Natural Ways to Maintain Healthy Glowing Skin
You may be surprised to know that our skin is the largest organ in the body comprising 15% of the body weight. In addition to providing protection, regulating body temperature, and excreting toxins, it also uses sunlight to produce the important nutrient – vitamin D. Healthy looking skin results from a good supply of oxygenated blood and optimum collagen content. Changes in its appearance tell a lot about our internal health as various nutritional deficiencies, an unhealthy lifestyle, digestive, liver, and kidney issues, hormonal imbalances, inflammatory diseases, allergies, and autoimmune disturbances are visible on the skin. Therefore, skin health is essential for our overall well-being.
The outermost and thinnest layer of the skin called epidermis undergoes the fastest changes and is replaced almost every month. Its suboptimal regeneration which accelerates skin aging is facilitated by a polluted environment and unhealthy lifestyle, but also by deficiency of micronutrients such as vitamin C, proline, lysine, and others. Dermis, the thicker middle skin layer, contains blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and sweat glands. Below it is the hypodermis, the innermost layer containing collagen and elastin to give skin its flexibility and strength.
Vitamin C plays a critical role in the skin as it is required for the synthesis of collagen molecules. Without adequate vitamin C, the body cannot produce enough collagen to maintain healthy skin, leading to sagging, wrinkled skin. This vitamin together with vitamins A and E protects skin cells against free radicals and promotes repair of the damage caused by UV rays as well as harmful chemicals. Vitamin C also helps to regulate hormone levels and reduce inflammation which may benefit in hormonal acne, also reducing the risk of scarring from acne and promoting wound healing. Among its many health benefits vitamin C can reduce melanin production, which causes age spots and discoloration, and thus helps to even out and brighten the skin tone. Women are more prone to collagen loss and related skin issues due to hormonal changes throughout their lives. Declining estrogen levels during menopause result in lower collagen production which leads to loss of skin elasticity and discoloration (melasma). Therefore, supplementing with vitamin C in combination with the amino acids lysine, and proline can benefit the skin by producing healthy and strong collagen fibers and reducing the effects of collagen loss.
While vitamin C has such a critical role in our body, it is not produced in humans and must be supplemented. Most vitamin C supplements you find on the market contain only a single form of vitamin C, ascorbic acid, which is water soluble and fairly quickly excreted from the body. A unique form of vitamin C - ascorbyl palmitate – is fat-soluble and better absorbed by the cells than ascorbic acid alone. Cell membranes enriched with ascorbyl palmitate are more resistant to oxidative damage and are better protected against diseases and aging.
Healthy skin also needs optimum water content (hydration). Natural compounds, glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid present in the skin attract water molecules and help in hydration. A combination of hyaluronic acid with vitamin C and MSM can further boost collagen formation and skin elasticity. Various plant components such as jojoba oil, aloe vera, geranium, and dandelion extracts also help in hydrating the skin, increasing blood supply and strengthening the skin immune barrier. These extracts also have anti-inflammatory and antihistamine effects thus reducing itching and other allergic skin conditions. They can be topically applied to the skin.
Healthy looking skin will benefit from daily supplementation with synergistically formulated vitamin C, other micronutrients, and plant extracts. These can make a significant difference in protecting the skin - the largest organ in our body!