Denver - Design District - Alameda and Broadway
368 S Broadway
Denver, CO 80209
Our bodies come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Each one of us is as unique as our individual fingerprints, and our health needs can be just as varied and complex. Yet, when it comes to the general health of our skin, there are many universal ways to keep it healthy, supple, and looking dewy and youthful—no matter our age or race. The key is to combat the major “skinemies”: free radical damage, moisture loss, and collagen loss. This triple threat is what leads to fine lines and wrinkles, saggy skin, dullness, and uneven skin tone. But with the right regimen of supplemental nutrients—antioxidants, carotenoids, phytonutrients, and collagen—we can have ageless skin, naturally.
Free radicals are generated in the skin via normal biological processes and from exposure to pollution and UV light. When there is an overabundance of free radicals, it leads to oxidative stress that damages skin cells’ lipid membranes, collagen structures, and also plays a role in UVphoto aging and skin cancer.1 All of this can lead to accelerated skin aging, deep wrinkles, coarse texture, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, dermatitis, vitiligo, acne, and melanoma.2 3 4 5 But there’s hope! Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant found naturally in the skin that protects skin cells from free radical damage. Vitamin C also plays a critical role for tissue growth, tissue repair, and is critical for collagen synthesis, maintaining healthy levels of this protein that forms the structural support to maintain healthy, plump skin.6 Data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of more than 4,000 women aged 40 to 79 found that higher vitamin C intakes were associated with less wrinkles and dryness of the skin.7 Levels of vitamin C in the skin drastically decline with age and when exposed to UV light and environmental pollution, requiring it to be replenished daily.
Collagen is a protein made up of the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline and provides structural support to the skin and connective tissues. In fact, collagen makes up 75 percent of skin’s support structure.8 Unfortunately, collagen degrades with age and environmental factors like UV light, pollution, and harmful lifestyle habits like smoking create free radicals that speed up collagen breakdown.9 And because vitamin C is required for the body to make collagen, low levels of this antioxidant can also lead to less-than-optimal collagen levels. Incorporating a high-quality collagen supplement into your daily diet can help support healthy, radiant-looking skin throughout the lifespan. According to one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 72 healthy women aged 35 years or older saw significantly improved skin hydration, skin elasticity, skin roughness, and skin density after taking 2.5 grams of collagen peptides for just 12 weeks in comparison to the placebo group.10
Studies show that the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin, and astaxanthin provide targeted skin support and provide protection from UV-induced skin damage.11 Participants in one doubleblind, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin (these carotenoids are found together in supplements), saw a significant improvement in overall skin tone and skin luminance (skin lightening) after just 12 weeks of supplementation compared to the placebo group. 12 A separate clinical study showed that supplementation with 10 mg of lutein daily for 12 weeks increased skin moisture and elasticity and decreased oxidative damage of lipids (fats) in the skin by 55 percent.13 Another double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the protective role that astaxanthin played in UV-induced damage and moisture retention. After just 10 weeks, those taking 4 mg of astaxanthin saw a reduced loss of skin moisture and reported improvement of rough skin and texture compared to the placebo group, with the researchers summarizing, “astaxanthin seems protective against UV-induced skin deterioration and helps maintain healthy skin in healthy people.”14
One of the reasons youthful skin retains its resilience and elasticity is due to its high content of water, but aging leads to a loss of this hydration. Enter hyaluronic acid (HA), a key molecule involved in retaining skin moisture. HA occurs throughout the body to provide lubrication and tissue hydration, but is most concentrated in the skin. 15 16 Levels naturally decline as we age, hence its prominence in many anti-aging moisturizing creams, lotions, and serums. It hydrates, eliminates wrinkles, and plumps the skin.17 It’s also available in capsule form for targeted and comprehensive skin-supporting benefits from the inside out. Silica for Sun-Damaged Skin In addition to a decline in hyaluronic acid levels, another sign of aging skin is a drop off of silicon in our connective tissues, resulting in moisture loss and reduced elasticity in the skin. Silica is also shown to stimulate collagen production and connective tissue function and repair, especially in UV-damaged skin.18 In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of women aged 40 to 65 years old with clinical signs of skin photoaging (sun damage), those taking 10 mg/day of oral silica showed improvement in skin roughness and elasticity compared to the placebo group. 19
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., and according to the American Cancer Society, it’s estimated that around 7,000 people will die this year from melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer. 20 Wearing sunscreen is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect the skin from UV rays and UV damage—especially with prolonged sun exposure. But the type of sunscreen we choose to put on our skin matters, and the truth about chemical sunscreens is coming to light. A randomized clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that four of the commercially available chemical sunscreens—avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, and ecamsule—are absorbed in the bloodstream at greater levels than 0.5 nanograms per milliliter, exceeding the threshold established by the FDA for potentially waiving some non-clinical toxicology studies for sunscreens.21 22
Furthermore, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) recommends avoiding chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone because of concerns that this ingredient may disrupt hormones and cause allergic skin reactions.23 And then there are the harmful effects that chemical sunscreens have on the environment, in particular, oxybenzone, which leads to bleaching of corals and damages coral reefs. (See “Earth Watch” on page TK for more on that!)
The safer (and smarter) choice is mineral-based sunscreen that contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide. These are small particles that sit on the skin’s surface and physically prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin. They are nontoxic, less harmful to the environment, and are effective at blocking the sun’s potent UV rays. If their white cast is something that deters you from using them over conventional chemical-based sunscreens, many now come in tinted or clear forms to fit your lifestyle and preference.