Protect Your Skin From The Aging Effects of the Sun

Are you as careful to protect your skin from sun damage as you should be? Do you wear sunscreen every time you go outside for prolonged periods? Or do you think you’re safe for some other reason?

Most people are aware of the dangers of skin cancer resulting from overexposure to the sun. While people who rarely burn are less likely to contract skin cancer than people who burn easily, everyone is at risk. Even with no family history. And our collective knowledge about skin cancer risks is constantly changing. For example, dermatologists used to condone minimal use of high-pressure tanning beds (which use UVA rays almost exclusively, with very little of the UVB rays) for people who tan easily and rarely burn. The tan from these beds was thought to protect your skin from natural sunlight. Now dermatologists are finding that UVA rays cause deeper tissue forms of skin cancer, which are more difficult to detect and treat.

Even if you never contract skin cancer, overexposure to sunlight also accounts for a surprising number of the signs of aging we think of as normal. Tanning produces deep skin wrinkles, makes the skin texture leathery, and can cause discoloration such as “age spots”. Avoiding sun and tanning bed exposure will help keep your skin tone even, your wrinkles fine and your skin texture soft.

Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide excellent protection from natural sunlight exposure. Even if you’re not going to be out in the sun for long, it’s a good idea to put some on exposed skin while dressing in the morning, particularly in the summer time. If you’re concerned about potentially dangerous chemicals that have been used in sunscreen, such as PABA, you should be aware there are sunscreen products available now that don’t include harmful chemicals. In fact, many are comprised mainly of natural ingredients, including moisturizers, which are the basis of any good anti-aging routine. If you already have skin damage resulting from sun exposure, there are a number of products available to even skin tone and soften deep wrinkles.

Fighting the Visible Signs of Aging

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and is significantly affected by the aging process. Estrogen receptors have been detected on the cellular components of the skin and lower levels of estrogen influence the skin-cell metabolims. Changes in the skin collagen leads to diminished elasticity and skin strength. There is a distinct reduction of collagen production after menopause. Changes in vascularity are found following menopause. Dermal blood flow decreases significantly in postmenopausal women.

Repair functions in skin are regulated by a group of chemicals called ‘cytokines’. Included in these are epidermal cell growth factor (ECGF), transforming growth factor (TGF), and angiogenesis factor. AF stimulates the rebuilding of the microvascular system within the skin. TGF and ECGF stimulate rapid cell proliferation for the replacement of dead or damaged cells.

Excessive exposure to UV rays causes oxidation of the collagen and elastin fibers in this skin. This, in turn causes ‘crosslinking’. Cross-linking causes the collagen in the skin to become tangled and stiffen. This results in sagging and loss of skin elasticity, and allow facial expressions to put deep lines and wrinkles in the skin. Some of this UV damage can be prevented by the use of sunscreens and sunblocks. Some of this damage can be reversed by the use of ‘peels’ – where the outer layer of the skin is removed by the use of mild acidic formulas, which removes the damaged layers and stimulates the production of a stronger, thicker layer of skin.

Free radicals are molecules created by oxidative chemical reactions within the body. These free radicals damage cellular DNA and cause mutations of the skin cells. Free radical damage can be prevented by the use of anti-oxidants, both internally and topically. Antioxidants attract and bind these free radical molecules, rendering them harmless.

Premature skin aging can be avoided by preventing excess exposure to sunlight and pollutants, as well as providing with skin with the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Provide your skin with the building blocks it needs by maintaining adequate consumption of the following nutrients:

NUTRITION FOR AGING SKIN

ZINC: Zinc is required for collagen production and elastin synthesis, as well as DNA repair. Zinc is required for DNA duplication, which is required for cell division. Zinc is required for the production of certain proteins that remove damaged or mutated tissue as well as for superoxide dismutase, a power antioxidant.

COPPER: Copper helps to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, helps to thicken the dermis, increases vascularity and oxygenation and works to stimulate superoxide dismutase.

SULFUR: Sulfur is a component of the protein Keratin found in nails, hair and skin. Sulfur is essential for the production of collagen and it is required for the production of the connective tissues.

Vitamin A: The vitamin necessary for healthy skin. A serious lack or excess intake can cause dry, rough skin, among other problems. Ascorbyl palmitate applied on the skin decreased the level of formation of free radicals*.

Vitamin C: Known for its antioxidant properties.  Photoprotective properties of topically applied vitamin C have also been demonstrated, indicating its use in the prevention and treatment of skin aging. Topical applications of 5% vitamin C cream is an effective treatment, clinically shown to improve photodamaged skin.**

Vitamin D: Vitamin D has been shown to reverse skin damage, increase wound healing. Vitamin D is produced in the body in response to sunlight, and has been shown to have a beneficial affect on skin repair and hair growth. Vitamin D rarely requires supplementation, and 15 minutes of daily low-sun exposure should stimulate adequate production of this hormone-like vitamin.***

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is a power antioxidant. Experiments show that that it may protect against the degredation of collagen, and prevent skin damage by environmental insult and aging.***

CoQ10 (Ubiquinone): Internal and topical application of CoQ10 has a beneficial effect of preventing photoaging. CoQ10 penetrates into the viable layers of the epidermis and reduces the level of oxidation. Reduction in wrinkle depth following CoQ10 application has also been shown in clinical trials. CoQ10 prevents oxidative DNA damage and suppresses the degredation of collagen.****

References:

*Skin protection against ultraviolet induced free radicals with ascorbyl palmitate in microemulsions. Jurkovic P, Sentjurc M, Gasperlin M, Kristl J, Pecar S. Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia.

**Topical ascorbic acid on photoaged skin. Clinical, topographical and ultrastructural evaluation: double-blind study vs. placebo. Humbert PG, Haftek M, Creidi P, Lapiere C, Nusgens B, Richard A, Schmitt D, Rougier A, Zahouani H. Department of Dermatology, Hospital Saint Jacques, University of Franche-Comte, Besancon, France.

***Vitamin D enhances mitogenesis mediated by keratinocyte growth factor receptor in keratinocytes. Gamady A, Koren R, Ron D, Liberman UA, Ravid A. The Basil and Gerald Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Petah-Tikva, Israel.

***Age-dependent increase of collagenase expression can be reduced by alpha-tocopherol via protein kinase C inhibition.  Ricciarelli R, Maroni P, Ozer N, Zingg JM, Azzi A.Institut fur Biochemie und Molekularbiologie, Universitat Bern, Switzerland.

****Coenzyme Q10, a cutaneous antioxidant and energizer. Hoppe U, Bergemann J, Diembeck W, Ennen J, Gohla S, Harris I, Jacob J, Kielholz J, Mei W, Pollet D, Schachtschabel D, Sauermann G, Schreiner V, Stab F, Steckel F.Paul Gerson Unna Research Center, Beiersdorf AG, Hamburg, Germany

Anti Aging Supplements – Fight Wrinkles From Within

Choosing antioxidants to supplement your regular skin routine is an approach that has been validated scientifically. A study by French scientists found that woman taking vitamin C, vitamin E, and betacarotene had 23% fewer new wrinkles, and a reduction in existing wrinkles of 8%. Antioxidants stop the breakdown of collagen and elastin by free radicals.

Foods with the highest levels of antioxidants, as measured by the ORAC (oxygen radical absorbence capacity), listed from the highest: prunes, raisins, blueberries, kale, cranberries, spinach, raspberries, brussel sprouts, plums and broccoli.

Vitamin A is another important nutrient for the skin. A deficiency in vitamin A will reduce the effectiveness of skin treatments. Vitamin A is needed for the normal growth and renewal of skin cells. Our skin cells are constantly replacing each other, and new ones are pushed up to the surface as the old ones slough off. Not only is vitamin A an antioxidant, but it also nourishes the fat layer underneath the skin. Vitamin A keeps skin supple, and may prevent skin damage.

Symptoms of vitamin A deficiency include dry and rough skin, localized breakouts, fragile skin, wrinkle prone skin, poor skin texture, and splitting nails.

One thing to remember with taking vitamin A supplements is not to exceed the recommended daily dose, as it can build up in your body if taken in excess. Taking 10000 IU per day is fine.

Vitamin C is another important beauty supplement. Not only does it help in skin repair by building collagen, but lower levels of vitamin C in the skin are associated with aging and UV damage. Taking 500mg to 2000mg per day, in divided doses, is recommended.

An excellent antioxidant supplement to take is alpha lipoic acid (ALA), especially if you’re taking the other antioxidant vitamins C and E, and coenzyme Q10. Alpha lipoic acid is not only an antioxidant in its own right, but it has the capacity to recycle these other antioxidants. Alpha lipoic acid is also an anti inflammatory agent, and improves insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is associated with obesity and heart disease. ALA increases the rate at which glucose is removed from the bloodstream, and helps the body detoxify metals that have accumulated. Alpha lipoic acid also prevents the cross linking of fibers, which leads to aging and the development of wrinkles.

Alpha lipoic acid is produced by the body, but only in small amounts. It is used by the cells in their production of cellular energy, and we only benefit from its antioxidant effects if the amount of ALA in our bodies is greater than that which our cells need for normal functioning. And, unfortunately, the levels of ALA in our body decline as we age.

One advantage of alpha lipoic acid is that it is both fat and water soluble. This means it can work in all parts of our body, making it very versatile. Most antioxidants are either fat or water soluble, but not both. For example, vitamin A is fat soluble, and vitamin C is water soluble.

Taking about 50 to 100mg of alpha lipoic acid supplements a day has been suggested, though this supplement has not been tested on pregnant or breast feeding women.

References: Nature and Health, April/May 2006

7 Tips For Beautiful Skin

For most women, part of the morning and evening routines involve a skincare regimen of applying creams, moisturizers, tonics, lotions, and the like. Why do women put themselves through this? They do it primarily to combat the signs of aging, and to maintain youthful looks and beautiful skin! It is a safe bet, however, that most women haven’t put much thought into what is in the products that they are using.

Some women probably do not realize that what they are putting on …

For most women, part of the morning and evening routines involve a skincare regimen of applying creams, moisturizers, tonics, lotions, and the like. Why do women put themselves through this? They do it primarily to combat the signs of aging, and to maintain youthful looks and beautiful skin! It is a safe bet, however, that most women haven’t put much thought into what is in the products that they are using.

Some women probably do not realize that what they are putting on their skin may actually be undermining what they are trying to prevent to begin with. In fact the average woman puts twelve products on her skin daily, most of which contain harmful chemical preservatives. Dr. Myron Wentz, founder and chairperson of USANA Health Sciences, has this to say about beauty in the company magazine’s June/July 2005 issue: “Some say that beauty is only skin deep. Nonsense! I believe that true beauty is a reflection of true health, and true health begins deep inside each and every cell in the body. But true health and true beauty have an outer component, which is why we require protection from environmental insults such as solar radiation, pollutants in our environment and the drying effects of air. . . The fact is you simply cannot contain a healthy body if your skin isn’t healthy. And your skin can’t be healthy if your are subjecting it to toxic substances that are ultimately absorbed into your body.”

So, what can women do? How can they combat environmental pollutants, the affect of solar radiation, and the drying effects of air? How can they be sure they are using the very best products on their skin so they can be healthy inside and out? Here are 7 tips to assist in this process:

1. Be very aware of what is in skincare products. Use products that are all natural as much as possible.

2. Look for products that contain Dermal Surface Renewal Technology. DSR smoothes away existing signs of aging such as laugh lines, crows feet, and dullness.

3. Use products that have regenisomes. Regenisomes penetrate the skin to speed cell renewal after sun exposure. They also use the light of photosomes to undo sun damage, and have ultrasomes to renew skin while sleeping.

4. Find products with Proteo-C and Proflavonol-T. These two vitamins protect the skin from premature aging caused by the sun, pollution, and other environmental factors. They also provide advanced nutrition to the skin to keep it appearing smooth and firm.

5. If possible, use products that are paraben free. Parabens are synthetic chemical preservatives that are widely used in personal care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair styling products, make-up, facial masks, skin lotions and creams, and deodorants. They also are typically ingredients in baby lotions, shampoos, and other personal care products for infants and children. In addition, parabens are in many foods and pharmaceutical products. Researchers are beginning to find parabens in benign and malignant human breast tumors. While some studies have challenged their toxicity in many products and question their long term affect on humans, using products that are paraben free can eliminate the risk of exposure to this harmful chemical.

6. Drink plenty of water! Water hydrates skin and hair as well as flushes toxins out of the body.

7. Limit stress or learn to manage it effectively. Stress is harmful both emotionally and physically. Find that stress reliever activity that works best and use it on a daily basis!

Follow the above 7 tips to true beauty and health.