Tag Archive for: skin care

You’re a bright, shining star. It shows in every aspect of your life. Now illuminate your inner beauty even more with brightening skincare. Glowing skin you can see—achieved by using proven brightening ingredients—is a trend that stands the test of time. After all, healthy-looking skin never goes out of style.

The goal of brightening skincare is to put the emphasis on a healthy-looking, radiant complexion—rather than seeking ways to cover up blemishes. Focus your skincare efforts on ways to highlight your natural beauty. You can do that by incorporating brightening and refining ingredients into your skincare routine.

So look deeper into ways to upgrade your skincare game to match your inner glow. Below you’ll find a breakdown of some of the best ingredients and approaches to give your skin a glow-up. Now you can start your search for skincare products to brighten and illuminate your complexion armed with the information you need.

Niacinamide is Your Brightening Skincare Superstar

Say hello to the real powerhouse of visible skin brightening. Niacinamide is a tough act to follow—because it is so effective in visibly transforming dull, patchy, uneven skin, into a gorgeous-, glowing-, radiant-looking complexion.

Niacinamide is a B vitamin (a form of vitamin B3 to be exact) and is one of the most effective skincare ingredients at visibly reducing the apparent contrast of dark spots or hyperpigmentation. Niacinamide can shrink the appearance of pores and reduce visible oil production. Not to mention improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, all while visibly evening out skin tone.

Beauty gurus and skincare aficionados alike love this active ingredient. That’s why so many skincare products—like the Celavive Dark Spot Corrector—rely on niacinamide to deliver visually dramatic results.

Another reason to love niacinamide is its compatibility with other antioxidants, specifically vitamin C. When niacinamide and vitamin C are combined, their antioxidant activity is amplified. Antioxidants help protect the skin for a beautiful complexion. With antioxidants like niacinamide and vitamin C working together, dark spots visibly fade to reveal fresh, younger-looking skin.

Shine with Vitamin C Derivatives

Bright-looking skin needs vitamin C—just like the vitamin is essential for the rest of your body. Vitamin C and its derivatives (ascorbic acid, ascorbyl glucoside, ascorbyl palmitate) are powerful antioxidants that provide help to keep your skin looking beautifully radiant. It is also important for a visibly bright, even-looking skin tone. Redness from dry skin can make your complexion appear splotchy. But vitamin C is a soothing agent that can help your skin look calm.

Collagen (the protein that gives skin its bounce) relies on vitamin C, too. Skincare products with vitamin C target the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and the visibly uneven texture of aging skin. Vitamin C helps skin look uniform, soft, and supple. And through collagen’s impact on skin hydration, vitamin C aids in the appearance of a plump and smooth complexion.

Adding skincare products with vitamin C to your skincare routine is a must. Serums like the Celavive Light Complexion Serum use vitamin C along with niacinamide and other brightening ingredients to transform the appearance of dull skin into a radiant, glowing complexion.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate for Glowing Skin

The best way to keep your glowing skin going is plenty of hydration. Hydrated skin stays visibly plump and smooth. And smooth skin gleams because light reflects well off of hydrated skin. This gives you that bouncy, beautiful glow you’re looking for.

The best hydrating ingredients lock water inside the skin. That’s because your skin is like a sponge. It absorbs and retains moisture and skincare treatments. So look for skincare products that seal moisture in and keep your skin looking hydrated and happy.

Ingredients like shea butter and jojoba-seed oil are just the ticket to brighter, more youthful-looking skin. These are potent moisturizers that help maintain hydration, without clogging up pores or causing blemishes.

Sheet masks are a real treat for your skin. These masks—including the Celavive Vivid White Sheet Mask, which is loaded with shea butter and jojoba-seed oil—are great for intense hydrating. These luxurious skin treatments are even better if they’re blended with brightening agents. Look for:

  • niacinamide
  • licorice extract
  • red algae
  • sugars that bind to water and flood your skin with moisture.

Try a brightening sheet mask a few nights a week to lock in that glow and moisture.

For daily brightening and hydration, find a cream that does double duty. An ingredient list that includes niacinamide, red algae, and added vitamin C can help you achieve a gorgeous glow—plus, the necessary moisture your skin depends on. Find a cream—like USANA’s Celavive Luminous Moisture Cream—that can be used twice daily to achieve a gorgeous glow. This will help you illuminate your inner beauty on a daily basis.

Get Your Glow On

Do your research to find what kind of skincare treatments will work best for you—and for your skin type. Look for hydrating and brightening benefits, as well as ingredients that support visibly healthy skin for a beautiful look.

You can check brighter-looking skin off your beauty bucket list. Add brightening skincare to your daily routine—with effective active ingredients like niacinamide and vitamin C—to put a visibly luminous, radiant complexion within reach.

Look in the mirror and you see dead skin. Don’t be shocked. Your body needs it to be that way. All the skin cells that interact with the world are dead by design. This layer protects you. But if it doesn’t move over for more freshly deceased cells to pop to the top, it could be time to exfoliate.

What is Exfoliation?

The simple definition for exfoliation is clearing away excess dead cells on the surface of your skin.

“Out with the old and in with the new” is the principle behind exfoliating. Remove the older cells to make room for newer, fresher skin.

Why You Should Exfoliate

You might want to understand more about exfoliating before you start scrubbing, peeling, or otherwise expelling the top layer of your skin. The practice of exfoliation comes from the knowledge of how your skin cells grow and replenish.

Cells are born deep in your skin, and they’re pushed to the surface by the growth of new cells. By the time they reach the surface, your skin cells have died. But they shingle together to help create a protective barrier before eventually being shed completely.

Exfoliation speeds up the shedding. And it helps you avoid buildup of stubborn dead skin cells that can impact your skin’s appearance. If you’re seeing dry patches or dealing with flaky areas, exfoliating could be for you.

Additional benefits of exfoliation include:

  • helping skin appear brighter
  • aiding in the absorption of your skincare products so they work better
  • assisting in keeping breakouts at bay by clearing pores of dead-skin buildup
  • supporting production of a key skin protein—collagen

Discover the Different Varieties of Exfoliation

Picking a way to expunge the outermost layer of your skin may sound like choosing your preferred version of torture. But exfoliation shouldn’t be painful. Whether you choose a mechanical or chemical means—the two main types of exfoliating—you’ll have plenty of pain-free options.

Mechanical exfoliation (sometimes also called physical exfoliation) isn’t the most comforting term. But it just means using the force of friction to remove dead skin. That encompasses a lot of options:

  • light buffing with a washcloth
  • grainy sugar polish or other gentle scrub
  • homemade coffee scrub
  • wet pumice stone (never use a dry one on your skin)
  • exfoliating glove
  • brushes
  • microdermabrasion

Even though you may have guessed how chemical exfoliation works, it’s not quite as harsh as it sounds. Yes, chemicals are involved. Typically, they are enzymes, retinoids, and gentle, natural acids. These compounds loosen the bonds holding skin cells together so they’re more easily removed.

Those choosing to chemically exfoliate often opt for alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Popular alpha hydroxy acids are water soluble and similar to the acid found in citrus fruit, apples, grapes, and yogurt. Beta hydroxy acids are often used as treatments for skin issues. But these oil-soluble acids (like salicylic acid) are also exfoliant options.

Enzymes provide a more ancient approach that started with putting fruit on the skin. Even today, the enzymes used in chemical exfoliation also come from fruits and vegetables. These enzymes work on skin proteins, breaking them down to eliminate dead-skin buildup.

Retinoids (commonly found in plant pigments) are more modern, and they’re commonly used as medication. These compounds come from the antioxidant vitamin A.

You have your choice of over-the-counter options for chemical exfoliation. Choose wisely, with your skin type and goals in mind. You should consult your dermatologist or healthcare provider before starting a new exfoliation practice. 

How to Exfoliate for Your Skin Type

Just like your cleanser, moisturizer, and other skincare products, the exfoliation tactic you choose depends on skin type. If you don’t know it, take this skin type quiz to find out where you fall on the spectrum.

Removing your outside layer of skin is an inherently irritating process. So, your skin type should guide the form and frequency of your exfoliation experience. Sensitive, dry, oily, and combination skin all tolerate exfoliating differently.

Here’s what you need to know before you choose an exfoliating method:

  • Sensitive Skin Type: Exfoliate gently and less frequently to minimize the redness and stinging that comes easily for this type. A very mild scrub or a simple washcloth may be all the mechanical exfoliating your skin can tolerate. And mild hydroxy acids and enzymes are your best bet for chemical exfoliating.
  • Dry Skin Type: Like those with sensitive skin, care should be taken to minimize over-exfoliating. Gentle is also the standard for mechanical or chemical exfoliant methods. But the flakes and rough buildup of dry skin does require regular exfoliating to keep those issues at bay and maximize your skincare products’ effectiveness.
  • Oily Skin Type: Exfoliate away. This type tolerates more robust approaches to chemical and mechanical exfoliation. Tools like brushes and pumice stones, along with rougher scrubs, are great for oily skin. Stronger chemical peels are also options for this skin type. And exfoliating more frequently isn’t off the table like those with dry or sensitive skin.
  • Combination Skin Type: You have two skin types to deal with, so exfoliate them separately. Be gentle with the dry sections and stronger on the oily parts.

Your skin will tell you if you’re exfoliating too often or taking an approach that’s too harsh. Pay attention to what the color and feel of your skin is telling you. Exfoliating improperly or too often can cause problems for your skin. Watch for redness, small breakouts, and unusual sensitivity to your normal skincare products.

Help Reveal a New Shine for Your Skin

Taking care of your skin sometimes means shedding some of it. Properly exfoliating one to three times per week (depending on skin type) is the best way to scrub or peel away the buildup of dead skin to help you shine. Just remember to consider the proper approach for your skin and always follow-up with an appropriate moisturizer. And like with your overall health, listen to what your body is telling you. The good news is that the results of your exfoliating efforts should be obvious—and written all over your face.

washing face

washing face

As you go about your everyday life, you are not alone. No need to be paranoid. You aren’t being haunted by ghosts or followed by anyone. But there is a community of nearly 1,000 different species of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and mites you constantly tote around with you—on your skin. It’s known as the skin microbiome, and it’s important for the health of your largest organ.

That’s right—what you can’t see in the mirror might be having a huge impact on your skin.

What is the Skin Microbiome?

woman washing face

The billions of microbes living on you are called your skin microbiome. These microorganisms (sometimes called skin flora) are harmless or even beneficial—playing a vital role in your immune system and skin appearance. Evolved over thousands of years, the human microbiome consists of many distinct types of colonies, depending on the location and condition of the microenvironment.

The microbiota survive off of the salt, water, and oil (sebum) your skin releases to keep itself cool and lubricated. And several factors determine the habitat of the various microbiota, like:

  • body temperature
  • skin thickness
  • amount and size of folds
  • skin pH
  • the density of hair follicles and glands

In other words—and not all too surprisingly—the microbiota on your face looks different from the microbiota on your armpits. Areas with higher density of oil glands, like your face, back, and chest, thrive off of the lipids (fats) in your sebum. Warm, humid areas, such as the groin and between the toes, host microorganisms that love a danker environment. Meanwhile, dry, cool patches—like your arms and legs—have far fewer micro-colonies than the rest of your body. In all, the average person carries around two pounds of microbes on their body at all times.

The sheer amount and diversity of skin flora may sound scary. But it’s actually a good and healthy thing. Having a bountiful, well-balanced microbiome plays an important role in your overall health, and the appearance of your skin. The microorganisms help produce vitamins, hormones, and chemicals that affect everything from your mood to metabolism to immune system.

What Skin Flora Do for You

skin microbiome

Most people know the skin is the body’s first line of defense against injury or potential pathogens. But it’s not actually your skin’s cells that act as the front lines of the cavalry. It’s the skin’s microbiome.

Your skin’s inherent environment is rather unfriendly to bad bacteria. It’s cool and dry. The pH is acidic. Even sebum, your skin’s lubricant, is antimicrobial. And, ideally, your skin has a bountiful amount of microbiota to combat all the bad bacteria you come into contact with.

A healthy skin microbiome, which prefers the acidic environment your skin provides, helps your immune system out. This likely starts by skin flora overcrowding pathogen overgrowth. Also, your skin’s immune system and microbiome communicate and respond to one another’s needs.

But your skin could be left vulnerable if your skin’s microbiome has been damaged in one of many ways:

  • soaps
  • incorrect or overuse of antibiotics
  • harsh skincare products
  • environmental factors

Unfortunately, the diversity in many modern societies’ microbiomes is as much as half as diverse as it once was. The culprits of the dwindling number of microbiota? Modern hygiene practices—such as daily showers or baths and the use of aggressive soaps and detergents—along with less healthful diets. Also a lack of interactions with plants, soil, and the microbiomes of livestock and other wildlife, may have an impact.

On the individual level, many factors can shape the diversity of your skin flora. Your job, age, lifestyle, clothing, hygiene habits, and even how much time you spend in the sunlight can all affect the types and amount of microorganisms inhabiting your microbiome.

The lack of diversity can become obvious, even to the naked eye. It can lead to dryness, overproduction of sebum, breakouts, redness, or other afflictions. Therefore, keeping the proper balance of microbiota, and maintaining proper pH, can help protect your skin and microbiota from undesirable conditions.

The relationship between your skin’s appearance and microbiome isn’t completely clear. That’s partially because the vast majority of skin flora haven’t been cultured or extensively studied yet. But more research and information is likely coming. That’s because the subject of the skin microbiome has caught the attention of many large beauty and skincare brands. It has even inspired the creation of some startup cosmetic brands who are experimenting with adding microbes to their products.

5 Tips for a Flourishing, Healthy Skin Microbiome

drinking water

Many of the factors that control the makeup of your skin microbiome are out of your control. But there are some things you can do to protect the delicate communities of skin flora. To keep your skin’s microbiome happy, healthy, and thriving, implement these five tips:

Cleanse—and dry—correctly.

There’s a fine balance between having good hygiene and overdoing it. Avoid over-washing or using harsh cleansers. And don’t go crazy with the scrubbing. Too much friction can strip your skin of its healthy microbes, and create micro-tears in the skin at the same time. These tiny tears can be a breeding ground for unhealthy pathogens. When it comes time to dry off, gently pat your skin dry instead of vigorously rubbing yourself with the towel.

Eat well and hydrate.

As with most aspects of your health, your diet plays a vital role in keeping your skin healthy. Eating a diet rich in healthy fats, vegetables, protein, and fiber helps your gut bacteria, which may in turn help your skin microbiome. Also, be sure to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day. Being chronically dehydrated can negatively impact your microbiome. Finally, try to work up a sweat regularly to help feed your skin’s microbiome.

Avoid synthetic fabrics.

Choose natural fibers like cotton over synthetics whenever possible. Man-made fabrics, especially those that are tight or worn closely to the skin, can cause an imbalance in your microbiome. Remember that microbiota thrive on different areas of the body because of their unique environments. If you often wear items that cause your temperature, sebum or sweat  production, or otherwise affect the normal skin conditions, you could create an environment in which good skin flora cannot thrive.

Choose products wisely.

Avoid antibacterial soaps and step away from hand sanitizer. In many cases, they kill the beneficial microbes along with the bad ones. Beyond the antibacterial type, soaps in general are alkaline, which can upset the balance of your acidic skin and actually make you more vulnerable to alkaline-loving potential pathogens. If you want to go the extra mile to ensure your hygiene isn’t damaging your microbiota, try one of the microbiome soaps that are now on the market. When it comes time to moisturize, be aware that many lotions have ingredients that are not microbiome-friendly. Use gentle, water-attracting moisturizers with ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

Embrace Your Skin Microbiome.

While it may go against everything you’ve been taught for decades, not all bacteria or other microbes should be killed or avoided. And, in reality, it would be a futile endeavor. So, instead of being grossed out by the billions of life forms with which you share your body, embrace the little guys that make up your skin microbiome and do your best to protect them as well as they try to protect you.

Life is busy enough. Add a trip—even if it’s a vacation you need—or the scramble to get kids ready for back-to-school, and the busy-ness of life leaves you short on time. But that doesn’t mean you should skimp on one of the most important habits for your well-being: proper skincare.

You always hear about the many, many steps of a skincare routine—like it’s a race to add more complexity. That doesn’t always fit with your busy life. But believe it or not, there is such a thing as a simple skincare routine.

If you find yourself too hurried to make skincare a priority, try implementing these five tips to make a routine that can keep up with you.

1. Care for Your Skin from the Inside

The top skincare tip for busy people is to feed your glow from the inside. The better care you take of your hydration and nutrition, the fewer products you’ll need to use to make up for it later.

The golden rule for good-looking skin—especially if you’re traveling or spending a lot of time in the sun, heat, or on the go—is to keep yourself and your skin as hydrated as possible. Yes, this means drinking about 64 ounces (about two liters) of water a day.

But also avoid foods and drinks that dehydrate you or cause you to retain fluids: alcohol, refined carbohydrates, and salt. Beware: those cocktails from last night could have you waking up to dark circles and puffiness, and the salty take-out you had for dinner can leave you retaining fluids.

The easiest way to stay hydrated is to take a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Look for one that holds at least 32 ounces (or about a liter), or you’ll be looking for places to fill up multiple times a day. BPA-free plastic bottles are easy to find and durable. Aluminum bottles are lightweight and tend to keep your water cooler than plastic. Either is a good option.

If you’re traveling by air, remember to empty out any water before trying to go through airport security. Otherwise, you may end up having to leave your bottle behind.

For good skin nutrition, cut down on sugars and other simple carbohydrates. And add more lean protein and produce. Omega 3 fatty acids are also essential to maintaining moisture in the skin. So, toss some flaxseeds or walnuts on your lunchtime salad to get a quick boost.*

If you’re traveling, pay close attention to your in-flight or road-trip nutrition, particularly the sugar and sodium levels. Whole fruit and unsalted nuts are better options than trail mix, chips, or airline peanuts. Ask the flight attendant for herbal tea or water instead of soda pop, coffee, or alcohol. That’s because it’s easier for your body to get dehydrated at 30,000 feet (10,000 meters).

2. Keep it Simple

Be honest with yourself. Even if you’re curious about the benefits of a complex, double-digit-step skincare routine, are you committed enough to implement it on a daily basis? If the answer is no, don’t set yourself up for failure. You can still get fantastic results from a simplified skincare routine. The trick is to be consistent with whatever routine you choose.

First off, clean out your shower, cabinets, and bathroom drawers. Any products that are expired, have started to separate (that’s a sign that the product has spoiled), or that you haven’t used in the past few months have to go.

Now, it’s time for your simplified skincare routine to start your day (Those in bold are what a dermatologist would view as essential):

  • Wash with a gentle cleanser.
  • Quickly pat a light antioxidant serum into your skin to keep the look of aging at bay. Allow your serum to absorb into your skin.
  • If you choose to add an eye cream, now would be the time to lightly tap it into the outer eye area with your ring finger.
  • Apply a moisturizer.
  • Top with a sunscreen that’s a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher.

And you’re done with your morning skincare routine in five minutes—even if you add in the two steps not seen by dermatologists as essential!

At night, remove any and all makeup before cleansing. Follow with a more powerful skincare routine to take advantage of your body’s recovery mode during sleep. Also, add a thicker moisturizer or night cream. If you need extra moisture while you sleep, place a humidifier near your bed. To minimize puffiness, elevate your head by sleeping on two pillows.

And remember—while the skin on your face is delicate and needs the most attention, the skin on the rest of your body also needs some tender care. After showering in the morning, use a quick-absorbing lotion and then layer on your preferred sunscreen. Do not skip this step, even if the weather is bad or you’re in a hurry. Preventing sun damage is much easier than trying to correct it after the fact.

3. Choose Your Products Wisely

Your skincare routine should multitask as much as you do. Look for products that do double or even triple duty to save time and space in your bathroom. Here are some common product combinations to try:

  • If you have oily or combination skin and would prefer to skip the moisturizer in the morning, use a creamy face wash with hydrating main ingredients.
  • Several cleansers double as exfoliators because they contain ingredients to gently polish the surface of your skin, helping to keep your glow going strong.
  • In a pinch, you can skip the serum if your moisturizer contains excellent anti-aging cosmetic ingredients to help combat the look of aging.
  • Lots of sunscreens double as moisturizers these days. As long as it has high enough broad spectrum protection, there’s no need to use them in separate steps. Or, if you have dry and/or aging skin and prefer face oils to the serum and moisturizer, snag one with sun protection built in.
  • If you’d like sheer-to-light foundation coverage, look for a tinted sunscreen. It’ll tackle three steps in one: moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup.

4. Let Skincare be Your Travel Companion

If you’re traveling or constantly on the go, let your skincare goodies tag along with you. This is where the travel aisle of your favorite store can be your best friend. Whether you take a carry-on through airport security or not, load up on travel-size bottles or containers (three ounces or fewer). Then you can fill them up with your regular skincare products that are too big for your carry-on.

Not surprisingly, your most important sidekick is sunscreen. It needs to be close since you should reapply every few hours—especially if you get sweaty or spend time in the water. If you have the space, bring a separate SPF for your face and body. Grab a travel-sized spray can or a roll-on stick of sunscreen for your body, and use a mineral powder for your face to leave makeup undisturbed. It’s especially important to sunscreen up prior to a flight, as you’re closer to the sun’s skin-damaging rays.

If you’re going to spend several hours on a flight or in the car, load up on all things to help you refresh and rehydrate. For a quick shower alternative on a really long trip, bring cleansing cloths to wipe down your face, arms, and hands. Facial oil and hand cream or lotion should be applied—and reapplied, depending on the length of the flight—to your face and hands. (They also can help tame frizzy tresses or flyaways.) Facial mists are also good options. And on those overnight or international flights, take the opportunity to pamper your skin by using a no-rinse, hydrating sheet mask. Cleanse your face, apply the sheet mask, relax, and hydrate for 20-30 minutes.

Other items that make great travel companions: hand sanitizer, lip balm (bonus points for using one with SPF), and blotting sheets to combat extra shine.

5. One Day a Week, Don’t be in a Hurry

A skincare routine may seem like a chore most days, but try to let it feel like a treat at least one day a week. Depending on your skin type and your skin’s needs, try some or all of these luxurious treatments this weekend.

  • Exfoliate. Regardless of your skin type, you need to slough off dead skin cells once or twice a week to help keep your pores clear. Choose a product with ingredients that gently polish your skin, like a sugar scrub. If you go for a different exfoliant, scan the label for alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, or hyaluronic acids. Fruit enzymes like papaya and pineapple work if you have sensitive skin. You can also use an exfoliating mask, a peel, or exfoliating pads. Just remember that a little goes a long way—be gentle!
  • Give yourself a facial massage. Get circulation flowing to your facial tissue and release wrinkle-causing facial tension by giving your face a good rub. After applying facial oil or moisturizer, slowly massage it into your face, neck, and décollé. You can also use a jade roller to help the product penetrate deeper and increase circulation.
  • Get your mask on. Give your skin some extra love by using a mask at least once a week. There are myriad options for masking, so choose your treatment by assessing your skin’s needs. Looking a little dull? Try a brightening sheet mask. Minor blemishes popping up? Try a thicker charcoal or clay mask. If you’re feeling dry, pick a hydrating mask you can wear overnight.
  • Don’t forget your eyes. Reduce puffiness, dark circles, and the appearance of fine lines by giving your eyes special attention on the weekend. Undereye silicone masks are effective options, but can be a bit pricey. For a do-it-yourself alternative, place steeped chamomile tea bags or cool cucumber slices over your eyes for 10-15 minutes.

Whatever your schedule or lifestyle, you can (and should!) make time to commit to a daily skincare routine. It’s an important healthy habit. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, so taking care of it makes a big impact on your overall well-being. Keep a simple routine using multi-purpose products you’ll be on your way in no time flat. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The skin you see today isn’t exactly the same as the skin you’ll see tomorrow. Your largest organ is constantly refreshing itself with new skin cells. Every day, you shed over 30,000 skin cells. Every single day.

And they’re replaced with new ones. That’s a lot of cellular turnover. It takes a lot of cells to populate your largest organ. Each square inch of your skin is made up of about 19 million cells. All of them go through an interesting lifespan that’s unique to skin cells.

Lifespan of Skin Cells: Started at the Bottom

The life story of a skin cell is one of triumph. If it were a movie, it would be about a heroic climb from the depths all the way to the highest heights. But this isn’t an underdog story. The lifespan of your skin cells is the best way for your skin to do its job.

A skin cell’s life starts from humble beginnings at the bottom of the epidermis—your topmost of your skin’s three main layers. All your skin cells are born at the junction of the epidermis and the dermis. They all start out full of proteins—keratin and collagen—and shaped like a chubby square.

It’s an unassuming start to life for the cells that protect your body from the outside world. But things definitely get better—and harder.

The Climb

Over the next month, these fat, square cells, born at the bottom, will ascend to great heights within the epidermis. As new cells are born, they facilitate the climb, pushing existing skin cells towards the top layers. That flattens out your skin cells as they’re pushed upward.

This is a tough time in the lifespan of skin cells. The arduous journey hardens them and prepares skin cells to do the tough work of shielding the body from the outside world.

No skin cell survives the climb. Because that’s what they’re supposed to do—die.

No Rest for the Dead

All the skin you’re looking at right now is dead. You have to dig down about 20 layers from the outside of your skin to find a living skin cell.

They aren’t alive, but that doesn’t mean your skin cells are done working for your health. These flattened, hardened cells create layer upon layer of protection.

The top layers of dead skin cells act like the shingles on a roof. They overlap to form a water-tight barrier. That’s how the zombie skin cells keep out the unwanted parts of your environment.

Eventually, all skin cells are pushed out by the new cells making the climb. The never-ending procession of cells from below helps dead cells reach the very top layer. At the pinnacle, they flake off.

The End: Into Dust

Your noble, triumphant skin cells—the shields that protect you day and night—meet a fairly gross fate. They literally turn into dust.

A lot of the dust in your house is actually dead skin. In fact, you produce about eight pounds (3.6 kilograms) of skin-cell dust per year. You’re surrounded by the discarded parts of your skin.

So, next time you’re wiping off the counter or dusting your dresser, say thanks. And pay your respects to the tough, triumphant lives lived by your former skin cells.


6 Tips for Supporting Your Skin Throughout Its Lifespan

There’s nothing you can do to keep your skin cells from dying off. And you wouldn’t want to. Each dead skin cell is playing its role perfectly. But there are a few things you can do to support your skin as a whole and keep it looking healthy:

  • Provide proper sun protection. The sun is a huge threat to your skin. So, you need to practice safe sun exposure. That includes proper sunscreen usage (with frequent reapplication) and the use of hats and clothes to cover up.
  • Eat right. Your diet has a huge impact on your overall health. And there are nutrients and foods you can add to help your skin keep looking young.
  • Focus on a healthy lifestyle. Sleep, exercise, and healthy habits (like avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol) can all benefit your skin. It’s your largest organ, so your behavior has a big impact.
  • Find the right skincare for your skin type. Each skin type requires a different approach. Take the first step and find out what your skin type is so you can properly care for it.
  • Don’t fall victim to common skincare myths. You shouldn’t believe everything you read about skincare. The current skincare revolution creates a lot of misinformation. Investigate whether a hot tip could turn into a tricky situation for your skin.
  • Hydrate. Moisture is your skin’s friend. Dry skin doesn’t look as healthy young as well-hydrated skin does. Hydrate from within—by drinking enough water—and from the outside by using quality skincare that moisturizes.
Blonde woman with laptop forget something buy in online store, facepalm

Blonde woman with laptop forget something buy in online store, facepalm

If you’ve been paying attention to current beauty and health trends, you know we’re amid a skincare revolution. More brands, products, and tools are available to help you maintain your skin health than ever before.

Don’t chalk this trend up to mere vanity, though—taking good care of your skin is about more than just wanting to stay youthful-looking. As your body’s largest organ, the skin also plays a vital role in regulating body temperature, manufacturing vitamin D, and acting as your first line of defense against harmful germs. It only makes sense that you’d want to take the best possible care of it.

But sometimes you sabotage yourself with your best intentions. Believing some common skincare myths can cause (or worsen) the very skin problems you’re trying to correct or avoid. Learn fact from fiction as we bust five widely believed skincare fallacies and offer tips to making skin-friendly choices.

Myth 1: There is one right kind of skincare regimen.

Sure, most of the generic cleansers you can find at any supermarket or drugstore will remove dirt and oil from your skin. And any moisturizer will provide some boost in hydration. But to really see positive results and make your skin its happiest, you need to give it exactly what it needs.

The first step in adopting a bespoke (read: personalized) skincare regimen is to understand your skin type. Small pores with rough, flaky patches? You probably have dry skin. If you tend to get blackheads and need a blotting tissue every afternoon, you’re likely on the oily side of the spectrum. Or, you could be a combination of both if you see midday shine in your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) but are scaly around your cheeks. If you tend to be easily irritated, you could have sensitive skin. If you’re still unsure what category you fall into, take this skin type quiz to find out.

Whatever your skin type, choose a regimen that supports the health of your all-important skin barrier to help you look and feel your best. The protective outer layer of skin contains a lipid or moisture barrier that protects you from your environment and keeps natural moisture in. When your skin barrier is performing at its best, your skin looks firm and plump. It also has a natural dewy glow. Keeping your moisture barrier healthy is important to get the results you want to see in the mirror.

A bespoke skincare regimen can be as simple as cleansing and moisturizing or as robust as the Korean 13-step routine. However many steps you choose, make sure each product in your regimen is geared toward your skin type. In general, the following are common staple products of a skincare regimen:

  1. Cleanser: Look for a mild cleanser to use morning and night. If you wear makeup, it’s best to remove it in a separate step prior to washing—called the two-step cleaning process.
  2. Toner: It’s not just an important step only for those with combination or oily skin. Toning can also help moisturize dry skin. This category has boomed in recent years, and you can find toners that include a wide variety of ingredients, from rose water to kombucha. Toning right after cleansing helps lock in your natural hydration and prepares your skin for moisturizing, but this is the most optional step.
  3. Serum: Also known as an essence or ampoule, serums may contain a broad range of ingredients—including plant extracts, oils and nutrients—that focus on types of skin concern. You only need a few drops, as these products are highly concentrated.
  4. Eye cream: While your skin is absorbing the serum, use your ring finger to gently tap the eye cream or gel of your choice into the skin surrounding the eye socket. Don’t swipe or rub in the product, as that can cause pulling in an area with thin, delicate skin.
  5. Moisturize: Like serums, moisturizers are also often tailored to your skin needs. For your daytime moisturizer, look for one with a broad spectrum SPF of at least 30, or apply a sunscreen separately after your moisturizer.

Myth 2: You only need skincare for your face.

That skin barrier we discussed above? It covers and protects the skin all over your body. That means the rest of it needs just as much care and attention as the skin on your face.

To baby the delicate skin you’re in and pamper those often-neglected body parts:

  • Take cooler, shorter showers. Prolonged exposure to heat can cause damage to your moisture barrier, which can lead to dryness, redness, and irritation.
  • Pat, don’t rub, yourself dry with a towel. Excessive rubbing can tug at your skin, which can cause immediate irritation and a loss of elasticity in the skin over time.
  • Moisturize daily, at minimum, to lock in the hydration your moisture barrier needs. Use a quality body lotion after showering, and use a facial moisturizer after cleansing both day and night.
  • Gently exfoliate all over once to twice a week, especially concentrating on the rougher spots like elbows, knees, ankles, and heels. Use a loofah with a creamy, hydrating body wash or a moisturizing sugar scrub.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink the daily recommended 64 ounces of hydrating beverages such as unsweetened teas, coconut water, almond milk, and, of course, water. Dry skin can be an early sign that you’re dehydrated.
  • Avoid harsh, drying soaps, facial cleansers, and body washes. Read the product labels and steer clear from those with moisture-sapping sulfates or harsh alcohols.
  • Apply sunscreen every day. Protection from the sun’s harmful rays aren’t just for beach days and summer months. The sun can break down your skin’s moisture barrier year-round. See more on this topic below.
  • Bring the skincare products you use on your face all the way down to the neck. It needs a similar amount of attention as your face, but the skin on the neck is even thinner.
  • Use hand cream, especially with SPF, to keep the age spots at bay. Even if you lie about your age, your hands could betray you.
  • Don’t forget your feet! Get rid of calluses by using a pumice stone in the shower. For extra overnight hydration, slather your feet with lotion and wear cotton socks to bed.

Myth 3: The higher the SPF, the better the protection

It seems like the logic should be simple: the higher the SPF number in a sunscreen product, the better it protects against the sun’s harmful rays. The reality, however, is a bit more complicated.

Even though both UVA and UVB rays can damage the skin, SPF typically only measures the amount a product protects against UVB rays—the rays that cause the worst sunburns. If you used certain high-SPF sunscreens, you might not see skin redness or get a sunburn, but that doesn’t mean your skin hasn’t received a high dose of damaging UVA radiation.

Even the SPF numbers themselves can be deceiving. Most people believe that SPF 30 provides double the sun protection that SPF 15 does. In actuality, SPF 15 sunscreen blocks 93 percent of UVB rays, while an SPF 30 product blocks 97 percent.

Further complicating matters, SPF is tested by applying two milligrams of sunscreen to one square centimeter of skin. Most people apply half— or less —that amount. If you skimp on applying sunscreen, you could be much less protected than you assume.

So what’s the sweet spot? Look for an SPF between 30 and 50 that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. This will often appear on product labels as “broad spectrum,” “multi spectrum,” or “UVA/UVB spectrum.”

For optimal sun protection, apply more sunscreen than you think you need. Be sure to reapply when exposed to direct sun for more than two hours or if you’ve been in the water or exercising. Also take other sun-avoiding measures like seeking shade, wearing loose, light-colored protective clothing, a hat, and limiting time spent in the sun.

Myth 4: Beauty sleep is real only in fairy tales.

Sleeping in until noon on Saturdays will not erase your crow’s feet or banish your smile lines. But a growing amount of research suggests consistently getting a good night’s sleep will do wonders for your skin long term. And, conversely, getting poor rest can have highly damaging effects on the skin.

A study of British women showed pretty conclusive results. All saw an increase of wrinkles, dark circles, and overall dull complexion after five consecutive days of getting only six hours of sleep per night—compared to after getting a night of eight hours of sleep.

The immediate effects of a rough night can be obvious in the form of dark circles under puffy eyes. But the damage sleep deprivation can cause the rest of your skin goes much further.

During sleep, your body goes into repair mode. It gets busy eliminating old, dead cells, making new ones, and cleaning your body of toxins. When you shortchange yourself of a full night’s sleep, you’re missing out on hours of collagen production, which can lead to your skin sagging and looking older sooner. You also won’t get the normal amount of blood flow to your face necessary to give you a healthy, rosy glow.

Lack of sleep also increases levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to breakouts. Imbalances in pH and loss of moisture are other common byproducts of sleep deprivation, and can wreak havoc on your complexion.

So go ahead and hit the sack a bit earlier to get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep you need every night. And don’t forget the cardinal rule in skincare: never sleep without first removing your makeup.

Myth 5: Eating greasy foods will make you break out

You’ve probably heard this myth since you were a teenager: if you pig out on chocolate, French fries, or other junk foods, you’ll be promptly rewarded with an unsightly breakout. The old logic was that because oily skin tends to be more prone to imperfections, eating greasy foods will worsen your skin’s oil problems. In reality, oil in your diet doesn’t equate to higher production of sebum (your skin’s natural oil).

Don’t go throwing a parade through your nearest drive-thru just yet, though. What you eat still affects your skin. You are what you eat, and certain foods can trigger hormonal responses that may negatively affect how your skin looks. This is especially true for those that have food sensitivities or allergies. Research has shown that there are some foods that could aggravate problem-prone skin. If that describes you, try staying away from the foods and beverages listed below for a while to see if your skin troubles subside.

  • Refined sugars and processed grains. Simple carbohydrates are known to cause spikes in insulin, which messes with the hormones responsible for skin-cell growth and sebum production. More cell turnover combined with more oil can be a recipe for skin disaster.
  • Breakouts are typically connected to inflammation, and for people that have any level of sensitivity to it, dairy can really flare things up. While research is conflicted, milk, cream, and ice cream appear to have more negative impacts on the skin, while yogurt and hard cheeses tend to cause fewer issues.
  • You’re not going to want to toast to this: alcohol is a nightmare for the skin. Not only is it hard on the liver—the organ responsible for detoxifying your body—but it also dehydrates the body and the skin. Most cocktail mixers come with hefty added doses of sugar, which will cause the dreaded insulin spikes. And in case you thought red wine was exempt because of its noted health benefits, for a lot of people it can cause flushing of the face. If you’re going to imbibe, try not to go overboard, and drink plenty of water. Your skin will thank you the next morning—and in the long run.

It turns out that some of the advice your mother and grandmother gave you about skincare aren’t backed by science or reality. The good news is this golden age of skincare provides more options than ever to make the best choices possible for your unique skin.

References

https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/kids/healthy-skin

http://www.americanskin.org/resource/

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/whats-your-skin-type#1

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/skincare-routines-of-top-dermatologists_us_5850335de4b0e05aded6214f?section=us_own

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2688147/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/beauty-pictures/delicious-good-for-your-skin-drinks.aspx#01

https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/ask-the-experts/does-a-higher-spf-sunscreen-always-protect-your-skin-better

https://www.mdedge.com/edermatologynews/article/130640/aesthetic-dermatology/beauty-sleep-sleep-deprivation-and-skin

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/beauty-sleep#1

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/goodlife/11618809/How-a-bad-nights-sleep-wrecks-your-skin.html

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/anti-aging/a35556/why-is-sleeping-in-makeup-bad/

http://www.yalescientific.org/2011/11/does-greasy-food-cause-acne/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-that-cause-acne#section1

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/24/alcohol-skin_n_4146391.html

woman's face

woman's face

Your skin is unique. Nobody has the exact same skin as you. But you still fall into one of four major categories. And this skin type quiz will help you figure out how to characterize your unique skin so you can choose the proper skincare.

Before you take the skin type quiz, you probably want to know a little bit about your potential category. You could be:

  • Oily: This one is pretty self-explanatory. If you have excess oil all over your skin, chances are you will come out of the skin type quiz with an oily designation.
  • Combination: Surprise, surprise. This is a combination of dry and oily skin. So, if your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) are oily and your cheeks are dry, your quiz result may say combination.
  • Dry: If your skin is flaky, rough and drinks up the moisturizer, you might take the skin type quiz and find you have dry skin.
  • Sensitive: Easily irritated skin—especially when you interact with new products or environments—is an indicator of sensitive skin.

You might feel like something’s missing—normal skin.

It’s true that a normal skin type is the most common. It could be described as having a balance of moisture, small pores, and few visible concerns. Basically, it’s what you imagine healthy skin looking like. It’s the kind of skin you’re either trying to achieve or trying to maintain with your skincare routine.

Normal skin isn’t included in the list or in the skin type quiz for a reason. Normal, healthy skin will still show some minor visible issues—the appearance of these expressions could increase with age. So, the quiz will help you tailor your skincare routine to your concerns or those you may face in the future.

Now you’ve read about the categories and you might have a guess about what your skin is. It’s time to answer the seven questions of the skin type quiz and find out for sure.

 

References

https://www.webmd.com/beauty/whats-your-skin-type#1

https://www.skinvision.com/articles/how-to-determine-your-skin-type-in-four-easy-steps

https://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Your-Skin-Type

Healthy Fingernails

Fingernails come in handy when you have an itch to scratch. But you may not know very much about them. This tough and hardy tissue protects your fingers and toes. Nails help you grip and manipulate small objects. Imagine peeling an orange or unwrapping a gift without them. But what makes for healthy fingernails?

Nails are very useful, but a bit mysterious. These curious clutches can give you valuable information about your health and nutritional status. Signs from your fingernails can alert you to nutrient deficiency and tell you when your diet is top notch. Healthy fingernails reflect a healthy body. Look closely at your claws to see what your body is telling you.

Fingernail Anatomy

Solving the mystery starts with anatomy. Your fingernails have been growing since before you were born. And they’ll be with you throughout your entire life. But fingernails are more than meets the eye. They are a complex hybrid of the cells and protein that constitute skin and hair.

Learning the following terms will help you understand how your fingernails are structured.

  • Stratum corneum: The outermost layer of your epidermis (skin). The stratum corneum is full of the protein keratin, which gives fingernails their firm texture.
  • Nail plate: Your fingernail. The nail plate is made of keratin that hardens and gives your fingernails structure and rigidity. The underside of the nail plate is full of ridges. These adhere to the nail bed below.
  • Nail bed: The area upon which the fingernail grows. The nail bed is vascular and has grooves that complement the ridges underneath the nail plate. This allows the nail bed and nail plate to stick together.
  • Lunula: The half-moon shaped, white arc at the base of your fingernail. The lunula is white due to the high concentration of nuclei in the nail matrix underneath.
  • Nail matrix: The nail matrix lies below the lunula and is the source of keratinization—the process where the proteins in fingernails are assembled in the nail matrix.
  • Cuticle: The cuticle is a layer of skin that grows over the base of the nail plate. This protects the nail plate from damage or infection.

The Lifecycle of Healthy Fingernails

Nail development begins during the ninth week of pregnancy. By week 16, fingernails are visible on a growing fetus. From birth and beyond, nails grow between three and four millimeters every month. This continuous growth can be attributed to the cells that make up the nail.

Fingernails are primarily comprised of the protein keratin. This structural protein is produced in large quantities by skin cells, and is also found in your hair. Since the rate of skin-cell turnover is high compared to other cells in the body, the supply of keratin is always being replenished. The keratin in your nails originates in the stratum corneum and is assembled at the nail matrix.

Your nails grow from the nail matrix at the base of the nail bed to the ends of your fingertips.  The nail plate covers the nail bed and protects the delicate skin and blood vessels underneath. The nail plate stays tightly bound to the nail bed through matching ridges and grooves that fit snuggly together. Cuticle tissue seals the gap between skin and nail and prevents germs and microbes from infecting the skin.

Each piece of your fingernail performs an important function. It is necessary to keep your nails in good condition so they can best serve you. Think of your fingernails as a dynamic timeline. From the fingertips to the base of the nail bed, your fingernails store valuable information about your health and diet. This information updates as your nails grow—so be on the lookout for changes.

Things Your Nails May be Telling You

Healthy fingernails are tough and strong. But when nutrition is lacking or another concern is present, this isn’t always the case. Be aware that changes in your fingernails could be signaling a change in your overall health.

Weak nails are brittle and split or crack easily. This can be a symptom of dehydration. Since nails and skin are similar in their cellular makeup, their care is, too. When dryness is an issue, moisturizing is an excellent remedy. Applying lotion to the skin and nails after a shower or bath is a great way to lock in moisture beneath the surface.

In addition to moisturizing, steer clear of things that dry out your nails. The acetone in fingernail polish remover is an often-overlooked culprit. To reduce any damage done to your nails by removers, limit yourself to changing your nail polish twice a month.

Avoid exposing your fingernails to household cleaners and detergents. The chemicals in these products dry skin and nails out quickly. Shielding your hands with a pair of rubber gloves could be the solution to dry and brittle nails.

You can maintain strong fingernails by getting B-vitamins in your diet. Biotin (a B-vitamin) has been linked to maintaining nail strength when taken as a dietary supplement. Taking biotin can have similar effects on your hair and skin, as well. There is preliminary evidence to suggest that biotin supplementation supports the thickness of hair and maintains a healthy-looking complexion.

Eating Well for Healthy Fingernails

A nutrient-rich diet can promote the color and shape of healthy fingernails. Eating foods rich in iron—like green veggies, lean red meat, and peanut butter—can supply your body with the iron it needs for smooth operation and beautiful nails. When diet alone is not enough to supply iron needs, supplementation may be necessary.

Zinc is another important nutrient to maintaining healthy nails. This mineral can be obtained through a diet that includes beef and seafood, as well as zinc-fortified cereal. This important mineral is also a common component of multivitamins and immune-support supplements.

5 Tips for Healthy Fingernails

You use your fingernails all the time, so it is important to take care of them. There are a lot of things you can do to develop happy, healthy fingernails:

  1. Keep your hands clean: Washing your hands often has the added bonus of maintaining nail health. Keeping your fingernails clean and dry helps protect your nails against potential pathogens. Follow a hand wash with a good moisturizer. Rubbing lotion into your nails and nail beds can strengthen them and keep them from splitting.
  2. Stop biting your nails: Using your teeth to cut your nails invites germs to set up shop in or around your fingernails and mouth. Nail biting can also hinder your nail’s ability to grow evenly and may lead to deformities. Yoga and meditation are two great ways to relax and may help reduce the urge to chew your nails. If you need more immediate relief from nail biting, try applying bitter-tasting nail polish or lemon juice to your fingertips. The unpleasant taste could help you (or your kids) break the habit.
  3. Cut your nails correctly: When you clip your nails safely and correctly, you can avoid painful ingrown nails and hang nails. Start by trimming long nails straight across. Then file the edges so they are slightly rounded. When nails snag or break, try to trim them quickly to avoid any additional injury.
  4. Get professional nail care: A manicure or pedicure session can be relaxing. Just be sure that the tools used are properly maintained and sterilized. This minimizes the spread of germs. If you are unsure of your favorite salon’s equipment handling, ask if you can provide your own. Remember to never remove your cuticles. Cutting your cuticles removes important protection for your nails. If you polish your nails frequently, opt for non-acetone-based nail polish removers. Acetone can weaken and dry out nails over time.
  5. Prep your body with quality nutrition: Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy fingernails. Check your diet for adequate amounts of iron, zinc, and biotin. Supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, and nutritionals that promote healthy, beautiful nails.

About the Author

Sydney Sprouse is a freelance science writer based out of Forest Grove, Oregon. She holds a bachelor of science in human biology from Utah State University, where she worked as an undergraduate researcher and writing fellow. Sydney is a lifelong student of science and makes it her goal to translate current scientific research as effectively as possible. She writes with particular interest in human biology, health, and nutrition.

References

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/multimedia/nails/sls-20076131?s=7

https://askdruniverse.wsu.edu/2016/01/04/what-are-fingernails-made-of/

https://health.howstuffworks.com/skin-care/nail-care/health/fingernails.htm

Bragulla HH, Homberger DG. Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinized and cornified epithelia. J Anat. 2009;214(4):516-59.

De berker D. Nail anatomy. Clin Dermatol. 2013;31(5):509-15.

Floersheim GL. [Treatment of brittle fingernails with biotin]. Z Hautkr. 1989;64(1):41-8.

Yaemsiri S, Hou N, Slining MM, He K. Growth rate of human fingernails and toenails in healthy American young adults. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(4):420-3.

Boosting the quality of your diet checks a lot of boxes for your health. Weight, energy, and proper fuel come to mind first. The health of your skin should be added to that list. Nutritional skincare illuminates the natural radiance of your skin through a proper diet.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. And its health is easily influenced by what you eat. Skin goes through many cycles of renewal and repair. Proper nutrition supplies your skin with the materials it needs to maintain its beauty and strength.

That means eating a variety of healthy, whole foods that include a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Below, you’ll read about some of the foods rich in important nutrients for your skin. Make nutritional skincare a priority and ensure these nutrients are in your diet.

Vitamin C

Healthy skin requires a good supply of the protein collagen. This peptide is the most abundant protein in your body and is found in connective tissue and skin. Collagen gives your skin elasticity, bounce, structure, and durability.

Your body needs vitamin C to regulate the amount of collagen produced in your skin. Vitamin C stabilizes the genetic blueprints for collagen production and increases the rate at which it is made. This helps keep your skin looking as firm and healthy as possible.

There’s another way vitamin C influences the appearance of fine lines in aging skin. Oxidative stress leads to wrinkled skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that acts as a free radical scavenger and maintains healthy levels of toxic oxygen species in cells. So, vitamin C can aid in repairing the oxidative damage done to your skin cells to keep it looking healthy.

This nutrient can also support the production of cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts help maintain healthy skin, but their numbers dwindle with age. By recharging your body’s ability to produce fibroblasts, vitamin C gives your skin the tools it needs to maintain a youthful appearance.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements. Good sources are:

• Oranges
• Apples
• Strawberries
• Spinach
• Broccoli

Eating a diet rich in vitamin C can help protect your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And if you’re looking for another vitamin to pair with it, vitamin E also an important part of nutritional skincare.

Glucosamine

This mega molecule does a lot of work to keep your skin in tip-top shape. Glucosamine is an amino sugar necessary for building proteins and lipids in your body. As a precursor to hyaluronic acid, glucosamine is critical to supporting the production of this important ingredient in skin. That’s what makes glucosamine key to nutritional skincare. Because hyaluronic acid is widely known for its effects on skin health and appearance.

Making hyaluronic acid more available to vulnerable areas of skin is one way glucosamine helps maintain a healthy-looking complexion. Here’s how it works. Hyaluronic acid stabilizes and strengthens the tissues that heal minor skin scrapes. By supporting healthy levels of hyaluronic acid, glucosamine has the power to repair and fortify skin. As an added bonus, glucosamine can inhibit the production of a pigment called melanin. This works to reduce the appearance of age related dark spots.

Increasing the amount of hyaluronic acid in your body makes glucosamine a key part of your nutritional skincare. Look to this important molecule to help support normal pigmentation, and skin repair.

Glucosamine is most often obtained through nutrient supplementation, since dietary sources are scarce. Seafood, namely shellfish, can contribute significantly to the dietary sources of glucosamine. But if you want to incorporate it into your diet at optimal levels—those shown by research to be effective—supplementation is your best option.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin—A Powerful Pair for Nutritional Skincare

Lutein and zeaxanthin are known to support healthy eyes. And evidence suggests these nutrients could be an important part of your nutritional skincare, too. By working together to filter blue light, lutein and zeaxanthin help protect your eyes and skin from the effects of the sun.

High-energy visible light (HEV, or blue light) is emitted by the sun, your laptop computer, cell phone, and LED lights. Your skin’s defense against the barrage of blue light is filtering it out. Lutein and zeaxanthin are some of those filters.

Both behave as antioxidants and help keep free radical damage from blue-light exposure in check. These nutrients are not produced by your body, so it’s important to include them in your diet.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids—plant pigments. Other carotenoids, like beta carotene, can support your skin’s appearance, too. You’ll find these carotenoids in yellow and oranges foods. Cantaloupe, carrots, orange and yellow peppers, egg yolks, and salmon are all rich sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. They’re also found in green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, and lettuce. Including these foods in your healthy diet can pay off in clear eyes and healthy-looking skin.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Known as the “universal antioxidant,” alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is great at fighting off free radicals. ALA is active in both lipid layers of the skin and water-filled skin cells. Its primary role in the body is protecting cells from oxidative damage. Alpha-lipoic acid binds to oxidants and diffuses potential damage.

Oxidative damage causes wrinkles and fine lines. So, ALA is an important component of nutritional skincare that can help you achieve healthy-looking skin. ALA can also support even skin tone and minimize the appearance of redness and blotchiness. Wrinkles are kept at bay because antioxidant compounds like ALA protect the structure of your skin from oxidative stress.

Another function of ALA is the regulation of nitric oxide production. Levels of nitric oxide in your body influence the amount of blood flow to your skin. Increased blood flow helps your complexion transform from a dull and pale appearance to vibrant and glowing one.

Alpha-lipoic acid can also regulate the synthesis of a molecule called glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant, as well—one of the most powerful in your body. The antioxidant benefits of glutathione run the gamut, and with the help of ALA regulation, your skin is a benefactor.

One more function of ALA is its role in energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid serves as an essential cofactor in the biochemical cycle that turns macronutrients (your food) into energy. This cycle (citric acid cycle) produces the majority of the energy your cells need to function.

Your body creates very small quantities of ALA. There are a few food sources of this compound, but their bioavailability is limited. These foods include: kidney, heart, liver, broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. It’s most readily available to your body in the form of nutrient supplements. Increasing the amount of usable ALA in your body supports free-radical scavenging and provides antioxidant benefits.

Curcumin

Curcumin is another pigment that should play a role in your nutritional skincare. This phytonutrient is derived from turmeric, a spice used in preparing vibrant, tropical cuisine. Turmeric (and curcumin) comes from the root Curcuma longa and belongs to the ginger family. Adding turmeric to a meal gives it a beautiful bright yellow color.

But curcumin doesn’t just brighten up your plate. It has demonstrated considerable ability to help reduce the appearance of puffiness and swelling. By blocking the biochemical steps that produce the look of red and irritated skin, curcumin helps your skin tone look smooth and even.

H2O

Nutritional skincare doesn’t have to be hard. Probably the simplest thing to do to help your skin is drink water. And lots of it.

Hydration is crucial for the appearance of healthy and supple skin. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day provides your skin with an ample supply of moisture and helps flush out toxins.

Water helps fill out your skin to provide a smooth appearance. It also helps your skin look plump. You can maximize the effectiveness of topical moisturizers by making sure your skin is well hydrated.

Cell Signaling and Nutritional Skincare

Your skin is only as healthy as the cells that make it. And your diet has a big impact on your cellular function—including cellular communication or cell signaling.

Cells work together by communicating through chemical and electrical impulses. Cellular communication is the foundation for skin health, and the vitality of all your overall health.

So, you need to watch what you eat to ensure your skin cells are a well-oiled machine and fit for duty. Because promoting your cells’ natural ability to communicate helps your body (and skin) look good and feel great.

Your Skin, Your Choice

Nutritional skincare—and supporting your overall health—starts with your choices. When selecting nutritional supplements and shopping for food, look for items that provide a wide range of vitamins (especially C and E), minerals, omega-3s, and healthy proteins.

And think about what you can do to support healthy cellular communication. That include consuming foods and supplements that have plenty of antioxidant activity, are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and contain plenty of phytonutrients.

What you choose not to eat is also important. Limiting sugar and refined carbs can be helpful for your skin. So, next time you reach for a snack, think about how it might feed into the beauty of your skin.

About the Author

Sydney Sprouse is a freelance science writer based out of Forest Grove, Oregon. She holds a bachelor of science in human biology from Utah State University, where she worked as an undergraduate researcher and writing fellow. Sydney is a lifelong student of science and makes it her goal to translate current scientific research as effectively as possible. She writes with particular interest in human biology, health, and nutrition.

References

https://www.nature.com/articles/35016151
http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/77/2/348.short
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/lipoic-acid#food-sources
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1473-2165.2006.00277.x/abstract
https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2017/jun/01/lights-off-is-the-glare-from-your-computer-really-ageing-your-skin
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705341/
http://www.doctoroz.com/article/5-ingredients-look-your-skincare-products
https://www.livestrong.com/article/155430-contraindications-for-glucosamine/
https://www.uwhealth.org/madison-plastic-surgery/the-benefits-of-drinking-water-for-your-skin/26334
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition/lutein

  • These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
skin layers

skin layers

About 15 percent of your body weight is skin. If that seems like a lot, remember that skin is your largest organ. And one of your most important. Understanding your skin’s structure is the first step to maintaining the health of your armor against the outside world.

The Purpose of Your Skin

Your skin comprises a large portion of the integumentary system. This organ system also contains hair, nails, and glands that produce sweat and oil. The three main functions of the integumentary system are protection, regulation, and sensation.

Skin’s primary function in this system is to act as a barrier. It provides protection from various environmental elements—temperature, bacteria, chemicals, the sun, and more. But the blood vessels in the skin also help it regulate your body temperature. And skin is where your body uses sunlight to manufacture vitamin D.

Layers of the Skin

skin layers

Your skin performs a lot of important functions, and each of its three layers play a role.

Epidermis

The epidermis is the top layer of your skin. It’s made up of millions of skin cells held together by lipids. This creates a resilient barrier and regulates the amount of water released from your body.

The outermost part of the epidermis (stratum coreneum) is comprised of layers of flattened cells. Below, the basal layer—composed of proteins in column-like arrangements—makes new skin cells. That’s because this layer is the only one of the epidermis’ five parts that perform mitosis (division of the cellular nucleus). So your older skin cells flake off the very top layer, and the newer ones push up from the basal layer to take their place.

Your epidermis contains four different types of cells. The majority are keratinocytes, which form your water-proof, protective barrier. Melanin—or skin pigment—is produced in the epidermal melanocytes. Langerhans and Merkel cells deal with immune response and sensation, respectively.

Dermis

The next layer of skin is the dermis. It lies beneath the epidermis, and is responsible for a variety of functions.

This layer contains hair roots, nerve endings, blood vessels, and sweat glands that help regulate body temperature and remove waste products. The dermis also contains oil (sebaceous) glands that keep your skin looking soft and smooth, but also help with waterproofing.

Your dermis has two parts—papillary and reticular. The papillary dermis contains the interlocking connections that help supply blood and nutrients to the epidermis. The reticular dermis is the thicker, deeper portion that contains building blocks like collagen and elastin which give skin its flexibility and strength. Your hair follicles and glands also reside in the reticular dermis.

Hypodermis or Subcutaneous Tissue

The subcutaneous tissue is the lowest layer of the integumentary system. It’s used mainly for fat storage. The hypodermis contains the connective tissue that attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones. It also provides support to the blood vessels, nerves, and glands in the dermis.

Key Elements of the Skin Matrix

The skin matrix is a collection of proteins, fats, and peptides that provide resilience and stability. Here are the main components of this support structure:

  • Elastin – protein that forms elastic connective tissue, found in the dermis
  • Keratin – key structural protein that makes up the outermost layer of the skin
  • Collagen – long-chain amino acid that makes up the majority of protein found in your skin
  • Lipids – the natural ‘mortar’ that helps lock in moisture and bind the cells together
  • Peptides – chains of amino acids that signal our cells to let them know how to function

The More You Know

Learning these basics will help you gain a greater understanding of how to take care of and maintain your skin properly. Now that you know the basics of your skin’s structure, learn more about the important role nutrients play in healthy-looking skin.