Youthful Skin by Kyani Fleuresse
Dr. Jennifer T. Haley, MD FAAD
How do you retain that youthful skin glow?
As we age, our skin becomes thinner, loses support from collagen, elastin, and fat, and no longer looks as plump and smooth. The blood vessels underlying the skin become more visible and burst more easily, leading to blotches and bruises. Chronic sun exposure promotes wrinkles, age spots, and dryness.
Fortunately, like the rest of your body, your skin responds to good nourishment.
#1: Fight dryness and sun damage with fish fats
As we age the outermost layer of skin—the epidermis—has a harder time retaining moisture, which leads to dry, flaky, and wrinkled skin. Omega-3 fatty acids help the epidermis hold moisture for smoother, softer skin. Omega-3s also exert anti-inflammatory effects that reduce the damage done to skin cells by UV radiation. These same anti-inflammatory effects can also reduce the appearance of acne. Wild salmon may be especially beneficial, thanks to the carotenoid antioxidant called astaxanthin that gives salmon their red-orange hue. When consumed, astaxanthin also adds a vibrant hue to your skin.
#2: Discourage skin damage with colorful veggies
Free radicals generated by exposure to sunlight, air pollutants, and chemicals constantly bombard the skin during daily life. These unstable oxygen molecules damage skin cells and stimulate inflammation, which generates even more free radicals and promotes premature aging of the skin. Our body naturally produces antioxidants to help neutralize these free radicals, but that production decreases with age, which is why it is essential to supplement through our dietary intake. Colorful fruits and vegetables will boost the body’s antioxidant production capabilities.
#3: Nuts, seeds, and avocado
Nuts provide us with Vitamin E, which is essential for healthy skin and can reduce sun damage and wrinkling. More specifically, the Tocotrienol form of Vitamin E is a potent protector against damage caused by UV and Ozone rays. Vitamin E also supports cellular regeneration, which is crucial in allowing the skin to constantly heal and repair itself. Like nuts, avocados are very rich in Vitamin E and antioxidants, which keep the skin moist and prevent premature aging. Also, the high levels of carotenoid antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—in avocados protects against UV damage and help skin heal more quickly.
#4: Sugars and processed foods aggravate acne and wrinkles
The glycemic index is a measure of how much a food raises your blood sugar levels. Higher glycemic foods have been shown in multiple studies to trigger acne and accelerate skin aging. In a process called glycation, sugar molecules bind to proteins in the skin–collagen and elastin, causing permanent damage. When the collagen and elastin get damaged, the skin loses firmness and elasticity. This glycation process also causes significant inflammation resulting in blotchy, acne-prone skin and increased acne scarring. Avoiding sugar and highly processed foods is one of the best things you can do to improve the appearance of your skin.
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