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Research has repeatedly shown that the health of your skin and the way in which you age is not only determined by genetics, but is also strongly influenced by diet, nutritional status and lifestyle (1,17).

Your skin, being the largest organ in your body, is exposed to a multitude of challenges from both inside and outside the body.  While being protective and rather resilient, it tends to show the effects of these challenges quite rapidly. This brochure will explore these challenges and provide you with tips on how to maintain optimum skin health.

Skin is made up of a number of different structures, but its actual appearance is dependent on three important proteins:  keratin, collagen and elastin. The health of these is vital to maintaining skin integrity and youthfulness.  The ageing process is the main, but not the only factor contributing to changes in the quality of your skin.

The reality is that diet, lifestyle, exposure to external damaging factors and chronic illness all play a part in weakening, damaging and ageing your skin.

Whether skin damage is caused prematurely by external factors such as sun exposure and smoking, or develops internally through natural 'wear and tear', research has shown that the end result is the same: weathered-looking skin characterised by dryness, thinning, wrinkling, reduced elasticity and discolouration or 'age spots' (2)

While you cannot modify time nor retard the ageing process, there are many things that you can do to maintain optimal skin health and vitality.  This series will explore some of the factors influencing skin health and provide you with tips on how to maximise your skin's potential.

Healthy Diet Means Healthy Skin

Diet plays a central role in the health of the skin. Research has consistently shown that diet is a key factor in skin disorders such as acne, eczema, psoriasis and skin cancers, but it's as important in maintaining healthy skin. Research also shows that eating a diet that results in persistently high blood sugar levels can damage the collagen and elastin, leading to loss of elasticity, increased stiffness and wrinkling (3,4).

This occurs when the excess glucose links with collagen fibres producing what is known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs are also formed during the deep-frying process when sugars combine with fats. Consuming these AGEs formed during the deep-frying process may also damage the skin (5).

Reducing your intake of high-calorie foods, while maintaining a good healthy nutritional diet, has also been shown to maintain healthy skin and retard signs of ageing. A healthy low-calorie diet may increase the amount and activity of cells that make up collagen. This is a significant finding considering that collagen renewal and turnover is extremely slow (6,7).

References

Katta, R.; Desai, S.P. Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease. The Clin Aes Derm. Jul 2014;7(7):46-51.

Calleja-Agius, J. et al. Skin connective tissue and ageing. Best practice & research. Clin Obstet Gyn. Oct 2013;27(5):727-740.

Pageo, H. et al. Skin aging by glycation: lessons from the reconstructed skin model. Clinical chemistry and laboratory medicine : CCLM / FESCC. Jan 1 2014;52(1):169-174.

Gkogkolou, P. et al. Advanced glycation end products: Key players in skin aging? Dermato-endocrinol. Jul 1 2012;4(3):259-270.

Nguyen, H.P.; Katta, R. Sugar Sag: Glycation and the role of diet in aging skin. Skin Therapy Lett. 2015 Nov;20(6):1-5.

Michan, S. Calorie restriction and NAD(+)/sirtuin counteract the hallmarks of aging. Front Bioscience (Landmark edition). 2014;19:1300-1319.