Skin cells, like all healthy cells, are rich in oxygen. When exposed to the sun, high-energy rays collide with the skin. The collision, akin to a bowling ball hitting pins, causes the formation of free radicals. Combine that with toxin build-up and you learn why wrinkles form as we age. As a chemist studying this process, Shane Ellison, MS, discovered three products that can curb the formation of wrinkles and help skin look vibrantly young.
By now, most of us know that antioxidants help quench free radicals. But if antioxidants are not plentiful, skin cell undergoes oxidative stress, or “oxygen shock,” especially among the eye-region where mechanical stress ensues due to squinting, sleeping, and blinking. Without antioxidants, free radicals attack the main structural component of skin known as collagen. This is bad news for anyone who values healthy looking skin.
When collagen is damaged, a phenomenon known as cross-linking (a fancy name for wrinkling) occurs. Instead of sliding smoothly across each other, collagen molecules that succumb to oxygen shock get jammed together, making your skin rigid and immobile. What was once smooth and supple can become like a cracked, desert floor—adding age to your features. The key is to protect collagen.
The Antioxidant that Helps Erase Wrinkles
Alpha-Lipoic acid, or ALA, is a natural and safe alternative to pricey and potentially dangerous procedures like face-lifts. If you don’t have ALA in your diet, wrinkles come on like gangbusters. But when you add ALA to your diet, it activates an anti-wrinkle agent within your skin cells known as AP-1. Working in unison, AP-1 and ALA promote the digestion of damaged, wrinkle-inducing collagen that may form due to free radical damage.
In sharp contrast, if we deprive our bodies of ALA, AP-1 increases oxygen shock within the skin cells, which, makes them produce collagen-damaging and micro-scarring enzymes! Hence, as a preventive measure, ALA works within the skin cells to keep them from undergoing oxygen shock and collagen damage. As outlined in my book, Over-The-Counter Natural Cures, The best natural sources of ALA are spinach, broccoli, and beef.
Algae That Protects Skin
Carotenoids are a family of nutrients that protect plants and animals from excess sunshine. Just like melanin (our naturally produced sun block), they are colorful molecules which penetrate the skin to act as a collagen shield, protecting cells from free radical formation.
Leading sources of carotenoids are eggs, spirulina, chlorella, dark green leafy vegetables (kale, collards and spinach), yellow-orange fruits and vegetables (apricots, cantaloupe, carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and squash). The recommended daily intake of carotenoids can be achieved by consuming 100-200 grams per day of the above vegetables and fruits.
The most potent of carotenoids is a red pigment found in algae, salmon, trout, shrimp and lobsters. It is known as astaxanthin. Once ingested by humans, astaxanthin is 1000 times more effective at protecting skin from UV damage compared to other carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein!
Toxin Build Up
Sunshine isn’t the only damaging agent that can attack skin. Toxins are a threat too. Like oxygen shock, each one of them shatters collagen. The most common toxins include mercury, lead acetate, petroleum distillates, ethylacrylate, polyethylene glycol, and dibutyl phthalate. Whether they are inhaled, sprayed, or slathered on your skin via perfumes, make-up and skin-care products, these collagen twisters age your skin prematurely.
In an attempt to fight back, the body produces a cellular cleaning lady known as glutathione. Once made internally, she attaches to toxins, makes them water soluble, and then escorts them out of the skin and into the toilet. The biological cleaning lady doesn’t appear in the skin out of thin air. Glutathione production is dependent on the intake of milk thistle, a popular nutritional supplement. Once ingested, it activates the production of glutathione and also protects its function. Heavy detox follows, helping the skin become clear of the numerous environmental toxins that exist. Your collagen is preserved, and premature wrinkling thwarted.
As science uncovers the process of wrinkle formation, it also highlights ways of slowing it. Minimizing sun exposure and working with the body to shunt oxygen shock as well as toxin exposure is sure to keep skin looking vibrantly young through the years.
About the Author
It’s not easy keeping up with health trends. That’s where Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison, MS can help. An award winning chemist and author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures, he teaches people how to take charge of their health with 10 lifesaving supplements for under $10. Get a free chapter at http://www.thepeopleschemist.com.