The skin, you can hardly look away from it or walk past a mirror without taking a glance at it. The largest organ of our body, which lets us shine day in and day out, is also our body’s first line of defense against outside invaders. Your skin deserves extra attention and the best possible support.
However, it regularly has to put up with a lot. After all, the skin has to protect us from various external influences, such as UV rays from the sun and impurities in the air, as well as internal influences, such as insufficient hydration. Unfortunately, both external and internal factors have a negative impact on the natural aging process, making the skin duller and more fragile.
Fortunately, the right approach can ensure that you combat the aging process and once again shine inside and out.
Skin aging and its biggest culprits
Skin aging is an inevitable but natural process where collagen and elastin are broken down in the dermis. These elastic fibers are responsible for firmness and elasticity so loss of these will result in sagging/ drooping skin and wrinkles.
The epidermis is also becoming thinner, making it more fragile and sensitive to damage. This is detrimental to the skin’s barrier function and consequently to the immune system. In general, the aging process starts gradually between the 25th and 30th year of life. However, there are influences that can aggravate or accelerate this process. The three main culprits are UV rays, smoking and pollutants. All three induce degradation of the elastic fibers (elastin and collagen) and increase oxidative stress resulting in cell damage.
Sunlight consists of a spectrum of rays including ultraviolet (UV) light. There are 3 types of UV light: ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC). UVC rays are absorbed by the ozone layer. UVA rays are mainly linked to accelerated skin aging. These rays affect the elastic fibers, elastin and collagen. UVB rays cause sunburn and can also cause DNA damage. However, not only the sun produces these rays, also via e.g. sunbeds one can be exposed to them.
Smoking multiplies the damage to (skin) cells by increasing oxidative stress and free radicals in the body. Skin damage from prolonged smoking can result in a “smokers face” where, due to damage to collagen fibers and elastin, the face appears drab and lines appear around the eyes and mouth.
Air pollution/fine dust
Air pollution has a major impact not only on the environment but also on the health of humans and their skin. As the largest organ of the human body and border with the outside world, the skin is one of the main targets of air pollutants. Exposure to airborne dust particles, from traffic and industry, is strongly linked to extrinsic skin aging, which is specifically characterized in pigmented patches and wrinkles.
Skin as a reflection of health?
The skin speaks out… Unintentionally, the skin tells a lot about your general condition and health. After all, the first signs of, for example, fatigue, stress, etc., are often first noticed in the skin. This is logical since our body is a self-regulating system. If there is a shortage of nutrients, hydration or energy, the priority will always be on the vital organs. This is obviously positive, but unfortunately it manifests itself in the most visible part of the body: the skin. Proper care of our entire health and body therefore translates into healthy skin.
Anti-aging is more than just the skin
Anti-aging includes a whole-body approach. In fact, your entire lifestyle and external factors have an impact on the skin. The skin will flourish with a good sleep rhythm, healthy diet, adequate hydration and a minimum of stress. Not only the skin will shine more but also inside you will feel better. Also, trying to avoid UV rays and polluted air as much as possible is recommended. Unfortunately, the latter can never be completely avoided. So we need to arm the skin against it as much as possible.
Anti-aging is more than just the skin
In the meantime, day, night and sun creams have become part of the standard daily skin care regimen. But just as important are the nutrients you use to nourish your skin from the inside out.
Sufficient hydration is extremely important. A skin cell needs moisture to maintain its functions and structure. Poorly hydrated skin is quickly noticed by a dull, pale and dry appearance.
Is an essential mineral for the skin. It is also good for the hair, nails and skin. Zinc is a powerful protector of (skin) cells against oxidative stress. Besides a good support for the skin, it is also essential for the functioning of the immune system. Your body cannot produce this trace element itself so it has to be taken up through nutrition. Zinc is mainly found in seafood, beans, peas, wild rice and nuts.
Vitamin C is a very interesting vitamin for the skin! In fact, it contributes to the formation of collagen. It is a structural protein that is found in the connective tissue of the skin and provides elasticity. In addition, vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that fights free radicals and protects cells from oxidative damage. Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli and tomatoes. It is important to remember that vitamin C is water soluble and sensitive to high temperatures. Therefore, it is recommended to cook vegetables in little water and not too long.
Free radicals are unstable, highly active molecules that damage body cells and tissues, including in the skin. Antioxidants can neutralize these radicals in the body, protecting tissues and cells from the oxidative stress and damage of free radicals.
Broccoli: a superfood for the skin
Broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables, so it is packed with good nutrients. It is rich in vitamins A, C and E and contains a lot of antioxidants. In addition, it contains a super interesting substance, sulforaphane.