The essence of sensible, and good skin care starts with nutrition. Our skin, as the largest organ of our body, is totally dependent upon the nourishment we give it by way of our diet. When your body systems are getting the nourishment they need and are working together efficiently, your health is better, you have more energy, your skin is soft and smooth, your hair and nails are strong, you have a healthy glow, and your topical skin care regimen works better.
Sure there are many variables in our lives that impact our diets as well as our bodies efficiency. In this paper, I will not be addressing genetic differences or major disorders resulting from viruses, bacteria, accidents, and lifestyle issues (alcohol, drugs etc). The rule with your body is that you should never throw it into a state of imbalance. Usually, taking huge amounts of any one element will cause your body to react in order to bring about some semblance of balance, and you may not expect, or like the reaction….
Eating 5 fruit and 5 vegetable servings every day is essential for healthy, glowing skin. However, a balanced nutritional supplement based approach is a great way for the majority of us to start building for “a better skin care future’. I really like the Adeeva nutritional supplements and the advice of Dr James Meschino.
So, the way I look at it is that we should eat as healthy as our busy and stressful social and work lives will allow and take nutritional dietary supplements that will help slow the aging process in the skin and body. Today, stress is everywhere we are (traffic/computer errors/shop assistants/getting home in time to feed family and pets/watching the news/looking good so that you can keep your job etc etc) and it and the sun are the 2 strongest aging factors that our bodies, and particularly skin, encounter the most. The truth is that previous generations never had the level of daily stress that we do and so they often aged better than we do despite the fact that we have more advanced health and skin care solutions.
Proper Nutritional Intake Will:
• slow down skin aging
• reduce the risk of sun (UV light) damage
• manage skin conditions
The typical North American diet of red meat, pork, dairy and processed or fast foods catalyses processes in the body that create an environment that will leave the skin dry, rough, less moist and less radiant, and also more susceptible to UV damage.
The way to mitigate these negative effects are to reduce your intake of these foods and to build in good levels of essential fatty acids (EFA’s) from Flax seed, Borage seed, and deep sea cold water fish oil which eventually create skin friendly hormones Prostaglandin 1 and 3. However this is no magic potion. For these EFA’s to work well you need to have a good base of Vitamin B6, Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B3, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Selenium, and Beta Carotene. Other vitamins and minerals are needed for the myriad of micro activities that occur in our bodies every minute of our lives. Without the one, the other won’t work well….and you won’t achieve the desired results. If you do not take Essential Fatty Acids, you will have to ensure that you do not consume foods that turn into arachidonic acid, which in turn creates a hormone (Prostaglandin 2) that does everything to your skin that you don’t want to see happen as you age.
The other major aging process is oxidation and it’s resulting Free Radicals. The net of this is that oxygen can kill us…and it definitely will age our skin. Our bodies have a love/hate relationship with Oxygen. We need it to enable the cells to break down nutritional molecules, so creating energy that will enable the cells to divide and grow, and thus produce fresh new skin that will make us look a whole lot better. However, as the oxidation process begins, our skin cells will die off at an increasing rate (as we know from leaving an apple open on the kitchen counter, it quickly turns brown and that is similar to what is happening in our bodies). However, in our bodies, we make very potent anti oxidant enzymes like Catalase and Super Oxide Dismutase. These will prevent us from dying of oxidation. Nature also ensures that a whole variety of foods provide our bodies with anti oxidants to support the work of the anti oxidant enzymes. Without these enzymes, the earth’s atmosphere will kill us in a matter of days. Other free radicals are created in our bodies through, inter alia, alcohol, smoking, and pollution.
Our skin is a major battlefield of oxygen created free radicals and anti oxidants. The skin receives 10 000 free radical hits per cell per day from oxygen alone. The more UV rays we encounter, the more free radicals in our skin, the more cells are damaged and die, and thus the greater the need for more anti oxidants. The more stress we incur, the more other parts of our body need anti oxidants. The internal cells get first option on the anti oxidants we consume, so the skin loses out and thus generally ages faster than internal organs. To help our skin keep up with the youthfulness and liveliness of the interior of the body, we need to increase our intake of anti oxidants like Vitamins, A (aka Beta Carotene), C and E as well as other elements like Selenium etc. Topical antioxidants like Triple C+E and Antioxidant Vitaserum are essential elements of our home skin care regimen….especially as we age. For more information on antioxidants see the video Antioxidants: why?
Some important notes on anti oxidant vitamin nutritional supplements:
• Vitamin A and E are fat soluble and can be stored in the body, so it is important to take safe doses. This is one of the reasons why I am not a great fan of long term use of high potency Vitamin A or Retinol products. Retinol is Vitamin A in topical cream format. High levels of vitamin A can become toxic to the body, and this can be important to anyone with compromised liver functionality.
• A third of the beta carotene you consume can be converted into Vitamin A in your body, if the body deems it necessary. It is therefore safer to consume Beta Carotene in larger quantities than Vitamin A.
• Vitamin C is water soluble so it passes out of your body quickly if not utilized by the cells. Your body only absorbs 500 mg of vitamin C at any one time, so it is important not to waste your money on high doses of C once a day. Smaller doses taken at least 2 x per day will be more effective.
Vitamins A and E are 2 of the primary anti oxidants in your body that protect the cell walls from free radical attacks. Vitamin C is a major support of Vitamin E by re-energizing it when exhausted from defending the cell from free radical attacks. Therefore, the body needs many anti oxidants all working together, and a massive infusion of just one of them won’t do the trick of slowing the aging process in your skin. This is why anti oxidants as nutritional supplements followed with a topical vitamin C is the absolute bare minimum critical process I believe in for your skin care regimen.
Other aspects of skin care: The liver and the digestive system.
In the usual intricacy of the human body, all organs and systems are dependent upon each other, but the 2 major impacts on the skin come from the excretory system (primarily the liver) and the digestive system. Once again, mother nature does not invest time and effort in us as we age, so after age 40, both systems will tend to start becoming less optimal in terms of their performance levels.
As we all know, the cells in the body get their energy to do what they have to do, from the food we eat and the oxygen we breathe. If the digestive system is not functioning properly, food is not broken down into it’s smallest molecular components and bearing in mind that the cells can only absorb the molecules they recognize, nutrition may not get to the very cells in our skin that we want to keep healthy and strong. A variety of things happen to improperly broken down food, one of which is that it is seen as a foreign item by the immune system which then attacks it. Whenever the immune system attacks, it creates an immune inflammatory response. If you exhibit any type of skin disorder (eczema, acne, rosacea, psoriasis), the immune inflammatory response worsens the skin disorder. So the solution is to make your digestive system work efficiently by supporting the break down of food with pancreatic enzymes, and in supporting the growth of friendly bacteria in the lower digestive system. Due to many years of antibiotic use (not only those the doctors give us, but also those we consume after they have been administered to animals and fowl), the good bacteria get killed off and the unfriendly bacteria become dominant., They in turn release endotoxins into the blood stream that results in worsened skin problems. So it is important to feed the friendly bacteria with PreBiotics (note they are not the same at ProBiotics) in order to help them grow and once again out number the unfriendly bacteria. Poor pancreatic activity often results in water being drawn into the digestive tract and thus delivering the bloated feeling that many women, in particular, seem to experience. Extra pancreatic enzymes will help solve this.
The liver is “detox central” in your body. Blood from the digestive tract heads straight for the liver where toxins, waste and irrelevant molecules are filtered out and neutralized before being excreted. Blood from the rest of the body, carrying waste products from all cells, also gets filtered through the liver before going to the heart and lungs, being renewed, and once again doing its circulatory thing in order to keep us alive, growing, and healthy. In fact 2 quarts of blood pass through the liver every minute! There is a dual enzyme process in the liver that will stop almost all toxins from staying in the blood stream, but genetic weakness, viruses like Hepatitis, alcohol, stress and aging all cause the liver to function at less than optimal levels. A mal-functioning liver also does not neutralize old hormones and neurotransmitters. The ‘mal-functioning’ will have an affect on your skin. Skin disorders get worse, your skin is more sensitive to UV damage from the sun, and toxins left in the blood stream will have an effect upon the health and stability of many other cells in your body. Ever wondered why they sometimes call the brown hyperpigmentation on your skin, liver spots?
The critical ingredients that supercharge your detox processes in the liver, as well as boosting your immune system, are Indole-3 Carbinol (something you get from cruciferous vegetables – think broccoli), a flavanoid called Silymarin found only in Milk Thistle, Reishi mushroom extract (used frequently in Asia to normalize the systems of the body and to support the immune system in particular), and Astragalus, which also supports the immune system. With these, skin disorders improve, and it has been found to diminish herpetic virus activity (cold sores/canker sores).
So, for your skin’s sake, feed it well and take care of it….and you, plus those around you, will feel and see the difference…
As a final note, some people feel that the vitamins and minerals we take are not absorbed and they use as evidence the change in colour of the urine after taking the tablets. Well, what you see is actually the metabolites of the tablets having been broken down, and therefore essential elements have been absorbed. Some excess Vitamin B (water soluble vitamin) will also cause a yellow colour in the urine. The same thing happens when you take headache tablets or Chinese herbal medicine for that matter…the metabolites in the urine shows that they have been processed.
The information provided here is not meant to diagnose or cure any medical conditions. It is always advisable to see a qualified nutritionist or your medical doctor should you have any medical concerns or conditions.