Category: anti-aging

Best Inexpensive Vitamin C Serum

Best Inexpensive Vitamin C Serum For Glowing and Youthful Skin

When we are young we don’t pay too much attention to our skin because it’s generally quite flawless, plump and blemish free. As we enter our teen years, damage starts to accumulate, we start getting acne; and if that wasn’t bad enough, signs of sun damage starts to show with the development of fine lines, hyperpigmentation and other skin abnormalities.

vitamin c serum citrus fruitFortunately good skincare on the cheap is possible as there are many really good products to choose from that can be almost as effective as the high end products. The best inexpensive vitamin C serum I’ve come across is a Korean skincare product that is almost a copy of the more expensive and award winning Skinceuticals CE + Ferulic Acid which costs an arm and a leg! And possibly a Kidney. A 30 ml bottle does last about 6 months when stored in the refrigerator, so that’s good.

My friends ask me which skincare products I use, and I tell them I use products by Skinceuticals. The question I get asked a lot is: are there any cheaper alternatives?

For people on a budget, or perhaps want to use Vitamin C serum on other parts of the body and not just the face, using a more inexpensive serum could be a good choice. I personally use my Skinceuticals CE+Ferulic or Skinceuticals CF+Phloretin on my face (both contain L-Ascorbic acid at 15 and 10%), and use the Korean Vitamin C serum on my neck, hands and other areas. I’ve used vitamin C Serums for over 8 years, and I could never do without them because they make a big difference in how my skin looks and feels.

The difference with the Korean Skincare product is that it uses sodium ascorbyl phosphate which is a stabalised form of Vitamin C.

Skinceuticals products such as CE+Ferulic and CE+Phloretin use L-Ascorbic Acid and are clinically proven in studies showing that they are safe and effective.

Let me be clear: you get what you pay for. And when it comes to using products on my face, I’d rather not go cheap. I believe Skinceuticals sell the best Vitamin C serums and have the studies to back them up. But they are expensive and not everyone is willing to pay that much.

Skinceuticals also have other cheaper options like: AOX 10%, 15%, and 20% serums, but don’t have the other ingredients that are synergistic with the vitamin C which makes it more powerful.

Rather than recommending copies of CE+Ferulic with L-Ascorbic Acid (AA) as the active ingredient, and possibly causing irritation, inflammation and damage from poorly formulated serums, I thought I’d recommend a cheaper alternatively but with a stabalised form of Vitamin C.

So now I know you were looking for a cheap Vitamin C serum, and here I am telling you why you should go with the other option, but if you’re not convinced and still want to give the cheaper version a try – which has great reviews by the way – let’s move on to why you should include a vitamin C serum as part of your regular skincare routine.

Why Use A Vitamin C Serum?

Collagen is what keeps everything together! It is the foundation or matrix that keep holds the structure of the skin keeping it youthful. It provides firmness to the skin, which is gradually lost over decades of sun exposure, stress, and other insults from the environment. Vitamin C has been clinically proven to boost collagen synthesis for more younger looking skin even at just 5% concentration.

Vitamin C serums can be used as both a corrective and preventative treatment. Not only does it improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can also help lighten hyperpigmentation and red marks, as well as improve skin tone overall. Vitamin C, unlike Retinoids is not harsh and there are little to no side effects.

Benefits of using Vitamin C serum include:

  • Increased protection from sun damage
  • Increased collagen synthesis
  • Reduces redness, inflammation and common skin complaints such as acne
  • Improves the healing capacity of the skin

Main ingredients of Seoul Ceuticals Korean Skin Care

Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E and Ferulic acid.

Commonly Asked Questions About Vitamin C Serums

Below are some of the questions that I get when asked about the effects of using Vitamin C serums.

Can Vitamin c serum burn skin?

When applying Vitamin c serum in the form of L-ascorbic acid, you might notice a slight stinging sensation. This is completely normal and after a few applications the effect usually goes away. This product contains sodium ascorbyl phosphate and so it is more gentle on the skin.

Does Vitamin C serum lighten skin?

vitamin C is known to inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase, therefore it has the potential to lighten skin tone and lighten freckles and other marks on the skin.

Best time to use Vitamin C serum?

Once you apply vitamin C it is absorbed and is effective for as many as three days. It acts as an antioxidant in the skin and mops up free radical damage, inhibits inflammation and increases collagen synthesis. It also acts as a mild sunscreen by itself, but is usually more effective when combined with other ingredients such as: vitamin E and Ferulic Acid which the Seoul Ceuticals Korean Skin Care product contains.

Most people prefer to use Vitamin C serum in the morning after washing.

Does Vitamin C serum help acne?

Vitamin C serum can improve the healing time of acne marks as well as prevent acne from forming.

How long does it take for vitamin C serum to show good results?

You should give it at least 12 weeks to see significant improvements. Some people notice a glow the first time they use a Vitamin C serum, and this can appear just days after using it.

How To Use Vitamin C Serum On Face

To make vitamin C serum more effective you want to make sure that you wash your face and exfoliate occasionally to remove dead skin. You want to go from using the lightest product first, to the heaviest and thickest.

So after you clean your face with your cleanser, you should then use the dropper and use just one small drop for each part of the face and rub in gently.  Wait until the product dries and then use a sunscreen for added photoprotection. The best results will be seen when you are also using sunscreen.

See the current price and reviews on Amazon for Seoul Ceuticals Korean Vitamin C Serum

Aside from making your own Vitamin C serum, this is the best inexpensive Vitamin C serums that I’ve found. Give it a go and share your feedback!

See also:

References

1 The role of vitamin C in pushing back the boundaries of skin aging: an ultrasonographic approach

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562654/

2 Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11896774

3. Vitamin C in dermatology

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673383/

4. Sodium ascorbyl phosphate shows in vitro and in vivo efficacy in the prevention and treatment of acne vulgaris.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18492184

5. Ferulic acid stabilizes a solution of vitamins C and E and doubles its photoprotection of skin.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16185284

6. Protective effects of a topical antioxidant mixture containing vitamin C, ferulic acid, and phloretin against ultraviolet-induced photodamage in human skin.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19146606

7. A topical antioxidant solution containing vitamins C and E stabilized by ferulic acid provides protection for human skin against damage caused by ultraviolet irradiation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18603326

Looking Younger Than Your Age

Are you looking younger than your age?

I’ve always believed that there is benefits to be gained from starting an ‘anti-ageing’ diet or ‘programme’ from an early age. I wouldn’t recommend calorie restriction before age 20, but eating healthily from a young age is important. It never made sense to me to start eating healthily and looking after yourself when the damage has already accumulated, and is visible on the outside.

It’s often thought that the appearance reflects what is going on inside the body – so if someone looks quite healthy on the outside, there’s a good chance that the person is healthy on the inside as well. This of course may not always be true, but more often that not, it probably is a good indicator of health and perhaps even how long a person might have left.

In a recent study researchers took about 1000 people and looked at their biological age over a period of 12 years – starting from age 26 – and tracked changes in 18 biomarkers across chronological ages: 26 years, 32 years, and 38 years to determine the pace of ageing among the individuals. They looked at their metabolism, mental abilities, telomeres, and others biomarkers associated with organ function, and found that most people’s biological age matched closely with their chronological age, but a few aged more slowly (or not at all), while others aged much faster than normal.

As you can see, most people’s biological age closely matched their chronological age (38), but there were a few outliers.

biological age

Quantification of biological aging in young adults http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/07/01/1506264112

What’s more is that their internal health as measured by these tests reflected how old they looked on the outside. People who had younger biological health also appeared to look much younger than their age. And those who had worse results tended to look older than their chronological age. That in itself shouldn’t be much of a surprise, actually. But then again, seeing such dramatic differences even at a young age does show us that we need to take action early in life to have the biggest impact in staying young.

It’s assumed that we are optimized and functioning at peak performance in being able to deal with the day-to-day damage when we are young; and that good or bad lifestyle choices wouldn’t really affect the rate of ageing all that much, but this is wrong. Although the body can tolerate a lot at say, 25, it’s by no means immune from the damaging effects of bad lifestyle choices; whether it be junk food, smoking, too much alcohol, lack of sleep or whatever. The study also suggests that there might be room for improvement, and that we can make our cells and body more resistant to damage even in our 20s and see dramatic results if we maintain a good lifestyle.

As we get older, the risk of disease grows exponentially and we notice the effects of ageing come more rapidly, especially after the age of 60. It could be argued that the greatest impact from diet would only apply at middle age, but the study above refutes that idea. Anecdotally I can say that I know people who have looked after themselves when they were younger and are now benefiting from it. They look young and are generally much healthier than most people for their age. Starting a healthy lifestyle early in life means you get to enjoy more of your youthful period of life and also extend middle age period too.

Inspiration from people who are looking younger than their age

I know of two people who are really impressive when it comes to looking younger: Masako Mizutani who is now around 47 years old and looks in her late 20s to 30; and also my friend Paul who is 46.5 years old but still genuinely looks around 25 years old. It’s incredible… and hard to believe! But they look amazing. And I know that it’s not all about how young a person looks, but it does help, because it reinforces and validates the healthy choices you’ve been making.

Do you know anyone who looks very young for their age? And do you think your diet has slowed down ageing for you?

People age at wildly different rates, study finds (CBS MORNING SHOW)

 

Have you been on a healthy diet for a long time? if so, do people say you look younger than your age?

I’m really interested in hearing from people who’ve been eating either a raw food diet, on calorie restriction, or maybe just eating healthily for decades, and hearing if they get comments from people saying they look younger than their age. Sometimes it can be genetic, but I really believe that people who live healthy lifestyles can sometimes look decades younger, and it’s not always down to genes.

 

If you want to know what foods can improve your skin and slow the apperance of ageing, read How To Look Younger

A Calorie Restriction Diet is NOT a Starvation Diet

What is a Calorie Restriction Diet?

When you hear someone utter the words “calorie restriction”, you might feel as if this involves starving yourself day after day and forgoing all of the foods that you really enjoy. This couldn’t be further from the truth in my experience. When you practice a calorie restriction diet you must include a wide range of foods in your diet so that you meet all the nutrient requirements that you body needs to thrive. It’s not simply about just eating less of everything, but it’s about eating more quality foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, which will naturally lead to you consuming fewer calories overall. In fact, many people that start calorie restriction quickly realize that they find it hard to consume enough calories and some end up losing more weight than they thought they would.

A calorie restriction diet is about providing your body with the best nutrients so that you can live your life to its full potential. You know, the body adapts in various ways depending on the environment we live in and how we live our lives. So while it may not be the best idea to embark on a calorie restriction plan if you are a marathon runner, rock climber, or serious martial artist, but calorie restriction can be good for the vast majority of people who live more sedentary lifestyle or only exercise moderately to keep themselves fit and in shape.

In some places like Japan, it’s not uncommon to see skinny people everywhere. It’s normal that people have portion sizes that are much smaller than people in the west. In the west, people consume way too much food and this is why we see the obesity crisis. It’s not enough to try and exercise away that burger or fries. Health first starts with what you put in your body; it really is the most important thing and it’s where we must focus most of our efforts if we want to be healthy.

Jack Lalanne “What you eat today, you will wear tomorrow!”

Remember, everything you put into your body determines how you feel and look. We are complex and resilient machines that can really take a lot of insults and damage before we notice the physical effects of a bad diet. Heart attacks don’t just appear suddenly, but the damage gradually builds up over time.  And then sometimes we can quickly see the effects of bad dietary choices because they show up on our waistlines, skin, hair, teeth etc. Every choice you make can make a difference.

Calorie restriction is about making the best choices and packing the most nutrition into our diets. When you do this the results will come! You lose weight, have more energy, and start to look healthier. A common mistake when starting the diet will be as I mentioned above: people eat too little and feel tired all of the time. This diet is not about eating a a lettuce leaf, a carrot stick, and a celery stick for dinner. On a calorie restriction diet you can have a lot of food! On an average day when I first started this diet, it was normal for me to consume around 5 lbs of vegetables and fruits every day! Not even any of my friends or family go through this amount of food.

Don’t eat too little; but also don’t eat too much!

I’ve seen many posts by well-known Youtubers who are recommending 30 Bananas a day and unlimited amount of calories. It all looks good on the surface and it’s what some people want to hear isn’t it?  Unlimited calories and be able to stay lean with no short term or long term negative effects? Well, I’m sorry to say, but I believe this is wrong. Everything we know about nutrition, health and longevity says that calories do matter. Excessive intake of sugar is detrimental to health in the long run. It’s such a convenient idea to live off of bananas because they taste great and are quite cheap to buy. And although they may be able to provide all of the nutrients we need if we consume a lot of them, they still miss out on lots of valuable nutrients in the diet that are only found in vegetables and other fruits. Eating 30 Bananas a day is probably one of the worst diets out there at the moment. Perhaps it’s better than eating an all meat diet, but it’s misguided on the notion that just because the proponents of this diet are skinny, it must therefore be healthy. It’s simply wrong.

They also equate doing calorie restriction with a messed up metabolism. Again, this is not the true! We do calorie restriction and show extremely good metabolic health. The studies are there to back us up too. I feel that they are either unaware of them or are being ignorant to promote their lifestyle.

So, I’m not totally against fruits! I actually eat many different types of fruits every day… but the vast majority of my calories come from vegetables, olive oil, and legumes, and maybe some wholegrain foods. Calorie restriction is not about starving yourself as I’ve already said. It’s not about trying to get really thin either. It’s first and foremost about health. Longevity to many people on this diet is simply a bonus. If people doing calorie restriction for the last 20 years or more felt bad, they would not still be doing it. If on the other hand you are feeling bad, then maybe you really do need to eat a bit more food. Maybe you need to focus on your nutrition more and make sure you are getting everything. Look at your diet using CRON-O-Meter and track it to see what you fall short on or perhaps are getting too much of.

For me CR is simply a tool that I use to enable me to live long enough to benefit from the advances in science and technology to extend lifespan. If calorie restriction was not working for me and my blood work was off and I felt horrible, I would simply change what it is that I was doing – even if that meant upping my calorie intake or changing various parts of my diet. Practicing calorie restriction has improved my health in numerous ways and over the years – I’ve learned so much about nutrition and health. I’ve also significantly broadened my diet! I eat so many different foods now compared to when I was eating a standard diet. And the best part is that I really enjoy the foods I eat, so it is easy to stick to.

We cannot afford to be delusional and develop biases that lead us to make bad decisions. We must think rationally and act accordingly to new information. We must be open minded, use our intuition, experiences, and also use science to guide our decisions.

Calorie restriction is not a starvation diet. Starvation typically leads to ill health, frailty, and death. Calorie restriction leads to a much healthier and much longer life. It’s backed up by 80 years of good studies and thousands of experiments. The diet works to slow ageing and improve health in every species tested. As long as you’re sensible and take the right approach, the diet can work for you. You will add years onto your life. Not bad years, but very good years. You will also feel and look younger for longer. And since it’s not “all or nothing” either! Even milder forms of CR offers some protection against disease and lengthens life.

How To Lighten Pimple Marks Quickly

Review of Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector For Red Acne Marks and Hyperpigmentation

Over the years I have been looking desperately for something that didn’t irritate my skin and also removed some of the marks I had from having acne. Acne marks and hyperpigmentation can take a serious amount of time to go away, and if you’re like me and want to speed up the process, you’re probably on what feels like an endless journey to find out how to lighten pimple marks quickly so you don’t have to always be conscious about the marks on your face. Having fair skin also just makes it so much worse!

I received a couple samples of Advanced Pigment Corrector by Skinceuticals and since I never had a negative reaction to the product, I decided to go ahead and purchase it. I’m normally quite cautious on what products I add to my skincare regimen, but this seemed to be a fine addition! The ingredients of Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector are:

  • Salicylic Acid – This ingredient helps exfoliate the skin and fades the dark spots that you already have and also clear the the dead skin cells so other products and ingredients can penetrate and work better
  • Hydroxyphenoxy Propionic Acid – This ingredients prevents the transfer of melanin. Melanin is what causes the skin to become pigmented. Studies on this ingredient have shown it to be equivalent to 2% Kojic Acid for removing hyperpigmentation
  • Vitamin E –  Anti-inflammatory and moisturizing
  • Ellagic Acid – This helps reduce dark spots and discolorations of the skin
  • Yeast Extract – Helps the skin in stopping future discoloration

Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector

Applying Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector

The product is white and has a very nice smell and good a good consistency to it. I use the advanced pigment corrector after applying CF + Phloretin product, because it’s thicker and the thickest product should be applied last

What is good about the product?

  • The smell is really nice
  • A little goes a long way
  • It doesn’t irritate my skin and doesn’t cause any breakouts
  • It contains yeast extract, which few other skincare products contain. This is good for skin immunity, collagen and inhibiting melanin
  • You don’t need to use forever, you can use it to treat the problem and then just continue to use your regular products only

What is bad about the product?

  • The price is quite expensive
  • Results can take a long time. It took me about 12 weeks before I started to notice a difference, but one year before I had noticed significant changes in how my skin looked. However, since each tube of advanced pigment corrector lasts 6 months, you will see a lot of benefit from it within that time period.

Who should purchase this skin care product?

Advanced pigment corrector is a great product that you can add to your existing skincare regimen if you have any issues with any of the following:

  • Uneven skin tone
  • Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne
  • Sun spots
  • Any other discoloration of the skin
  • If you want to lighten your skin

Why did I use the product?

I had acne many years ago and was left with plenty of battle marks – lots of them. For the most part, they went away after adopting a healthy lifestyle, but some stayed and have taken a long time to go away.

In fact, whenever I get a breakout, for whatever reasons, like maybe I’m not sleeping properly… If I get a spot, sometimes it will leave a mark and last for ages. The great thing about this product is that it dramatically speeds up the time that it disappears.

Where to buy Skinceuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector?

Skinceuticals.com sell their products directly from their website, but it tends to be more expensive. Skinceuticals were also acquired by l’oreal, one of the leading brands in skincare. Skinceutical products tend to be used by dermatologists, and so you will find them mostly in dermatology clinics because their product range is quite effective and are also supporting by scientific studies.

Click here to see the reviews for Advanced Pigment Corrector

I highly recommend the product if you currently have any skin discolourations that are quite stubborn and are not going away. And for those who don’t wish to try harsher treatments on the skin. I still continue to use the product for over a year and a half now, and will likely continue to use it along with CF+Phloretin.

Skin Care

SKIN CARE

Yesterday I received my order for my favourite skin product, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic acid. I’ve been using it since around 2009, and it was one of the few products that which totally agreed with my sensitive skin. Most of the products I’ve bought in the past were always causing issues, especially clogging my pores and causing breakouts. This however produced no negative effects, only positive ones, like clearing up my complexion and removing much of the hyperpigmentation I had left over when I had acne a long time ago. I only use it once a day after cleaning in the morning, and it moisturises fairly well because it has vitamin E there. Vitamin C is the active ingredient which significantly boosts collagen production and also protects against free radical damage. The Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid – which are both natural ingredients – work synergistically with the vitamin C to produce even greater results

Benefits of Skinceuticals CE Ferulic
  • Provides 8 x photoprotection
  • Reduces sunburn cell formation by 96% 
  • Prevents formation of thymine dimers; these are DNA mutation that case skin cancer

So as I said above, my order came, but this time I had received a free sample of another product caused Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. Normally, I’m very reluctant to try out new skin products because of my bad experiences in the past. But since I had this for free, and there are no obvious ingredients in there that should cause an issue, I decided to try it. Okay, so it’s only my second day! But the moment I put it on, my skin felt baby soft! I went online and did a bit of research, and apparently B5 is good for acne sufferers. And the hyaluronic acid acid which is naturally produced by the body anyway, gives plenty of moisture to the surface of the skin. I can definitely feel a difference already. It’s not like I even went from dry skin to moisturised skin either. My skin was pretty good before! Skinceuticals actually recommends that these two products be used together. So, we shall see if I end up adding this to my skin care regimen . . . But it’s looking likely that I might, because I already love how it feels and looks. Another benefit I’ve read is that it helps give the appearance of smaller pores. I usually like to wait about 4 – 12 weeks before commenting on a new product, but I saw pretty instant results, so I thought I’d share my initial thoughts with you.

I’ve been using all kinds of skin products since I was 16 years old. In order to stay young looking for longer, I believe the best results come when you combine skin care and a good with sensible sun exposure. We have to nourish our skin from within, but never forget to protect your skin from the outside where it is exposed to the environment. A low calorie diet can only do so much in slowing down ageing. I would be nice to not only feel young on the inside, but also look the part too!You can buy the product I use, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic below. The product lasts about 6 – 7 months, so when you work out the cost per month, it’s not too bad. Also, remember to store in the fridge as this will reduce the rate of oxidation of the vitamin C. You want to make sure the product maintains a champagne colour and doesn’t go yellow to be effective

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What To Eat To Look Younger Than Your Age

What Healthy Foods Make You Look Younger Than Your Age?

Everyone wishes to have clear, smooth beautiful skin. Some people seem to have great skin no matter what they do, while others struggle and use countless products just to keep it looking good. Healthy foods can make you look younger by providing nutrients to the skin, lowering inflammation, and increasing blood flow and oxygenation to the tissues. In this article I will share with you what to eat to look younger than your age.

The foundation of healthy skin is in the diet: primarily you want to focus on plant foods whether it is fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. It’s not hard to look 10 years younger than your age if you take care of yourself. The longer you look after your body and skin, the the longer you will stay looking young.

Best Natural Foods and Drinks For Looking Younger 


sweet-potatoes-1310287_1280Sweet potatoes
are commonly consumed in some parts of the world such as Asia. They are especially popular in Okinawa. In the west, white potatoes are usually a staple of the diet; unfortunately white potatoes have a high glycemic index and a poor nutritional profile. Adding sweet potatoes to your diet would give you significant benefits and boost up the nutritional content of your diet considerably. Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which is converted by the body to retinal (vitamin A).

Beta-carotene also acts as a powerful antioxidant against the singlet reactive oxygen species which can provoke cellular damage to proteins and lipids in the body. Plants produce these carotenoids to neutralize the production of ROS from ultraviolet light. Consuming sweet potatoes will give you enough beta-carotene so that it immediately gets to work in quenching free radicals and will be stored within fat cells in your skin – so to give you some protection against ultraviolet light damage (1). 100 grams of sweet potato will give you approximately 9444 μg of beta-carotene is one of the richest sources of this Vitamin A precursor. Kale and Carrots are two other vegetables that offer significant amounts of beta-carotene.

The sweet potato is also high in Vitamins B5, B6, and Vitamin C. Eating sweet potatoes may cause the skin to change colour if your body becomes saturated. This is completely harmless and is nothing to worry about. It is known as carotenemia and will go away once consumption is reduced. Moderate consumption of carotenoid-rich foods will give you a healthier looking complexion – and protect you from the harmful effects of the sun.

Tomatomatoes-1280859_1280toes are the world’s most popular fruit and is used in many dishes. Tomatoes can be eaten raw or cooked – they are delicious either way. Tomatoes also happen to be very good for our health because of a compound known as lycopene that is found in their skin. Lycopene belongs to the carotenoid family – but unlike beta carotene, it cannot be converted to vitamin A. Once lycopene has been absorbed it is then transported by lipoproteins and accumulates in various organs where it can offer protection from oxidative stress. Lycopene is stored in fat cells and can quench twice as many singlet oxygen molecules than beta-carotene. Lycopene is also transported to the skin – giving you increased protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

In one study researchers recruited 20 people and looked at the effect of giving 50 g of tomato paste with 10g of olive oil to participants and compared them with a group who had just received olive oil. In the study, participants were exposed to UV light and th researchers looked at the protection gained from tomato paste consumption. It turned out that those who were fed the tomato paste had a 33% increase in protection against sunburn (2). They also saw an increase in skin procollagen, which is a precursor to collagen. In a separate study the concentration of lycopene in the skin was also correlated with skin smoothness (3).

Lycopene is more bioavailable when tomatoes have been cooked or processed – therefore I recommend cooking them or using tomato based products such as: ketchup, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and salsa. It’s also very important that they are consumed with some type of fat. Olive oil would be fine, but you can also use avocado to enhance absorption significantly. By adding a fruit such as avocado you will also increase the carotenoid content of your meal as avocado itself is rich in alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, among others (4). Apart from tomatoes being an excellent source of lycopene, they are also high in beta-carotene, Vitamins C and K. They also contain a high amount of potassium.

Avocados areavocado-161822_1280 relatively high in calories because of their very high fat content. In fact, 75% of the calories in avocado is from fat; primarily healthy fats like oleic acid, which is a monounsaturated fat. Avocados are pact full of nutrients and contain many beneficial compounds beneficial to the skin like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein. Just one avocado contains approximately 160 mg of alpha-linolenic acid, which is beneficial in reducing inflammation.

By consuming alpha-linolenic acid  (or applying directly to the skin) you can change the fatty acid composition of the skin. This has been shown to increase the turnover of the stratum corneum, and thus speed up the removal of sun-induced hyperpigmenation of the skin by suppressing further melanin production and because of an enhanced removal of melanin pigment from the epidermis (4). Higher intake of omega 3 fatty acids have also been linked to less photoaging (6).

Avocados can be added to salads, smoothies, spread onto wholemeal bread, or even eaten on their own. They are high in Folate, B5, B6, Vitamin C, K, and also contain a respectable amount of potassium. They also supply you with almost 40% of your recommended daily fiber intake. Make sure you consider adding this fruit as one of your dietary staples.

green-tea

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world and comes in many different varieties. Green tea is certainly one of the most researched because of the reported health benefits from epidemiological studies – which suggested green tea was associated with lower risk of various diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some cancers. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is the main catechin that is thought to be responsible for these health benefits. Animal and human studies show that green tea can reduce UV-related damage to the skin and immunosuppression (7).

In a small pilot study that lasted 8 weeks, volunteers were given sunscreen, 10% GTE Cream, and 300 mg (twice a day) Green Tea extract and then histological effects were reported. They noted that elastin content in the control group had decreased during the period of the study, whilst in the green tea group elastin was increased (figure 1). Due to the short period of the study, no clinical changes in the skins appearance were observed (8).

In a study published in 2009 researchers recruited 56 women aged 25 to 75, and randomized the groups. One group received 250 mg Green Tea Polyphenols (GTP) and the control group took a placebo – both groups were instructed to take these twice a day. They had an assessment at various points in the study, and the GTP group had significant improvements in the overall solar damage by 6 months and also they had improved in erythema and telangiectasias at 12 months. The placebo group did not experience these improvements at any point in the study.. At 24 months into the study the researchers were unable to note any significant differences between the GTP and control groups due to the  high dropout rate in the study.

A separate study that was reported in the journal of nutrition showed many clear benefits of green tea when they looked at 60 females aged 40–65 that were randomized into the intervention or control group. The intervention group received 1402 mg of total catechins per day in the form of a beverage, and the placebo group received a similar beverage that did not contain any catechins.

During the study, the researchers measured the level of Flavanols in the blood. They also looked at skin photoprotection, skin structure, and skin function. Measurements were taken at week 0, week 6, and week 12. Looking at measurements of flavinols in the blood, they were able to see if the groups were adhering to drinking the GT beverage. By 12 weeks were significant differences in blood concentrations of the main catechin (EGCG): GTE 345 ± 191** vs 33 ± 60* nmol/L for the controls indicating compliance (10).

In the GT group the mean Δa-values decreased 16 and 25% from baseline by 6 and 12 weeks. This indicates increased photoprotection in the intervention group. No changes observed in the control group.  Biological elasticity increased by 3.9% after 12 weeks in the GT group. Skin density significantly increased by 7.7% after 12 weeks, whilst skin thickness remained the same. The GT group also had reductions in skin roughness (−16%), volume (−20%), and scaling (−25%). Skin hydration also was increased by 9% in week 6 and 17% after 12 weeks. Transepidermal water loss had decreased by 12% compared with baseline which may indicate increased barrier protection of the skin in the GT group.  Furthermore, dermal blood flow increased 40% by week 6 and 29% by week 12, compared with baseline values. Oxygen saturation increased from ~30% at baseline to 40% by week 12. Blood flow and oxygen saturation remained the same for the control group.

In contrast with previous studies, this study of shorter duration was able to find significant improvements after just 12 weeks. This could indicate greater compliance or that consumption of green tea should be spread out throughout the day to observe the greatest benefit. Participants of future studies involving green tea extract or beverages should be instructed to not consume milk or any products that contain casein as it is able to block some of the benefits by green tea (11). There is some evidence that polyphenols have a high binding affinity for proteins such as caseins. For maximum benefits to be observed, a much longer study would need to be performed in order to see visible differences between groups.  I suggest that people drink upto 5 – 10 cups of green tea per day to get the most benefit. One animal study had shown that by adding piperine to green tea, the bioavailability of GT catechins was increased significantly (12).

Soy milk is made from soybeans-182294_960_720and is a complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids needed by the human body to be healthy. In several studies consumption of soy foods or soy extracts have been associated with improved skin in postmenopausal women. It’s believed the reason for this is because soy contains phytoestrogen compounds known as genistein and daidzein which are able to act on estrogen receptors in the body. However, these plant estrogen-like compounds are much weaker than estradiol. Gut flora are also able to convert daidezein into a isoflavandiol named equol which also has benefits to health, but only some people are able to do this conversion. The average annual consumption of soybeans in Japan is much higher and is thought to be one of the reasons why they have less breast, colon and prostate cancers (13).

In a pilot study conducted in 2009, researchers had shown that posmenopausal women taking 100mg/day concentrated soy extract for 6 months exhibited significant improvements in skin health. In the treatment group there was an increase in epidermal skin thickness by 9.46% and the amount of collagen was increased in 86.2% of the women. 75% of of them also saw an increase in elastic fibers. The number of blood vessels also had significantly increased (14).

Another double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to look at the effects of isolfavones on skin of middle-aged women. The intervention and placebo group were both assessed at various points in the study and measurements were taken on various skin parameters. The test group showed a significant improvement in fine wrinkles by week 12 and increased elasticity by week 8 (15).

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Chocolate, who doesn’t love it? Well, here is some good news! Cocoa is linked with improvement of skin health. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition showed that women who consumed cocoa powder for 12 weeks had an improvement in skin photoprotection, increased skin thickness,  increase blood flow to cutaneous and subcuaneous tissues; likely through the ability of cocoa to induce nitric oxide vasodilation (16-17). They also saw an increase in skin density, skin hydration, and a decrease in transepidermal water loss in the high flavonol group indicating improved skin barrier function. Both groups had received cocoa powder, but these benefits were only see in the high flavnol group. Look for a product that has more than 70% cocoa solids.

plant-1011492__180Kale is a green leafy vegetable and is part of the cruciferous family. It boasts an outstanding nutritional profile; and is probably of the most nutritious foods you can eat. It is very high in beta-carotene, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K. Kale is an excellent source for bioavailable calcium – just 1 cup will supply with almost 10% of your calcium needs. You will also get a significant amount of lutein (26.5 mg/ cup), which is very beneficial to the skin. It’s very easy to regularly consume this amount if you were to put it in a green smoothie. A study in 2007 showed that oral supplementation of lutein improved photoprotection by 2.5 times. They also saw a 56% increase in skin elasticity; and a 60% increase in skin hydration after 12 weeks. Skin lipid levels were increased by 46% and  lipid peroxidation was decreased by over 60% in the oral supplementation group (18). Regular consumption of Kale will give you enough luten see see the reported benefits. If you include Kale in your diet, make sure that you eat it with some fat as this increases absorption.

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Red Onion belongs to the Allium family and is an excellent source of quercetin. Quercetin is yellow pigmented compound called a flavonoid. It has a long half life in the body and has strong anti-inflammatory properties as well as acting as a good antioxidant, and antihistamine. Most quercetin in red onions can be found in the outermost skin layers. Apples also have a significant amount of quercetin content and have been found to be associated with less skin wrinkling (19). To get the most benefit from red onions it is best to eat them raw.

 

 

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Olive oil is high in Oleic acid, which is a monounasaturated fat. Olive oil contains numerous polyphenols, anthocyanidins, flavonols, flavonoids, and other compounds that are thought to be beneficial to health. Some of them have strong anti-inflammatory effects by blocking various proinflammatory molecules such TNF-a, IL1-b, and IL-6. Olive oil also inhibits two important enzymes COX-1 and COX-2, which are involved in the process of inflammation. Olive oil consumption has been linked a decreased severity of photo aging among men and women according to a study that was published in 2012 which found high olive oil intake was associated with lower risk of severe photoaging. Women had 31% lower risk and men had 42% lower risk (20). In the study they also looked at the association between skin aging and diary, meat, and processed meat. They found that there was no protective effect gained from monounsaturated fat derived from these sources. This most likely indicates that the beneficial effects of olive oil are due to the polyphenols it contains. When choosing olive oil, I recommend going for extra virgin olive oil. And remember, you get what you pay for. So it’s worth investing in a product of good quality.

 

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Calorie Restriction and Dietary Restriction(s) are also rather important when it comes to skin health and skin aging. You see, it’s not just about what you eat — what you don’t eat is very important also. Most people can improve their health simply by removing all the junk from their diet. This means removing cakes, biscuits, white bread, sweets, milk chocolate, fried foods, processed meats, soda, alcohol etc.

For people prone to acne, removing milk from the diet helps reduce IGF-1 and can improve the condition. Removing foods that are high in sugar – which cause spikes in insulin and glucose – could also be beneficial in preventing breakouts (22). You have to tip the balance in the body so that it is functioning in a more optimal way. This means eating mostly whole foods and limiting junk foods. If you do this, over time your body has the chance to rejuvenate and repair some of the damage that your previous lifestyle had caused you. The process can take months or even years; and the earlier you make a change, the better your results will be. So don’t wait around until it is too late.

Calorie restriction is able to modulate skin aging in rodents and possibly rhesus monkeys. Although there is no real evidence in humans currently, it is likely that this effect would be observed is us also. A study published in JAMA looked at the effects of calorie restriction on fischer 344 rats and the effect of calorie restriction on skin aging. In the study they found that calorie restriction prevents the increase in age-related skin thickness in the dermis and epidermis. They also saw an increase in nuclear density, a trend towards an increase in collagen, elastin, and capillaries in the skin of CR rats. In a separate study in rats, researchers found that calorie restriction reduces glycation of blood and tissue proteins and also reduces the accumulation of glycoxidation products in the skin (23). Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are what causes stiffening of blood vessels, macular degeneration, and loss of suppleness and elasticity of the skin.

It’s not hard to guess what to eat to look younger than your age. The answer is simple: stick to natural foods and avoid processed foods. Your mind and body will thank you in the end.

Other tips for good skin:

  • Always use sunblock – no amount of sun is good for your skin
  • Exfoliate – removes dead skin
  • Apply a moisturiser – helps prevent dryness and wrinkles
  • Use products that contain ascorbic acid (make sure it’s not oxidized) – boosts collagen synthesis
  • Take up exercise to increase blood circulation
  • Sleep well – one of the most important factors for looking good
  • Stress less – stress will age you
  • Don’t smoke
  • Enjoy your life and strive to be happy

I hope all these tips I’ve included here will be helpful to you. Until next time, take care!

See my 6 anti-aging foods and drinks in my previous posts:

http://www.crvitality.com/2011/03/super-foods/

http://www.crvitality.com/2011/03/super-foods-part-2/

References

1. Heinrich U, Gärtner C, Wiebusch M, Eichler O, Sies H, Tronnier H, Stahl W. Supplementation with beta-carotene or a similar amount of mixed carotenoids protects humans from UV-induced erythema. J Nutr. 2003 Jan;133(1):98-101. PMID: 12514275

2. Stahl W, Sies H. Carotenoids and protection against solar UV radiation. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002 Sep-Oct;15(5):291-6.  PMID: 12239422

3. Darvin M, Patzelt A, Gehse S, Schanzer S, Benderoth C, Sterry W, Lademann J. Cutaneous concentration of lycopene correlates significantly with the roughness of the skin. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 2008 Aug;69(3):943-7. PMID: 18411044

4. Unlu NZ, Bohn T, Clinton SK, Schwartz SJ. Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil. J Nutr. 2005 Mar;135(3):431-6. PMID: 15735074

5. Ando H, Ryu A, Hashimoto A, Oka M, Ichihashi M. Linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid lightens ultraviolet-induced hyperpigmentation of the skin. Arch Dermatol Res. 1998 Jul;290(7):375-81. PMID: 9749992

6. Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, Andreeva V, Galan P, Tschachler E, Hercberg S, Guinot C, Ezzedine K. Association between dietary intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and severity of skin photoaging in a middle-aged Caucasian population. J Dermatol Sci. 2013 Jul 23. pii: S0923-1811(13)00250-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jdermsci.2013.07.006. PMID: 23938188

7. Li YH, Wu Y, Wei HC, et al. Protective effects of green tea extracts on photoaging and photommunosuppression. Skin Res Technol 2009;15:338–345.

8. Chiu AE, Chan JL, Kern DG, et al. Double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial of green tea extracts in the clinical and histologic appearance of photoaging skin Dermatol Surg 2005;31(7[pt2]):855–860.

9. Janjua R, Munoz C, Gorell E, Rehmus W, Egbert B, Kern D, Chang AL. A Two-Year, Double-Blind, Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial of Oral Green Tea Polyphenols on the Long-Term Clinical and Histologic Appearance of Photoaging Skin. Dermatol Surg. 2009 Jul;35(7):1057-65 PMID: 19469799

10. Heinrich U, Moore CE, De Spirt S, et al. Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women. J Nutr 2011;141:1202–1208.

11. Pfeuffer M, Schrezenmeir J. Addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea Eur Heart J. 2007 May;28(10):1265-6; author reply 1266-7. Epub 2007 Apr 28. PMID: 17468508

12. Lambert JD, Hong J, Kim DH, Mishin VM, Yang CS. Piperine enhances the bioavailability of the tea polyphenol (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate in mice. Lambert JD, Hong J, Kim DH, Mishin VM, Yang CS. J Nutr. 2004 Aug;134(8):1948-52. PMID: 15284381

13. Fukutake M, Takahashi M, Ishida K, Kawamura H, Sugimura T, Wakabayashi K. Quantification of genistein and genistin in soybeans and soybean products Food Chem Toxicol. 1996 May;34(5):457-61.
PMID: 8655094

14. Accorsi-Neto A, Haidar M, Simões R, Simões M, Soares-Jr J, Baracat E. Effects of isoflavones on the skin of postmenopausal women: a pilot study. Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2009;64(6):505-10. PMID: 19578653

15. Izumi T, Saito M, Obata A, Arii M, Yamaguchi H, Matsuyama A Oral intake of soy isoflavone aglycone improves the aged skin of adult women. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2007 Feb;53(1):57-62. PMID: 17484381

16. Heinrich U, Neukam K, Tronnier H, Sies H, Stahl W. Long-term ingestion of high flavanol cocoa provides photoprotection against UV-induced erythema and improves skin condition in women. J-Nutr. 2006 Jun;136(6):1565-9. PMID: 16702322

17. Fisher ND, Hughes M, Gerhard-Herman M, Hollenberg NK. Flavanol-rich cocoa induces nitric-oxide-dependent vasodilation in healthy humans. J Hypertens. 2003;21:2281–6

18. Palombo P, Fabrizi G, Ruocco V, Ruocco E, Fluhr J, Roberts R, Morganti P Beneficial long-term effects of combined oral/topical antioxidant treatment with the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin on human skin: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2007;20(4):199-210. Epub 2007 Apr 19. PMID: 17446716

19. Purba MB, Kouris-Blazos A, Wattanapenpaiboon N, Lukito W, Rothenberg EM, Steen BC, Wahlqvist ML. Skin wrinkling: can food make a difference? J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Feb;20(1):71-80.

20. Latreille J, Kesse-Guyot E, Malvy D, Andreeva V, Galan P, Tschachler E, Hercberg S, Guinot C, Ezzedine K.. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging. PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44490. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0044490. Epub 2012 Sep 6 PMID: 22970231

21. Melnik BC, Schmitz G. Role of insulin, insulin-like growth factor-1, hyperglycaemic food and milk consumption in the pathogenesis of acne vulgaris. Exp Dermatol. 2009 Oct;18(10):833-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0625.2009.00924.x. Epub 2009 Aug 25. PMID: 19709092

22. Bhattacharyya TK, Merz M, Thomas JR. Modulation of cutaneous aging with calorie restriction in Fischer 344 rats: a histological study. Arch Facial Plast Surg. 2005 Jan-Feb;7(1):12-6.

PMID: 1565516823. Cefalu WT, Bell-Farrow AD, Wang ZQ, Sonntag WE, Fu MX, Baynes JW, Thorpe SR.
Caloric restriction decreases age-dependent accumulation of the glycoxidation products, N epsilon-(carboxymethyl)lysine and pentosidine, in rat skin collagen. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1995 Nov;50(6):B337-41. PMID: 7583789.

Forever Young

Update on my diet, supplements, and cosmetic routine

Skin: I wash with Neutrogena Gentle Exfoliating face wash and then apply Skinceuticals CE + Ferulic Acid to my face (3 drops). Apply Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 from Skinceuticals (mainly in the summer). At night time I will use cleansing wipes and apply Aloe Vera Gel from Aubrey Organics.
Lips: Blistex Lip Brilliance SPF15 or Burt’s Bees Lip Balm – Pomegranate (I apply throughout the day when needed).
Hair: Every few months I will switch between: L’Oreal – Elvive Nutri-Gloss and Herbal Essences Beautiful End Shampoo. I use Pantene Pro-V Clarifying Shampoo once a month. Conditioner either from L’Oreal or Herbal Essence.

Morning supplements: Vitamin D3 1000IU, Vitamin B Complex (every other day);  B12 on the days I don’t take B Complex. Zinc (15mg), Mangesium (300mg), and AllicinMax (Allimax in the US) 2 capsules with breakfast.

Breakfast:  Wholemeal bread (sometimes lightly toasted) with EVOO + 2 capsules of Allicin. Shortly after:

Oatmeal, Blueberries 80g, Almonds, 2 Brazil Nuts, 2 squares of Lindt Dark Chocolate 70%.

Lunch: Banana, Apple, Kale or Spinach Smoothie

Dinner a: Carrots, Corn, Green Beans, Peas (700 grams); Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 tbsp), Ketchup (low sugar/salt); 1 cup of Soy Milk with Green and Blacks hot chocolate. OR
Dinner b: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Peas (700 grams); Extra Virgin Olive Oil (1 tbsp), Ketchup (low sugar/salt); 1 cup of Soy Milk with Green and Blacks hot chocolate.
Desert: Anything that I want so to reach my calorie intake target; usually fruit.
Evening supplements: Allicin Max – capsules (I increase the the amount I take if there are any bugs going around). l-theanine 200mg

Drinks: I’ll have various drinks throughout the day, these include:
– Pukka 3 Mint Tea: Peppermint Leaf (34%),Spearmint Leaf (34%) ,Fieldmint Leaf (32%) – 4 tea bags per day.
– Licorice Tea
– Sencha Green Tea (I add ginger) – 5 cups a day minimum (2 tea bags per cup).
– Twinings Camomile And Spearmint Tea – 2 cups in the evening.

I try to keep my diet fairly consistent without much change as this makes it much easier. I enjoy everything that I eat, so it doesn’t bother me if I eat mostly the same every day. Occasionally I will go out for a meal with my friends, but this is just a few times a year.

A recently published study showed that various supplements have no effect on longevity so I have since discontinued taking them as there could be a risk of them interfering with the life extending effect of CR, or are simply just a waste of money! Another study showed that people taking large doses of multiple supplements had no effect on health (2). One supplement in particular that I have kept on taking is the Allicin Max. As long as I am taking this supplement, I haven’t come down with any colds, flu, or stomach bugs that go around. If I feel that I am more at risk of catching something, I will sometimes increase the number of capsules I take during the day. This seems to be the most effective supplement that I’ve found to prevent infections.

I had some blood tests done a few weeks ago and had a few surprising results. I barely slept the night before the test and this might have caused my neutrophil count to be higher than it normally is. I found a few studies that suggested even one night of sleep deprivation causes an elevation in white blood count, specifically neutrophils (reference in my blood test results link to the right of this page). My C reactive protein was undetectable, indicating no inflammation or infection either. My lipid profile was still good, but not where I want it to be. I suspect the reason for this is because in 2012 I got depressed after a serious breakup and went off CR a little by including bad foods in my diet and not getting much exercise. Since early on this year I’ve been back on a more strict CR diet and very focused. Overall the blood results were still excellent.

I feel back to myself now and so much happier than before. I’ve focused on my diet, exercise, relationships with family and friends, and the things I really want to do with my life. I feel so much healthier, I sleep very well, and things are just looking so much better right now. There’s going to be big changes to come in the near future that I’m very excited about. I’ll share with you soon!

1. Spindler SR, Mote PL, Flegal JM, Teter B. Influence on longevity of blueberry, cinnamon, green and black tea, pomegranate, sesame, curcumin, morin, pycnogenol, quercetin, and taxifolin fed iso-calorically to long-lived, F1 hybrid mice. PMID: 23432089

2. Soare A, Weiss EP, Holloszy JO, Fontana L.
Multiple dietary supplements do not affect metabolic and cardiovascular health. Aging (Albany NY). 2013 Sep 4. PMID: 24036417