Ageing. Perish the thought.
Some say that it is a blessing to age, like a fine wine, whilst others are looking for anything to help combat the process – a smidge of tox and filler, weekly facials, and snoozes under a LED light anyone?
Maturing is inevitable and thank Christ we’re in it together as no man gets left behind, but is there anything one could do to aid a more graceful process from within?
If you aren’t eating with your skin front of mind. It’s time to bump her up the food chain.
The human skin is constantly exposed to internal and external stimuli that have an impact on its functionality with the progression of age, manifesting as wrinkling, dry skin, a reduced barrier integrity and thinning of the epidermis. Skin ageing encompasses two distinct processes that are fundamentally independent, both in clinical and biological aspects.
The initial process is intrinsic skin ageing, which corresponds to chronological ageing and impacts the skin in a manner consistent with its effects on all internal organs. Intrinsic factors that drive skin aging are time, genetic factors, and hormones. It is also an oxidative process that is related to a progressive, age-related decline in antioxidant capacity and an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The clinical signs corresponding to intrinsic skin aging are fine lines, xerosis (dry skin) and laxity.
The second is extrinsic skin ageing, which is restricted mostly to exposed sites, such as the face, neck, and hands, and is predominantly manifested as coarse wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, and age spots. This is a result of external factors and environmental influence, mainly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation but also smoking, air pollution, stress, sleep deprivation and poor nutrition. Thus, extrinsic aging is thought to be laid over the intrinsic one and depends on the intensity and duration of exposure to environmental factors and on the skin type.
Pollution and cigarette smoke are well-known external factors that accelerate skin aging; however, the most significant extrinsic aging factor is still UV radiation (known as photoaging), which causes DNA damage and oxidative damage, inducing cellular ageing.
The optimal and most effective approach to counteract the effects of extrinsic skin ageing is through prevention. The most successful strategy to safeguard against the damaging impact of free radicals involves maintaining a well-regulated lifestyle such as moving the rig, reducing those stress levels, and adhering to a balanced nutritional diet that includes foods rich in antioxidants.
Which foods will help me to NOT look like the crypt-keeper?
L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C)
Vitamin C is a cofactor for lysyl and prolyl hydroxylase, which stabilise the triple helical structure of collagen. It is effective at replenishing skin elasticity and also plays a role in cholesterol synthesis, iron absorption and increases the bioavailability of selenium. Think fresh fruits and vegetables such as citrus fruits, blackcurrant, rose hip, guava, chili pepper, and parsley.
Tocopherols (vitamin E)
The vitamin E complex comprises eight compounds known as tocopherols. Tocopherol is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is embedded within cell membranes and functions as a scavenger for free radicals.
Similar to vitamin C, tocopherol is a naturally occurring, endogenous non-enzymatic antioxidant. Elevated levels of tocopherol can be found in vegetables, vegetable oils like wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, seeds, corn, soy, and certain types of meat.
The consumption of natural vitamin E products aids in mitigating collagen cross-linking and lipid peroxidation, both of which are associated with skin ageing. In layman’s terms, vitamin E is like a protective wonder woman for your skin.
Carotenoids (vitamin A, β-carotene, astaxanthin, retinol)
Carotenoids are like the cousins of vitamin A, strutting around in forms of β-carotene, astaxanthin, lycopene, and retinol. These gems are like bouncers at a club, protecting your skin from those pesky UV rays and encourage collagen and elastin production.
Out of the gang, β-carotene is the one that can do a quick outfit change and turn into vitamin A in your body, which your eyes and skin thank you for. Eat your carrots, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, mangos, and papayas – they’re packed with β-carotene, which is like a natural sunblock from within.
Lycopene is the red member of the family and can be found in tomatoes, carrots, watermelon, and papaya. It doesn’t turn into vitamin A, but we still need her for your skin.
β-carotene and lycopene are the most common carotenoids you’ll find in your body, especially if you ingest foods or supplements that contain them. They won’t replace your sunscreen, but they can help your skin fight the sun’s damage.
Retinol must derive from the diet. Natural retinol and retinol ester are found in foods such as, liver, milk, egg yolk, cheese, and fatty fish.
Natural and synthetic vitamin A (retinol) are pretty much the same when it comes to helping the rig.
The D! In the world of humans, vitamin D wears a couple of hats. It plays the role of a prohormone, and our bodies can whip it up on their own when they catch some rays from the sun. It’s like our skin has a little vitamin D factory that gets going when exposed to sunlight. We also get a dose of vitamin D2 and D3 from animal-based foods like fatty fish and egg yolk.
Good ol’ vitamin D3 acts like an armour for our skin cells when they’re out in the sun. It shields you from UV-induced cell damage and keeps apoptosis (that’s a fancy word for programmed cell death) at bay – our skin’s sun-kissed hero.
Polyphenols are the most abundant natural biochemicals found in fruits, vegetables seeds and spices, as well as red wine, coffee, and cocoa. Finally, a real reason why we should be enjoying those last three!
Many beneficial effects of polyphenols have been shown, including antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity, anti-tumour and anti-inflammatory properties, anti-thrombotic and anti-microbial activity. There is growing evidence that polyphenols can slow down or prevent the aging-related deterioration of the appearance and function of the skin. Salut.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linolenic, linoleic, and oleic acids. They cannot be produced in the human body, and they must be consumed through our daily dietary intake. They are present in multiple food sources such as fish and shellfish, flaxseed, hemp oil, soya oil, canola oil, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, walnuts, sesame seeds, avocados, salmon, and tuna.
EFAs are essential for the synthesis of tissue lipids, play an important role in the regulation of cholesterol levels and are precursors of prostaglandins. They reduce skin DNA damage, inflammation, and photocarcinogenesis and prevent skin aging by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
Hop to it. Your money-maker depends on it.