July 18, 2011
It’s important to fight inflammation from the inside out, but topical skin care that contains supercharged ingredients and proven antioxidants is an important piece of the anti-inflammation puzzle, too. There is a whole crop of inflammation-fighting ingredients in skin-care products today. While vitamins are some of the more noted anti-inflammatory agents, these key players also provide excellent skin benefits.
Ginger. Praised for its holistic healing abilities, ginger helps to mitigate the effects of inflammation because of its natural antioxidant properties, which reduce cellular stress.
Ginseng. Boasting more than 25 different antioxidants, ginseng works to regulate the release of enzymes that destroy the skin.
Vitamin C. Orally, vitamin C acts as an anti-inflammatory, and, when it’s applied to the skin, it helps to fend off free radicals while improving skin clarity, especially dullness, caused by sun damage. Vitamin C products and those that contain derivatives of the vitamin are especially beneficial for preventing sunburned skin.
Coffeberry. The fruit of the coffee bean is said to be one of the most potent antioxidants—three times more powerful than green tea.
Alpha Lipoic Acid. This rather small molecule packs a powerful punch. It affects how the cell is able to protect itself and helps get rid of scar tissue, a result of inflammation.
Mushroom Extract. Traditionally used in Eastern medicine, and becoming more mainstream, some varieties of mushrooms double as powerful antioxidants, scavenging off free radicals.
July 5, 2011
If you love the white stuff — we’re talking sugar, folks — your sweet tooth could be making your skin sag, crinkle, and wrinkle before its time. Blame glycation. That’s what happens when sugar hits your bloodstream, gloms on to proteins, and forms the aptly named AGEs, or advanced glycation end products. AGEs are bad news for your skin. They damage the collagen and elastin fibers that keep it strong and supple.
While scientists aren’t ready to say “sugar causes wrinkles,” docs know from observing people with poorly managed diabetes what out-of-control blood sugar does to skin — and it isn’t pretty. Bluntly put, it causes “premature” aging.
That should be extra inspiration to skip the cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks and fill your plate with wrinkle fighters. Here’s even more: There is plenty of scientific proof that certain nutrients help nourish the fibers that keep skin stretchy and healthy, says Manhattan dermatologist Amy Wechsler, MD, RealAge expert and author of The Mind-Beauty Connection. Step right up to the beauty buffet and serve yourself this way:
- Cover half — yes, 50% — of your plate with fruits and veggies. The antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals in plants act like a dietary highway patrol, pulling over speeding free radicals before they can damage your skin’s collagen and elastin. You’ll also get loads of vitamin C this way (brightly colored produce is full of it). That’s great because C is essential for making new collagen.
- Then add extra flavor or crunch by topping your fruits and veggies with nuts, seeds, or a drizzle of olive oil. Nuts and seeds are full of vitamin E, an off-the-charts antioxidant. Since sunlight depletes vitamin E in skin, you need to continually replenish your supply, and the more you get from food — not supplements — the better. While that’s true in general, if there’s any chance you could get pregnant, taking big doses of E is a don’t. It’s linked to heart defects in newborns.
As for olive oil, its healthy fats help skin cells resist wrinkle-causing sun damage.
- Fill 25% of your plate with lean protein. Think fish, skinless white-meat poultry, beans, chickpeas, lentils, and tofu. All give you the good proteins your body needs to make new skin cells and keep up with its own antiaging skin repairs.
- Fill 25% of your plate with 100% whole grains. As in whole-wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, barley, any breads made from 100% whole grains, and more. Unlike the simple carbs in sugar, the complex carbs in whole grains are the kind your body and skin crave. Instead of triggering blood sugar spikes and forming brigades of aging AGEs, whole-grain carbs are full of fiber, which steadies blood sugar. Plus, the selenium and zinc in whole grains help harness the collagen- and elastin-damaging free radicals.
June 1, 2011
Can the fountain of youth—as well as glowing complexion—really be found in what you eat? Doctors have long supported the connection between skin health and diet, but when it comes to getting the right amount and the right kind of foods, what do you eat to help the skin from within? The ingredients below, found in your everyday, favorite foods offer serious beauty benefits.
Melatonin helps fight inflammation and is good for acne, rosacea and eczema. This powerful antioxidant, found in cherries, bananas, tomatoes, oats, rice bran and ginger, helps to scavenge damaging free radicals and fight skin inflammation, which can surface as acne, redness or irritation.
Biotin, found in nuts, eggs, peanut butter, oats, liver and salmon, helps strengthen nails and prevents hair from thinning. Because biotin helps to strengthen nails and hair, it’s beneficial for those suffering from hair loss or thinning hair. In fact, a biotin deficiency may increase breakage and cause hair to become dry and brittle.
Resveratrol, found in grapes, blueberries and red wine, protects against sun damage. It is believed to play a role in preventing photodamage caused by sun exposure (aka sagging, fine lines and wrinkles), as it protects against sun damage and slows the breakdown of collagen.
Vitamins C and E repair damaged skin. Found in citrus fruits, wheat germ oil, nuts, leafy greens, broccoli and kiwi, these vitamins help repair damaged cells. A one-two punch for protecting against sun damage, vitamins C and E are beneficial on their own, but even more powerful together. Vitamin E aids in hydrating skin and protects against free-radical damage, while vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen.
May 31, 2011
Skin that is less than ideal can arise from a variety of different causes, with the main ones being:
Dehydration. Even if you drink plenty of water, if your body is not utilizing it correctly, all of the layers of skin may not receive the hydration needed. Drinking water is the best way to keep the body hydrated. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, add lemon or cranberry to it, which will also provide pH-balancing benefits. Dehydrated skin actually stems from internal dehydration. When the body is deficient in water, the organs become dehydrated, too, as does the skin. If your skin is dehydrated, very fine lines may be present, the overall skin color will be flat and the skin will feel dry and inflexible.
Lack of exercise. If you think that the only benefit of exercise is a better body, guess again. Exercise is also important for your skin because it helps to stimulate the lymphatic system, which keeps everything moving, especially blood. Proper blood flow is essential for both a healthy glow and to fuel the underlying cells so they can function at their full potential.
Smoking. Smoking is extremely damaging to the skin since it depletes the body of vitamin C and accelerates the rate at which collaged and elastin are broken down. It’s no question that smoking is a big factor in causing unhealthy skin. The chemicals in cigarettes suck moisture out of the skin, making it look and feel dry.
Diet. The digestive system and skin have a reciprocal effect on each other. Certain foods positively influence the skin’s behavior. It’s not about what is missing from your diet as much as it is about what you can and cannot address. If you can’t properly break food down, it won’t move throughout the digestive process and can actually cause you to become bloated and the skin to look sluggish. Since the skin is a functioning organ, when not enough vitamins and minerals are ingested to fuel the body, the skin suffers.
The Sun. A top skin offender, the sun is a major cause of unhealthy skin. Repeated sun exposure depletes collagen and elastin from within, making the skin less elastic and thinner, which leads to wrinkles. The sun is a known contributor of dark-colored spots and leathery, wrinkled-looking skin—an obvious sign of unfit and aged skin. The effects of the sun begin when we are kids. It is years later when we begin to see spots, wrinkles and, sometimes, precancerous patches and skin cancer.
January 11, 2011
Just like cutting an apple causes it to turn brown, oxidation affects your skin in a similar manner. As we age, the skin’s antioxidant defense system weakens, losing its capacity to fight the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Free radicals are naturally-occurring, unstable extra electrons that seek out other extra electrons from healthy cells, damaging them and creating more free radicals in the process. They cause DNA damage in cells throughout the body—including the skin—leading to inflammation and deterioration of the cells, essentially “rusting” them.
Antioxidants bind to free radicals before they can cause this damage. Vitamin C, for example, prevents this from happening by protecting the cells.
To see for yourself, cut an apple and rub lemon juice on it. Just like it preserves the apple, it can help protect your skin.
December 20, 2010
Statistics show that many of us don’t get a good amount of vitamin D, which can be partially blamed on a healthy habit: wearing sunscreen. It blocks vitamin D as it defends you from sun damage.
However, help may be on the way in the form of a new ingredient that could eventually replace common UV filters found in creams and cosmetics.
According to an article in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, researchers found that an ingredient called Uniprotect PT-3 protected against oxidative and UV damage at a level comparable to that of an SPF 20 formula, but it allowed for the production of vitamin D in the skin at the same time.
It may be a while before we see this technology permeate products, so until it’s available, you should continue wearing traditional sunscreen and seek out vitamin D in healthy foods and supplements.
December 6, 2010
Do you know where to find edible antioxidants?
Much has been reported about the value and importance of antioxidants and incorporating them in your diet and beauty products. Free radicals can cause inflammation, damage and disease, and antioxidants are vital because they fight these free radicals.
Think you know where to find antioxidants? You may be surprised where they’re hiding. Here are four unexpected examples…
Vitamin C: You know it’s found in citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, but you can also get it from sweet red peppers, plantains, broccoli, kale and potatoes.
Vitamin A: You know it’s found in liver, fish oil and eggs, but you can also find it in pumpkin and mozzarella cheese.
Vitamin E: You know it’s found in nuts and avocados, but you can also get it from ginger, soy-based mayonnaise, and asparagus.
Selenium: This mineral is widely known to be in fish, red meat, chicken, grains and eggs, but you’ll also find it in garlic.
September 29, 2010
June 23, 2009
This was originally written in December 2008 by Liberty Kontranowski & Pierce Mattie Public Relations.
Argan Oil: This incredible skin care miracle, known for being one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin E with 80% essential fatty acids, has been a beauty secret of Moroccan women for centuries. It can be dually used on skin and in hair for its high level of antioxidants and ability to replenish hair and skin’s natural moisture.
Acai: Sometimes referred to as “The Fountain of Youth,” this Brazilian berry contains antioxidants, amino acids, essential omegas, fibers and protein that positions itself as a formidable fighter in anti-aging products. Acai can be found across the board in skin care, cosmetics and hair care products.
Goji Berries: This nutrient-rich berry, well known as Wolfberries in the Himalayas, has often been called a “super food” due to its abilities to fight free radicals and boost the immune system. While there are no inherent benefits of Goji in fragrance, that hasn’t stopped perfumers from including this sweet yet tart scent into their perfumes.
Baobab: Rich in riboflavin, niacin and vitamins C, A, D and E, baobab has incredible anti-aging properties although you won’t just find it in creams and moisturizers, but also in exfoliating scrubs and hair care.
Acerola: Ingredients high in Vitamin C, like acerola, are being used more often due to their ability to even out skin tone and brighten complexion. Skin care brands will be using acerola more to target those who have issues with skin redness and inflammation.
Blueberry: Chock full of amino acids, vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids, blueberries are another super food that will be used to fight aging in beauty products. Also known as a “super fruit,” blueberries have long been known for its ability to revitalize the skin; it was just a matter of time before beauty brands began to incorporate it more into their skin care products.
Probiotics: Last year Pierce Mattie PR termed probiotics a “buzzword” among beauty brands, but now those brands are delivering more than just buzz with this sister category to Cosmeceuticals and Nutraceuticals. Probiotic skin care will be branded as another “clinical-like” line of products, which beauty consumers tend to lean towards as science-based.
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3: This Cosmeceutical that is becoming found more often in anti-aging products to fight fine lines and wrinkles will be even more prevalent in 2009. Products that contain Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3 will be branded as a temporary alternative to cosmetic procedures.
Myrrh: With the increasing popularity of Ayurveda in the Unites States, this ancient ingredient is also resurging in perfumes and skin care products. The rich royal resin with the slight vanilla fragrance so popular in incense also stimulates circulation and has lifting effects.
Turmeric: A highly regarded ingredient in India, Turmeric is widely known for its medicinal properties. Turmeric will be found in acne-related creams and lotions, as it is an antiseptic and can aid in preventing and removing blemishes. It will also be found in hair removal products as well as in the formulation of sunscreen in more natural products as well.