contradict the findings. A 2009 study indicated that most basic studies were universally flawed and suggested that larger (and perhaps larger than tolerated) doses might be necessary to be effective. I no longer encourage taking vitamin E supplements until more information is available. The effect of vitamin E on the skin is another matter. All evidence indicates that it is an important element for maintaining youthful, healthy skin and preventing and reversing sun damage.
Topical antioxidants like vitamins C and E are potent tools for reversing sun damage to the skin. No one doubts their value; the issue is getting the large molecules through the skin, and a great deal of progress has been made on this front. Effective vitamin C serums are available, and they work. But delivering enough of the antioxidant remains a problem; measuring its effectiveness objectively is another. A relatively unexploited but easily documented property of topical antioxidants is their ability to prevent redness from sun exposure. Both vitamins C and E reduce the red inflammatory reaction from the sun when applied half an hour before exposure. This can be documented and crudely quantified, so we have a way of measuring results and comparing them. When C and E are applied together the effect is cumulative, in other words, more effective than either alone. When another antioxidant, melatonin, is added to C and E, the protective effect is many times greater than using C or E alone, or C and E in combination. Apparently, the addition of melatonin eases the entry of the antioxidants into the skin. This breakthrough has made the topical delivery of antioxidants into the skin a more effective reality. The unique quality of the combined antioxidants has been known for a number of years. Whether the reduced inflammatory response translates to fewer skin cancers is not yet clear. What is known is that vitamins C and E, combined with melatonin, drive antioxidants into the skin, and these same antioxidants have been shown to protect the skin from the inflammatory response to the sun and help reverse previous sun damage to the skin.
I think this represents great progress, and a serum containing potent levels of vitamins C and E and melatonin is now an important component of the Youth Corridor program.
Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is known to influence the circadian rhythms of the body: sleeping at night, being awake during the day. It has also been recognized as among the most powerful of antioxidants. The ability of melatonin to eliminate free-radical contamination in cellular function has been repeatedly demonstrated. And as noted above, it is very effective as a topical antioxidant in its synergetic action with vitamins C and E. The ability of melatonin to help drive vitamin C into the skin and its anti-inflammatory action have made it a very important ingredient in skin-care products. I believe the combination of vitamin C, vitamin E and melatonin represents the most truly effective way to get enough of these antioxidants into the skin to impede collagen destruction, encourage collagen production, reduce facial wrinkles and undo sun damage.
There are many antioxidant supplements available. Most of these compounds have beneficial properties in their natural state, which should not be overlooked. But the question is whether antioxidant supplements actually provide the help they promise. Systemic antioxidants are necessary to prevent the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, which then becomes layered into artery walls as life-threatening plaque. As recently as June 2009, the American Heart Association declined to underwrite the use of antioxidant supplements for this purpose. It concluded there is not enough evidence that vitamins C or E or beta-carotene supplements are of any benefit, though it encouraged the dietary intake of foods high in antioxidants in the natural state. Foods such as citrus fruits, carrots and pomegranates are high on the long list of healthy sources. Green tea is a great source of the powerful antioxidant group called catechins. Catechins have been credited with improving cardiac health, among other benefits, and many experts encourage consuming multiple cups of green tea daily. Numerous studies show the benefit of these catechins in boosting immune response and protecting against cancer. Green tea extract applied to the skin is active in protecting against skin cancers caused by UVB rays, the most dangerous wavelength in sunlight. There appears to be enormous value in consumption of green tea and its use in skin care preparations.
Decaffeinated tea retains its antioxidant value as well, so you can drink your antioxidant all day, buzz-free. Apparently, green tea is not baked in the production process and maintains more of its active catechins than other types of teas. Green tea has no calories, and though it is admittedly an acquired taste, once you get into it, it tastes great. Over the long haul, it may stain teeth slightly, as does coffee; but the simple expedient of brushing a few times daily seems to neutralize the problem.
Lycopene is perhaps the most potent dietary antioxidant. It is found in abundant supply in tomatoes, carrots and other yellow, red and orange fruits and vegetables. Its importance in cardiovascular health has been established, and one can infer that if it gets into the arteries it will also reach the skin. Here’s the good news about lycopene: It appears to be most effective in the cooked state in tomatoes, and is most readily digested and absorbed in combination with fats such as olive oil and cheese. Which makes an excellent case for pizza.
Coldwater fish supply abundant amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, while supplements may not. This does not mean that supplements do not help, simply that there is no evidence of that help. That is not the same thing. In the case of beta-carotene supplements, there is evidence of significant negative impact of high doses on the survival of some cancer patients.
The point of all this is, don’t let any food faddist, vitamin salesman or profiteer fool you. There is no clear, scientific evidence that supplements can do the same job as healthy eating. So, why do I continue to use and suggest vitamin C supplements? The evidence of its effectiveness comes and goes in waves. There is nothing to indicate vitamin C is harmful, and reputable scientific investigators have taken both sides of the question over the years. But one would not be wrong in abandoning vitamin C supplements as well.