Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your body? That’s right, it actually covers an area of about 16 square feet in the average person. We generally take our skin for granted and tend not to take very good care of it. Our skin is responsible for protecting our internal organs from the toxic external world – it protects you from heat, cold, and physical injuries. Your skin is your first defense against invasion by bacteria, viruses, and other toxic elements. The skin is also an excretory organ, removing toxins from the body via sweat. The effects of UV radiation from the sun are much more dangerous than initially thought. There are many causes for the accumulated cellular damage in the skin that we call aging. Among these are the oxidative processes and related free radical damage that result from intense sunlight exposure, smog, toxins, cigarette smoke, X-rays, drugs, and other stressors. There have been many advances in dermatology screenings, therapies, and surgeries, but there are also natural solutions to improve aging skin.
The Anatomy of Your Skin
Your skin consists of two main layers: the dermis and epidermis. The dermis is the inner layer of skin that contains nerve fibers, fat cells, blood vessels, sweat and oil glands, and hair follicles. The dermis also contains collagen and elastin, two proteins that are responsible for the structure and elasticity of the skin itself. These proteins are subject to the process of aging. The sweat and oil glands in the dermis protect the outer layer of skin with a thin coating of oil and perspiration.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin. New cells generated by the dermis continually replace this layer. Removal of the epidermis, as in a scrape or burn, reveals an unprotected sensitive dermis underneath. The epidermis also contains melanocytes or pigment cells.
What Causes the Skin to Age?
The following factors can accelerate skin aging: excess sun exposure, first or secondhand smoke, environmental toxins, poor diet, excess alcohol consumption, chronic stress, harsh soaps, or detergent-based moisturizers or cleansers, and sleep deprivation to name a few. One way of mitigating the effects of these skin-damaging foes is to increase levels of protective antioxidants through a diet rich in fruits and vegetables or by direct topical application. Science clearly substantiates the role that free radicals play, causing skin aging and the fact that topically applied antioxidants confer significant protection and can partially reverse some aspects of skin aging. Despite the effect of sunlight on the skin, other factors affect skin health. Dryness, loss of tone and fullness, diminished immune system response, and reduced ability to repair damage are all factors that contribute to the aging process regarding the skin. We know that there are many types of skin tones and qualities. Men tend to have thicker skin than women due to the dominant hormone being testosterone. However, in later years, the lack of estrogen in women and testosterone in men tends to cause changes in both genders.
Skin damage occurs when the membrane covering of the skin cell is damaged by free radicals. Free radicals make the membrane more permeable, allowing the cells to dehydrate ( lose water). The membrane of the cell is what is called a lipid bilayer: two layers of fat end-on-end. Enzymes break down the lipid bilayer and cause inflammation.
Lifestyle Matters: What is Good for Your Skin?
When most people think about good things that they can do for their skin, they usually think about things they will put on the skin rather than what they will put inside themselves (diet and supplements) to make the skin healthier. Although topical applications of certain products are helpful and generally essential, equally important is the nourishment of the skin from the inside. Everything from essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and other supplements to the food that we eat are important in maintaining healthy skin as part of an anti-aging approach.
Diet: Again, many times, a healthy diet is not part of the equation when looking at skincare. However, what you eat and how you eat makes a tremendous difference in your body’s largest organ – the skin. RNA rich foods such as sardines, salmon, tuna, shellfish, lentils, and beans help improve cell energy through a salvage pathway. Antioxidant and phytochemical-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and green tea help protect against oxidative damage and free radical attack of all body cells, including skin cells. As a reminder, always avoid processed foods and sugary foods and soda whenever possible.
Supplements for the Skin
Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E plus Vitamin D3, bioflavonoids, and the minerals selenium, zinc, and manganese provide protection against damaging free radicals that play havoc with the skin. Several studies indicate that probiotics should also be included, as the balance of good and bad bacteria can increase inflammatory levels and impact skin breakouts.
CBD oil – there has been a lot of interest in CBD topical serums, lotions, and salves recently as a natural alternative to some of the standard dermatological preparations. Ananda Professional has gained the confidence of dermatologists with several of their CBD skin products, including the Hydrating Spot Serum, which contains over 20 concentrated botanicals and antioxidants to protect and add radiance to the skin. Another of their key skincare products, called Advanced Spot Serum, fights skin imperfections like acne, rosacea, dermatitis, and eczema. This formula includes pharmaceutical-grade CBD plus neem, rosehip, tea tree oils, vitamin E, and hemp seed oil to help support skin collagen, elasticity, and promote skin smoothness.
Omega 3 fish oils and Flaxseed oil – both Omega 3 fish oil and Flaxseed oil have been shown to have benefit in skincare for lubrication, skin tone, and reduction of inflammation on the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin.
Biotin – this is a water-soluble vitamin that is part of the vitamin B family. It has shown to play a crucial role in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails and is a very popular supplement with women.
It is crucial to your overall health to pay close attention and take good care of your skin. Many times, it is the window to the status of your health. Not only is the skin the largest organ in the body, but it is also arguably one of the most important. Taking a whole-body approach, including a healthy diet, targeted nutrients, and other natural topical solutions, plus quality sleep, staying hydrated, and reducing stress can collectively lead to much healthier skin as you age.