It's what marketers lead us to believe is the picture of glowing health - the ultimate tan. But sun overindulgence and tanning misuse does have a price. And it's not just skin deep.
Sun damage is cumulative and often remains hidden to the naked eye for decades. As the years pass and sun glow routines continue unmitigated and exacerbated by the daily ravages of air pollutants and the effects of temperature extremes, the evidence of accelerated aging begins staring back at you in the mirror - sagging skin, deeper wrinkles, and pigmentation mottling.
What's more is that skin, being the largest organ of the body, requires daily care and protection, and not just seasonal attention. But the condition of your skin is also greatly affected by a variety of intrinsic factors as well. It's not just how you live that influences how you look, but what you eat as well. And it's this hot, new quest for inner understanding which has lead to the explosion of interest in the category of cosmeceuticals.
Beauty Inside and Out
Cosmeceuticals are products or formulations that contain beneficial natural health ingredients in either ingestible or topical formats to support smart aging, external beauty, and overall health. Familiar substances include vitamins, minerals, botanicals, herbs and various nutrients of which a large percentage are considered potent antioxidants. And it is the antioxidants which help offset the excess free radicals within the body that create cell damage and impairment.
Collagen and elastin are both important components of the skin's tissue. These proteins, found in the dermal layers of the skin, help to hold the skin together, and maintain its youthful appearance, elasticity and tone. Reactive free radicals negatively impact on the skin, wearing down its collagen and elastin fibres, hence producing the visual signs of aging. Antioxidants can also help protect against sun damage while reducing inflammation that causes depletion of collagen.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, which is the most effective cosmeceutical of all?
Some potent antioxidants include green tea, CoQ10, alpha lipoic acid, resveratrol, vitamin A, C, E and selenium and carotenoids like lycopene, beta-carotene and lutein. And although there is no one single nutrient that does it all, a combination of ingredients and products when paired together provide powerful benefits to keeping you healthy both inside and out.
Applying ingredients topically can deliver benefits directly to the skin, ensuring higher concentrations, while internal supplements offer protection to the structures of the skin and the body as a whole. Many aging and other beauty concerns affect the deeper layers of skin that topical creams are unable to reach. Ingestible supplements work inside-out, providing substances to help increase cell renewal and increase circulation, thus, enabling the body to build collagen and elastin.
And that's not all. There are other powerful health benefits. For instance, when green tea rich in polyphenols is used in ingestible form, it helps protect against cancer, reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke, and appears to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis.
Conversely, creams and other topicals help deal with the outside-in. Research has shown that green tea polyphenols when used topically can help stimulate the proliferation of skin cells. They can help reverse the outward signs of aging and help various skin disorders, including rosacea and psoriasis. Furthermore, green tea polyphenols help protect against sun damage and sunburn as they reduce inflammation caused by uv radiation and restore glutathione (GSH) levels, the body's main endogenous antioxidant.
The vast amount of current literature and science supports the use of antioxidants and various nutrients in both wellness and beauty. Together, a selection of research-backed cosmeceuticals can help prevent premature aging of the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and offer a valid solution for maintaining our youth both visually and physically.