The photo above is an untouched scarcely made up photo of myself. The reason I have used this very ordinary photo is because it shows how real women age. We age with smile lines, a few sun spots and frown lines on our forehead that remind our children that we are not impressed. I don’t feel ashamed of my skin only grateful. I have avoided costly and potentially toxic intervention to have the skin that receives complements. I do not claim to be the fountain of youth however I do believe that I have a little inside knowledge on how to best preserve the skin you have.
A diet that feeds the skin
We can spend a king’s ransom on cosmetics and procedures to try and rejuvenate our skin. However, if we do not feed our skin with our diet all the applications in the world are not going to work their magic. Our skin requires several key nutrients to keep it youthful and glowing so stack your fridge and pantry with some of these nutritional wonders and start noticing the difference. I have made reference to “collagen synthesis”, this is the bodies process of producing hair, skin and nails.
Essential fatty acids: a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids is essential for healthy skin. Often women will come to me complaining that their skin and often hair have become dry, dull and prematurely aged. If I ask whether they have been on a very low calorie or low fat diet they usually admit that they have probably been denying their bodies of many essential fats needed for healthy collagen. Enjoy a plentiful supply of oily fish, quality plant oils, nuts and seeds.
Beta Carotene: Consume a wide range of carotenoids, they contain beta carotene which converts to vitamin A. Enjoy daily serves of yellow and orange coloured fruit and vegetables. Also dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and Tuscan cabbage. Also deep coloured fruits and vegetables such as beetroot, blueberries, rosehip tea and mulberries. As a bonus these foods are also high in vitamin C another nutrient that is essential for healthy collagen synthesis.
Protein: On a chemistry level we describe collagen as being made of a matrix of proteins. Adequate protein is required for collagen to repair itself and remain healthy. Consider using a wholefood protein powder or a collagen powder for breakfast to increase your protein intake. Plant based protein powders are an ideal inclusion for those following a vegan diet.
Hydration: Adequate hydration assists skin health by preventing dehydration, this is no doubt the simplest thing we can do for our skin. If you read any face cream ingredient, water always is the primary ingredient. Consider if you are working in air conditioning your need for extra water, as air conditioning has a drying effect on the skin. Enjoy a few cups of green tea every day. The cholergenic acids in green tea act as an anti-oxidant that prevents premature aging of the skin.
Include foods that are high in antioxidants: such as turmeric, dark grapes, berries, cherries, and pomegranate. The polyphenols in and turmeric act as powerful antioxidants that protect the skin and body against premature aging. Pomegranate contains ellagitannins which may reverse photo damaged skin. You may have purchased skin care products that contain pomegranate extracts that promise to reverse the aging process. Resveratrols in dark grapes, cherries and red wine are part of the fruits defence against fungus. Grapes throw out resveratrol when they are threatened by botrytis, this is how resveratrol’s are connected with anti-aging.
Avoiding inflammatory foods: such as trans-fats, refined sugar and processed foods will support your skin health. Foods such as fried foods, packaged biscuits and cakes, soft drinks, lollies and frozen dinners are going to cause poor liver function and deteriorate your digestive system.
Liver function: When our liver is working hard it shows its stress through our skin. Symptoms can range from acne, skin tags and pigmentation. Optimal liver function assists our liver in clearing endogenous (useless) hormones that play havoc with our skin.
Gut health: if our gut is out of balance our skin feels and looks about as glowing as a bloated belly. Consuming adequate fibre, prebiotics and probiotics give our digestive system a chance to recover from the damage that has been inflicted by modern living.
Smoking and your skin: Smoking has to be one of the worse insults you can throw at your skin. The oxidative stress associated with smoking is clearly shown on a smoker. The lines around the mouth, deep wrinkles and hardened skin are typical in smokers. Smoking leaches many of the essential nutrients required for collagen synthesis such as essential fatty acids, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Supplementation to support skin health
Working internally to support your skin is far more effective than using topical applications alone. There is a plethora of supplements you can take to protect your skin against the aging process. Ill outline the ones that have a proven therapeutic benefit.
Vitamin C: supports the skin as it is required for healthy collagen synthesis, it assists in binding the amino acids that form collagen. Vitamin C is also known to reduce skin pigmentation and reverse photo damaged skin.
EPA/DHA: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support the skin by creating a protective barrier. Omega fatty acids reduce inflammation of the skin and are one of the key nutrients required for healthy skin. Fish oil supplements with added vitamin E are recommended for best absorbability.
Antioxidants: green tea extract, pomegranate, resveratrol and curcumin supplements all support the skin by offering their antioxidant protection to the skin. Using supplements that contain active forms of resveratrol, green tea, curcumin or resveratrol do have more of a therapeutic application. Consult your practitioner for more advice.
The Botox Smoothie
This substantial smoothie can be enjoyed as a breakfast substitute. If smoothies for breakfast are not your thing you can have half mid-morning and half late afternoon as a snack replacement.
2 handfuls of spinach
2 stick of celery
1 orange, peeled
Piece of fresh turmeric
1 cup of cooled green tea, matcha green tea or rosehip tea
2 tablespoons of collagen hydrosylate (See note)
1 teaspoon of Pomegranate powder, optional (See note)
1 tablespoon of organic flaxseed oil or coconut oil
Sprig of mint leaves
Place all ingredients in a blender or juicer and blend until smooth.
I use Great Lakes Collagen Hydrosylate, which is a bovine form of gelatin. It is tasteless and is a great source of amino acids. Cell Logic pomegranate powder contains broccoli sprouts which contain the compound 3-Indole Carbinol which is therapeutically beneficial for oestrogen clearance via the liver.