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Does nutrition make a difference in skin rejuvenation

It would be naive to believe that changing your nutrition is going to wipe out all your wrinkles or completely stop skin aging. But it is just as naive to think that you can eat (or neglect to eat) whatever you want without any effect on your skin. What you eat affects every organ in your body and skin is no exception. You may think that as long as you are using an expensive skin cream with a bunch of ingredients with scientific-sounding names, your skin will be properly nourished. Nothing can be further from the truth. While a skin cream may provide a number of important substances, it is never enough to ensure a proper, all-round skin nutrition.

Advantages of nourishing the skin from within

  • Every cell in the human body needs dozens and dozens of nutrients and metabolites. Some, like vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids need to come from food. Others are produced by the body provided it is healthy and properly nourished. No skin cream can replace that.

  • Applying a cream with nutrients to the surface of you skin does not ensure that those nutrients actually penetrate into your skin cells. They may just "sit there" until your next shower. How much of the active ingredients actually get into your skin cells depends on the skin's condition, concentration of the ingredients, manufacturing technology and many other factors. This doesn't mean that all topical preparations are useless -- but they are often unreliable. On the other hand, when the nutrients are ingested and absorbed into your bloodstream, they are sure to be delivered to your skin cells.

  • Nutrition has some effect on the mechanisms of aging of the body as a whole. Inhibiting these mechanisms slows down the overall aging process, including the aging of the skin.

  • Nutritients and foods that benefit your skin also tend to benefit other body systems and overall health.

Limitations of nourishing the skin from within

  • Skin aging is a combination of the mechanisms of aging innate to human physiology plus the environmental damage from sun, wind and pollution. Proper nutrition may help partly inhibit physiological aging but does little to protect the skin from the outside world. The latter must be achieved by limiting sun exposure, use of proper (UVA+UVB) sun blocks and other measures discussed throughout this site.

  • It is impossible to safely achieve much-higher-than-normal concentration of active ingredients in skin cells through oral intake. Some skin treatments, particularly those striving to produce relatively quick and dramatic results, rely on creating unusually high concentration of active ingredients in the skin. In most cases, this can be achieved only through properly done topical application or some special medical techniques (e.g. electrophoresis) - doing so through oral treatment is usually either impossible or unsafe. For instance, vitamin C topical treatments appear to be effective only at concentrations of 10% or more. Such concentration cannot be achieved by just bulking up on vitamin C supplements because vitamin C is quickly excreted via kidneys. Besides, excessively high doses of vitamin C may cause serious adverse reactions.

  • Some potentially beneficial substances are reasonably safe for topical use but unsafe for ingestion.

  • Some substances, such as peptides and growth factors, are easily broken down by digestive enzymes. They become inactive after going through the GI tract and therefore can be used only topically

  • Some of the orally taken nutrients may not be properly absorbed via GI tract. This happens when a person has certain digestive problems, such as hypo acidity, or when nutrients come from poorly manufactured supplements. Care should be taken to ensure proper absorption.

Bottom line

A balanced nutrition of the body is important for maintaining healthy skin. It may not produce striking rejuvenation, but neglecting it will make your skin age considerably faster. Deficiencies of certain nutrients, such as vitamin A, B-complex, and essential fatty acids are known to cause various forms of dermatitis and other skin conditions. Mild deficiencies, which are very common and often go unnoticed, may not cause clinical manifestations but clearly impair the skin's ability to heal and renew itself. Improving nutrition in a person with sub clinical nutrient deficiencies often results in a younger looking skin and partial reversal of some signs of aging. On the other hand, "cutting-edge" skin rejuvenation treatments are likely to be far less effective or even completely fail if your skin is deficient in one or more essential nutrients. (According to some estimates, up to a half of the population in the developed countries have sub clinical deficiency of one or more nutrients.) Finally, some nutrients taken in doses higher than the minimal requirement (but still in the safe range) may produce skin benefits above and beyond what the basic balanced nutrition does.

 

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