Beauty is Beyond Skin Deep
As we age, our skin loses elasticity of our supportive collagen under the skin’s surface. Environmental factors accelerate this process. Some examples include sun damage, inflammation and smoking. In order to fight this aging process, we should aim to keep our skin plump from the inside out. This will flatten out the wrinkles and slow down the appearance of aging. Several lifestyle factors can play a role in keeping our skin plump. The following list is a good starting point:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day
- Eat your fruits and vegetables daily
- Wear “natural” or organic SPF sunscreen daily
- Limit sugar and alcohol intake
Following these simple guidelines can help give your skin a beautiful glow, but often may not be enough on their own. As a result, nutricosmetics have exploded in popularity, and you can find a pill or powder for just about any skin concern these days. But which ones actually work and are they really worth the extra cost and time in your daily routine? You’ll find my recommendations below:
The beneficial types of collagen are Types 1 and 2, making up about 90% of the collagen we have in our bodies. There have not been any clinical studies done on Type 3 collagen (that I am aware of) and the spaced out reticular fibers in Type 3 collagen are much different than the buoyant, elastic fibers of Type 1 collagen. Thus, Type 1 and Type 2 collagen is very strong and resilient, whereas Type 3 collagen is a much weaker structure. You’ll see a lot of collagen powders that contain Type 3 collagen. Be aware that this is a direct result of marketing claims rather than actual scientific claims.
You can support the collagen under your skin by making sure that your collagen powder contains at least 500 mg of Type 1 collagen with mucopolysaccharides. The mucopolysaccharides act as the glue that holds the collagen matrix together and is an important part of the product. Your powder should also include at least 5 grams daily of bioactive collagen peptides to promote the synthesis of Type 2 collagen. Here is a video below that describes the major types of Collagen below:
The next nutraceutical on my list is L-Glutathione. Glutathione is one of the body’s most important and potent antioxidants. Antioxidants work to reduce oxidative stress by combating free radicals in the body. While humans get most of their antioxidants through the food they eat, Glutathione is actually produced within the body. As we age, glutathione levels drop and our cells begin to collect more “rust.” Supplementing with L-Glutathione helps our skin remain bright by preventing melanin generation. Melanin is a dark pigment that collects in the skin, hair, and eyes. Although it does protect us from UV radiation, research shows that it can also do us harm. Researchers say that melanin can be linked to DNA lesions that can potentially result in cancer-causing mutations. Taking 250 mg of Glutathione orally for 4 weeks has statistically proven to not only improve the texture and brightness of skin, but also improve the appearance of wrinkles. I recently found a great Glutathione cream that I have also been mixing in with my night time moisturizer. The combination of the cream and oral supplement have made a huge difference in the appearance of my skin.
This water soluble antioxidant is a natural component of healthy skin. When we are young, our Vitamin C levels are abundant, but they drop off drastically as we age. Skin fibroblasts depend on Vitamin C for the synthesis of collagen as well as protection against UV radiation. The provisions of Vitamin C to the skin also assist in wound healing and minimizing scar formation. Other benefits include skin brightening, the ability to even out skin tone, diminished fine lines, and shielding the skin from environmental stressors. There are many forms of Vitamin C for skin, but Ascorbic Acid has the most skin related research. It should also be noted that Vitamin C is sensitive to air and light. It should be stored in an opaque, air restrictive container to ensure the ingredients remain stable. A Vitamin C cream stored in a jar won’t remain effective nearly as long. Finally, it’s unclear whether Vitamin C can be adequately delivered to the skin by a topical cream on its own. As a result, you should also be getting a sufficient amount from your diet rich in fruits and vegetables and/or an oral pill.
There you have it: my three secret weapons for beautiful skin. So next time you’re ready to splurge on some nutricosmetics, start here. Your skin will thank you.