By Paula Simpson
There are two primary influences in skin aging - chronological aging and extrinsic aging. Chronological aging is the natural progression of aging while extrinsic skin aging is caused by external factors, mainly chronic sun exposure, pollution, smoking, poor diet and lifestyle.
The most visible effect of skin aging occurs when there is a decline in the skin’s connective tissue and water content. Fine lines and wrinkles are created due to the overall weakening and loss of skin collagen structure, resulting in a decline in skin health.
There are approximately 27 types of collagen, classified by their size, function and amino acid composition. Type I is the most important collagen for skin tissue.
Collagen is an abundant protein and main building block in the body. A vital component of connective tissue in our joints, tendons and ligaments, collagen is also the primary protein that keeps skin smooth, firm and helps to lock in skin moisture.
The skin is comprised of three distinctive layers, the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The outer most layer (the epidermis,) provides protection against foreign substances and a barrier from the external environment. The dermis is directly below and gives skin its strength and support. It is the dermis that contains nerves, blood vessels and fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and elastin fibers,)that receive essential nutrients to produce new skin cells and maintain the structural foundation of the skin. Collagen is the most abundant protein within this structural framework that gives skin its strength. Elastin fibers combine with collagen to provide the skin with elasticity. The base substance is composed of substances glycosaminoglycans, glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulphate that form a “gelling and cementing” base that bind to water molecules and function as the gateway for nutrients and oxygen to reach the outer skin tissue.
“When the dermal collagen structure is healthy and strong, nutrients and oxygen can easily reach skin tissue (for new cell production and repair,) and efficiently remove toxins that can break down skin collagen structure.”
We lose approximately 1% of collagen per year after the age of 29. As mentioned earlier a poor diet and lifestyle, environmental stressors and pollutants can further impair and deteriorate skin collagen.
“SUGAR CAUSES WRINKLES – IT’S THAT SIMPLE”
Above the usual culprit’s including alcohol, caffeine, processed foods/trans fats, many of us don't realize that sugar is also destructive to our skin.
The typical Western diet is loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars that are rapidly digested and create ‘Advanced Glycation End (AGE)’ products in every cell and molecule in the body. AGE’s bind to skin connective tissue and rearrange its natural chemical structure while creating inflammation and oxidative stress that further break down skin collagen and promote wrinkles.
Solar and chemical air pollutants aggravate the skin and stimulate wrinkle formation via collagen degradation. Cigarette smoking has been found to contribute to sagging, dehydrated skin. All forms of these pollutants increase oxidative stress and inflammation within skin’s connective tissue.
By lessening the oxidative stress load with antioxidant rich foods, supplements and topical products, we can slow down or even prevent these pathways that lead to structural damage in skin’s connective tissue.
Skin cellular renewal takes place within the deeper layer with new skin cells moving outward towards the epidermis. Hence a combination of nutrition, topical skincare and supplemental regimens may be the most effective approach to protect and enhance skin health and appearance.
“The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes, monounsaturated fats (MUFA,) and a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS.) Rich in antioxidant carotenoids and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables, the unique properties of this diet are of interest for healthy skin and have been clinically shown to effectively nourish and protect the skin from environmental aggressors”
Skin cells are produced and replaced every few weeks and it is the last organ in the body to receive nutrients from the food and supplements we ingest. Thus, even minor nutrient deficiencies increase our susceptibility to unhealthy skin. So, while it is true when you hear “skin is the mirror of your inner health,” it is important to also be aware of those nutrients that optimize skin cell renewal, protect collagen and promote dermal circulation for strong healthy skin.
By choosing foods more wisely, you automatically reduce exposure to contaminants, hormones, antiobiotics, preservatives and chemicals found in mass produce and animal based products. In season, organic, sustainable and humanely raised foods will provide the right balance of nutrients over commercially manufactured products. This is the first step towards healthy beauty.
To complement a balanced diet, some “collagen boosting” nutrients include:
“Wrinkles are formed when skin collagen structure deteriorates. Disulfide bonds help to maintain strong collagen bonds and protect against degenerative cross-linking. Sugar is a primary culprit in attacking collagen, while the mineral sulfur found in foods and supplements help to strengthen those bonds that sugar attacks and breaks down”
By incorporating nutrition and potentially supplementation, you can protect skin collagen and encourage a healthy rate of cellular renewal “FROM WITHIN.” Topical products work from the “outside in” locking in skin moisture, protecting and shielding skin from environmental aggressors that can deteriorate healthy skin collagen. It is the combination of skincare and nutrition that brings the most visible and long lasting results for healthy, firm and smooth skin.
In Health & Beauty,
Paula is a holistic beauty expert who has integrated her expertise in nutrition, natural health and beauty to drive innovation within the medical, wellness and personal care sectors. With global recognition as a formulation expert, Paula has dedicated her time in educating both the medical aesthetic and personal care industries on the importance of nutrition to promote natural beauty and healthy aging. She has successfully combined her scientific and holistic nutrition background to create some of the most successful beauty wellness products and programs available today. As a consultant, Paula’s strength in natural health proved successful for many clients including top celebrities, executives, children and competitive athletes. She is regularly sought after as an industry speaker, media expert and a frequent contributor for many of the leading health, beauty and spa publications worldwide. Paula has been formally recognized as one of the leading innovators & powerful women in the natural beauty industry today. https://paulasimpson.com/
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Stay Ever Well,
Lynne + Renee