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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Why Does our Skin Age?

To give you an answer to this question we need to look at the 2 types of ageing that occur and explore both types to truely understand the body and its processes on ageing.

Where do you think ageing in the skin occurs?
Well it doesn't happen in the upper most layer of our skin - the epidermis, it happens a few milimeters below in the next layer call the dermis. The Dermis consists mainly of collagen which are protein fibres that give our skin support. Collagen is found in the Dermis with its friend Elastin which is not found as abundantly as Collagen in the Dermis.  Collagen and Elastin are supported in the Dermis in a gel like substance called GAGS (abbreviated for glycosaminosglycans. Fibroblasts (my FAVOURITE cell ) is also found in the Dermis. It produces more collagen and elastin - now you know why I like it so much.

Lets look at the 2 types of ageing:

1) Intrinsic Ageing:
  •  Genetics - these are the genes that we were born with, these dictate our hair, skin and eye colour and all things that make us an individual. Telomeres are small bits of DNA that coat our chromosome tips and play a massive role in the ageing process.
  • Telomeres shortening has a correlation to our cellular clock that determines the number of times a cell divides. This has been linked to controlling the ageing of our cells. After around 80 cell divisions our telomeres become short and our cells stop dividing; they enter a state where the cells are alive but they are distorted in function and form. So it is the progressive shortening of our Telomeres that may be a cause of ageing. 
  • Telomerase is the enzyme that comes around and repairs shortened Telomeres. Great News! It can restore our shortened Telomeres back to good function and form. It may not reverse ageing that you have incurred throughout the 'damaged Telomeres' time though. We stop making Telomerase at diiferent times throughout our lives to other people. It all depends on our genetic blueprint. 
  • The secret to cell immortality would be to extend the life our our existing telomeres and produce LOTS of Telomerase. Ahhh if it was only that easy! No such product or treatment for this as of yet. But I am keeping my eyes and ears out for this and you will be the first to know. 
Extrinsic Ageing:

  • Exposure to UV Radiation - the sun and sun beds. This breaks down collagen and elastin fibres as well as destroying Vitamin C within your skin. Vitamin C is light sensitive and oxidizes with exposure releasing free radicals. For collagen to form .... guess what it needs?!! VITAMIN C. Vitamin A receptors (I liken receptors to suction cups on your cell walls) are inactivated with UV exposure as well, meaning your cells no longer "recognise" Vitamin A within the skin. We need Vitamin A so our cells replicate and replicate healthy cells. UV also produces Collagenase/Elastase which break down collagen and elastin fibres.
  • Free Radicals cause DNA damage to your cells.
  • Diet - A diet rich in raw foods, fibre, and a balanced diet will benefit your skin the most, providing it with the essential daily nutrients that it needs for cell division, strength and cell immunity. Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) play a critical role in maintaining cellular health and cell membrane and should be a part of every ones diet. Fat free diets will reduce your EFA intake so be aware of this.
  • Lifestyle - Smoking/high coffee/tea intake will not support the health of your cells and their function at all. Combine this with low water intake and the situation is amplified. 

I advise my clients to:
  • Have a balanced lifestyle. 
  • Make sure you are kind to your body, get enough sleep, take up stress reducing techiniques like yoga, meditation, retreats, weekends away from work, allow for some quiet time even if its only 10 minutes a day, really helps your body to be in a more balanced state. 
  • Drink lots of water - not to hydrate the skin, but to help your body flush toxins in a timely manner.
  • Take supplements if required - you can see a naturopath, get a live blood analysis, blood test from your GP etc to see if you require any supplements. For a busy, stressed person I do recommend Vitamin B as it helps support your system. Also, fish oil/salmon oil are a great source of EFA that you can include into your diet. If you eat oily fish everyday, then you may not to need an EFA supplement. 
  • Get a Skin Diagnosis from your Aesthetician. make sure they use a diagnostic tool such as a woods lamp to analyze your skin. There are some more fancy diagnostic tools our there, as long as they use something then you know you are getting the best advise possible. This Diagnostic Tool will show dehydration, oil flow, accumulation of dead skin, milia, pigmentation, EFA deficiency, general health of the skin. Upon diagnosis of your Skin Health, your Aesthetician will recommend a home care program for you to undertake. This is not for the sake of a sale, it is a recommendation based on what we have noted from your diagnosis what your skin needs on a daily basis to reach your ultimate skin health and appearance. 
  • Mineral Makeup is a MUST. Your skin doesn't like chemically laden concealers, foundations and powders. It hates it, it cannot breath, it receives no nutritional benefit what so ever. 100% mineral makeup like Jane Iredale, Bare Minerals,  and Young Blood are designed to not irritate your skin, they are designed to give you  a beautiful cover, without suffocating your skin and they have the most amazing ranges of colours to choose from. 
Happy Skin Days

Sarah Wilkinson

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