As the beautiful weather fast approaches, so too does our desire to soak up the first rays of the summer sun, but not without some reservations. Our knowledge about the harmful effects of solar radiation has grown exponentially as the earth’s protective layer of ozone has diminished. The incidences of skin cancers, due to ultraviolet (UV) rays, are rising and they now account for more than 50% of all cancers. In this increasingly health conscious world people are looking for ways of protecting themselves and their families from excessive UV exposure while still enjoying the outdoors.
For many the challenge doesn’t just stop with treatments for dry skin and minimizing the risk of skin damage, but focuses more on reversing the clock. The concept of anti-aging explores restoring and maintaining a healthy, vibrant and youthful attitude as well as appearance.
Our faces, one of our most precious assets most often displays the majority of the free-radical damage caused by excessive sun exposure. This trauma to the skin is known as photo-aging. It occurs as a result of the breakdown of healthy collagen fibers.
Enzymes are also released to help rebuild the damage to the skin, to the best of their ability, by laying down new collagen fibers. If the skin is forced to repeat this process numerous times, it results in the formation of weak, disorganized collagen fibers that eventually collapse, causing skin to droop. This results in the formation of wrinkles.
Today much research is focused on natural products that not only protect against routine sun exposure, but may also help reverse the cumulative effects of photo-aging. If we are able to reverse sun damage and aging, then a more youthful appearance is restored to the skin. The foundation of any successful program includes:
- restful sleep
- topical treatments for dry skin
- nourishing diet
- regular exercise
- supplementation with powerful natural antioxidants
Energize and Firm with Coenzyme Q10
Past research on CoQ10 has typically focused on its uses in cancer, heart disease, diabetes and various neurological disorders. More current studies however are now analyzing its antioxidant role in age-related conditions, more specifically beauty, as one of the treatments for dry skin and anti-aging skin care products.
CoQ10 is a fat soluble nutrient which exists in two forms. The most biologically active form is ubiquinol which acts as a potent antioxidant and protects against oxidative reactions throughout the body by donating electrons and neutralizing free radicals. CoQ10 is also highly effective in countering the normal decline in mitochondrial energy production that accompanies skin chronically exposed to the sun. Regrettably, as we age the concentrations of CoQ10 in our skin declines significantly and that increases our risk for skin diseases and photo-aging. CoQ10 is therefore key in preventing damage to the skin by scavenging free-radicals not only produced by UV sunlight, but from other oxidative processes such as smog, toxins, cigarette smoke, X rays and drugs. Young skin on the other hand has a ready supply of enzymes that provide antioxidant activity, as well as, a sufficient cellular energy (ATP) for DNA repair and cell renewal. Unfortunately these enzymes are also less available as we age and the energy for cell repair and renewal is much diminished. The topical usage of CoQ10 is an important step forward in science based skin care. CoQ10 helps to protect the skin from the damaging effects of oxidative stress and photo-aging by restoring moisture, refining texture, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It is also one of the best treatments for dry skin.
Antioxidant Benefits of Green Tea
The benefits of green tea have been known for thousands of years. It is possibly one of the world’s oldest sun-protective agents, when taken orally or when applied topically. The main biologically active component of green tea is epi-gallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and it works by strengthening immune function and by enhancing DNA repair. It also contains high concentrations of superoxide dismutase (SOD), a potent antioxidant, exceptionally effective at quenching age-accelerating free radicals. Green tea contains significant amounts of alpha-hydroxy acids, which not only act as natural exfoliate, to remove dead skin cells, but are also healthy stimulators of collagen production and cell growth, both of which are impaired by excessive sun exposure. This action of dead skin removal also makes green tea one of the best treatments for dry skin. Some studies suggest that the applications of the extract, reduces protein glycation, a major cause of wrinkling, by as much as 75%.
Finally, concentrated tea extracts can also help reduce the production of inflammatory agents that promote acne infections. In this way green tea can also be a perfect “spot treatment” for outbreaks, as it also contains ingredients that soothe and calm irritated skin, helping restore it to a normal healthy state.
Naturally Enhance with Pomegranate
Pomegranate is an ancient fruit with many modern health-promoting applications. It is best known for its potent antioxidant properties due to its high concentration of phenolic compounds. Pomegranate may help reverse visible signs of aging by promoting a moderate thickening of the epidermis, while maintaining healthy epidermal cell differentiation. The fruit extract also prolonged the life of cells in the dermis known as fibroblasts. Fibroblasts produce the skin’s essential structural fibers, including collagen and elastin. Pomegranate thus promotes regeneration of cells in the two most important layers of healthy skin, the dermis and epidermis. As the skin ages, its ability to quickly heal cuts, abrasions and other wounds are dramatically diminished.
Hydrate with Hyaluronic Acid
Until recently, little has been known about hyaluronic acid. However, with the popularity of such dermal fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, and Juvederm , our knowledge base is increasing significantly. Hyaluronic acid (or hyaluronate) is a large sugar-like molecule. Perhaps the most incredible characteristic of hyaluronic acid is its unique ability to attract and retain 1000 times its own weight in water. It is unmatched by any other substance in nature. This is the reason why hyaluronate is one of the most rejuvenating substances for the skin, as it helps restore healthy texture, colour and moisture making it one of the best treatments for dry skin.
At a young age our skin has an abundance of this hyaluronic acid, but with the passage of time and free radical damage caused by UV radiation our reserves of this molecule slowly deplete. Remarkably by ones 50th birthday almost half of this absolutely critical molecule for maintaining your skin’s volume, moisture and softness is gone. Without the volumizing effects of hyaluronic acid the skin wrinkles. It is therefore paramount to include hyaluronic acid into ones’ skin care routine.
Biotin Benefits Hair, Skin and Nails
Biotin is part of the B-vitamin family. Biotin benefits the synthesis of fat, glycogen, and amino acids and enzyme reactions and is required for DNA replication. Biotin is especially important for healthy hair and nails.
Biotin benefits fingernails by making them strong and resilient. Deficiency is rare except in those with hereditary disorders of biotin metabolism, liver disease, and during pregnancy (due to increased needs). It can also occur in those who consume raw egg white for prolonged periods (weeks to years) because a protein found in egg white (avidin) binds biotin and prevents its absorption or in those given intravenous feeding without biotin supplementation.
Drugs that deplete biotin include: primidone, carbamazepine, phenobarbital, phentyoin, valproic acid, and antibiotics.
To get biotin benefits from your food, be sure to include egg yolks, liver, wheat bran, yeast, oatmeal, soybeans, cauliflower, mushrooms, and nuts in your diet.
Natural Treatments For Dry Skin And Sun-Damaged Skin
There are several things lurking in your kitchen that can help with dry, sun-damaged skin. Combined with preventative skin care (protecting your skin from the sun, avoiding smoky rooms, and putting on lots of moisturizer to protect your skin from city life), these can help to restore a healthy complexion.
- Honey: this humectant (moisture-attracting) ingredient is excellent for repairing dry skin. Make sure you buy unpasteurized honey – Billy Bear won’t do anything for you. Apply a thick coating of honey on your face 10 minutes before your morning shower, or while you sit in the bath. Although it’s sticky if you get it in your hair, it dissolves instantly with water and leaves your skin moisturized.
- Coconut Oil: a natural moisturizer, coconut oil is excellent at smoothing, soothing and protecting your skin. It has antioxidant properties which help to work on fine wrinkles, and it helps to protect your skin from the sun. Read more about Coconut Oil on our blog.
- Sugar and Olive Oil: if you don’t have time to get a professional facial, mix up a teaspoon of sugar with a tablespoon of olive oil and use it to exfoliate your skin. Exfoliation is key to keeping your complexion vibrant. Getting rid of the top (damaged) layer of skin will minimize the appearance of sun damage.
- Lemon: this fruit has been key to fading sun spots for thousands of years. Apply fresh (real) lemon juice to sun spots or freckles every night before bedtime and you will begin to see them fade in about four weeks. Sure, getting them lasered off in the doctor’s office is faster, but lemon juice will only work topically, so there is no increased sun-sensitivity afterwards.Bonus Tip Drinking a glass of warm water with a quarter lemon in it first thing in the morning helps your body cleanse toxins naturally, resulting in a brighter, clearer complexion.
Maintaining youthful and healthy skin requires a multi-prolonged approach, one which incorporates both UV blockers and bioactive botanicals for protection from the damaging effects of the sun. It is now possible to resort and rejuvenate the sun damaged skin – without invasive surgical procedures or harsh chemicals. Remarkable topical nutrients such as green tea, Co Q10, pomegranate and hyaluronic acid, help protect, repair, and strengthen your skin, while lessening the appearance of hyper-pigmentation and vertical banding. These topical ingredients also help hydrate and revitalize dry-looking skin making them ideal treatments for dry skin. They also firm and tighten sagging areas, and reduce the appearance of creases and folds.