In this segment I will focus on aging skin (and it starts early girls!), so listen up.
This is the third in a series of articles on skin care. The first article focused on the importance of the basics of cleansing, exfoliation, moisturizing and protection; the second article was built on the first then continuing with an in-depth look at nutrition and how to achieve it for your skin.
If you read the previous articles, you may have known that the answer to todays topic is a loss of collagen. I want to make it clear that I am not a doctor, but I do a lot of research into what is best for me. I care about my skin and live on a budget. The Internet is great, but face it girls, it is about selling products. Understanding the mechanics of aging skin versus younger skin can save you money.
God created the perfect bio machine -- well, it works great if we could stay young! Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. The name comes from the Greek word for glue “kola”. It makes up our connective tissue, providing the structure for our skin, tendons and joint cartilage, organs, bones and other parts -- containing over 20 different types of collagen.
Without it we would be a blob of liquid, scary thought!
Collagen makes up 75 percent of our skin and 30 percent of our bodies overall. Collagen in the human body is type I, II, or III. Type I and III are the main types in the skin, ligaments, tendons, and bones, and type II is a major component of joint cartilage.
Time breaks down skin structure once we reach our mid twenties to early 30’s, collagen levels start to decline!
As we live longer, collagen is broken down by an enzyme called collagenase. “What it is doing is dissolving your skin” says John Voorhees, MD lead researcher of a Michigan study.
What you have is a vicious cycle. You have to interrupt it, or aging skin is just going to continue downhill.
That is why age brings wrinkles, creases, and saggy skin areas around the mouth and neck. Collagen is produced in the underlying layer of skin, the Dermis.
Collagen fibers are made from protein that has high tensile proportion of two amino acids, called hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are important for the formation of all types of collagen and provide the tensile strength and flexibility properties. For the body to form these amino acids and produce collagen, dietary sources of lysine and proline are required. In addition vitamin C is needed by the body to convert proline into hydroxyproline, and lysine into hydroxylysine. We all know that vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals which are known to damage collagen and contribute to aging and tissue destruction. Hyaluronic acid promotes collagen function, as it is needed to bind the collagen and elastin fibers together to form collagen bundles. Hyaluronic acids is also required to repair and replace damaged and dead collagen fibers.
If I have lost you, you’re not alone. It is also the reason that it is a multi Billion dollar industry of beauty products! Let’s try to keep it simple and relate this to you and me.
Some years ago I was made aware that skin care builds the palette that we build on to be beautiful. It was then I became interested in how to improve my neglected skin. After years of trial and error I am still trying.
The reason I am still trying is because there is no easy answer. I have tried them all and they have worked to some degree but fall short. It is not because these products are flawed or misleading it is related to our age.
My coworker is in his late fifties and has great skin. I asked what you are doing? He is taking some awesome supplements as a whole that just happen to promote collagen production.
As we age we don’t assimilate nutrients the same as when we are younger and genetics is also a factor. When you compound the fact that we produce roughly one fourth the production of collagen at 55 than 20 it is significant.
After months of research I am starting to get a better understanding of a total regiment that will give me the results I have been looking for.
Nutrition - is paramount for your Heath and skin. A diet rich in protein, such as chicken, meat, fish eggs and wheat germ are good sources of proline and Lysine. Significant sources of Lysine are lean meats such as chicken, some fish and low fat dairy products, peanuts and legumes.
In addition a diet rich in vegetables, colorful salads with leafy greens, multicolor peppers, oranges, lemons, strawberries all provide vitamin C as well as many types of antioxidants.
These natural foods (and many others) provide the raw material your body needs to function and build collagen and the antioxidants necessary to reduce further damage from collagenase enzymes.
When you are young, healthy diet, sun protection and good skin care will result in fabulous skin. Smoking, alcohol use, stress and other factors can significantly affect the skin and should be avoided or minimized.
As we age we have to do more as time moves on. Most women would start at the cosmetic counter with their skin care specialist. There is nothing wrong with that only that what you find are epidermis (surface layers, of which there are many) serum’s that cannot reach the lower supportive layer. Depending on age that may be all that is needed for many people.
I have found some wonderful products from Trish McEvoy that uses Hyaluronic acid + dual action peptides+ antioxidants and a vitamin C cream. The combination is very effective and I have been using it since the deep peel. The Trish product comes in a nice beauty care travel pouch with moisturizers, cleansers, eye care pretty much everything you need.
Restoring collagen in the skin - Supplements of collagen comes from the connective tissue of animals. In its natural state collagen is made of large molecules which are hard for the digestive system to break down. You will see the term "hydrolyzed" on some supplements which means the collagen has been broken down into smaller molecules for more complete absorption. What is interesting is supplements like Purity Product “Ultimate HA" directs you to start with a high dose and after a few weeks reducing to smaller amounts. This is done to promote regeneration and can produce noticeable results quickly.
Confused enough with to much information? There are a few more things that are very popular and that is chemical peels or laser resurfacing even LED light treatments. Having done a medium chemical peel, I can tell you it is no fun and after a week of recovery my skin showed remarkable improvement. There are a lot of factors that determine each individual’s recovery time and extent of the treatment. Always see a certified skin care specialist and have them go over the options. Basically the deeper the peel the longer your new skin will last. In my case after about 5 months I was back to where I was. The option is relatively inexpensive but it requires recurring treatments and some down time.
I also visited a local Doctor that performed laser treatments. This is really very similar to chemical peels but it is said to penetrate deeper and for some unique conditions shows good results. Laser treatments are expensive but the results last longer again depending on the level of intensity and duration. Laser resurfacing can treat a lot of conditions particularly perioral lip wrinkles which are the first to develop. Often called smokers lips are the least tolerated and most notable. Temporary treatment using restylane is also available and immediately achieves excellent results allowing resumption of normal activities after the procedure. In my case it lasted 6 months then I was back to normal.
LED light therapy treatment is starting to get a lot of attention. LED light in different wavelengths (colors) is used to treat many skin related issues, such as acne, wound healing and collagen stimulation. The FDA has approved of LED light therapy in cosmetic applications because it carries no risk of overexposure or eye injury.
Each color light penetrates the skin differently. Blue light is an antibacterial agent. Red light is an anti-inflammatory. Near infrared light stimulates cell activity and increases production of collagen and elastin. Yellow light helps the lymph system to detoxify your body. Green light increases melanin production and reduces redness.
I really have limited knowledge as to how effective these treatments are but I do know it is being used on combat injuries for wound healing and is quite effective.
Personally I chose not to go with laser treatment and opted for a supplement approach instead.
I wish I had before and after photos to show the difference. In addition to a good diet and exercise, daily skin care of washing and moisturizing I started to use a liquid HA solution and vitamin C cream. After about two months not only could I see the difference but I could feel a silky smooth skin I only felt once before and that was after the chemical peel. I still have deep lines but to a lesser degree. I can se HA and vitamin C works on the surface layer it only makes sense that supplements will work on the Dermis layer.
I would like to mention a very new product that caught my eye from Derma Genetics. Do you remember earlier I said that your skin is influenced by many factors such as age and genetics? This product is amazing; a swab is taken of your DNA (inside the mouth) and analyzed to determine the balance of your skin. Based on the results various formulations are prepared which balance the deficiencies. I looked at the ingredients and they are chock full of wonderful nutrients, vitamins anti-oxidants and collagen building elements that are needed to restore collagen. It is relatively expensive but all the good solutions will cost you. When I can afford it I would love to try this product.
I hope I have explained a little bit about why it is not easy to say one thing fits all. It certainly explained why some thing just work so much and seem to fall short. It is not the fault of the manufacturers but the state of our skin.