The skin is our largest organ acting as a protective barrier against the external world. It continuously regenerates and repairs itself and is filled with all sorts of sensory nerve receptors, moisturising glands and protective hair follicles.
KNOW YOUR SKIN
There are two important layers – the epidermis and the dermis.
The epidermis is the outermost, thinner layer that creates a waterproof barrier against the environment. It contains melanocytes with pigments to protect against ultraviolet radiation. It has Vitamin-D producing cells and immune cells that help fend off toxins and bacteria, in addition to pressure-sensing nerve receptors. The much thicker dermal layer lies beneath the epidermis, and has collagen-rich connective tissue that attaches our skin to our body. It also has elastic fibers that provide skin tone. A network of fine blood vessels brings oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to these supportive structures. There are hair follicles, sweat glands and sensory receptors that govern touch and heat.
The epidermis is a one-cell-thick, base layer of living cells, with three to four overlying layers of ‘dead’ cells in a variety of organisational patterns. These ‘dead’ layers are our main defense against the world, and form a water-proof barrier. The outermost layer falls away, making space for underlying layers to move up. In this way we keep regenerating our skin, and it becomes a totally new organ every 27 days.
Most of the signs of ageing - wrinkles, loss of elasticity, thinning and fragility - start in the dermal, and not the epidermal layer where the majority of creams, lotions and balms reach (despite their claims). To sustainably treat signs of ageing we have to communicate with our dermis, and not just our epidermis.
The main cause of dermal damage is free radicals that break down the connective tissue that holds our skin tightly onto our bodies. They also destroy the basal cell layer that keeps our epidermis healthy, and corrupt our DNA, causing faster rates of cell death and ageing.
did you know?
The beauty industry is massive with a worth estimated to be $265 billion worldwide by 2017. An ever-expanding array of products promises miraculous cures and results. But what these companies don’t publicise is that external skin products are far less effective than internal nutritional and lifestyle changes.
Sources of free radical production:
- Smoking - by far the most dangerous producer of free radicals
- Environmental toxins and pollution, especially water and air
- Excessive sun exposure
- Mental and emotional stress
- Sleep irregularities
- Alcohol and coffee
- Inflammatory diets, (those with lots of animal products)
- Dietary toxins like preservatives, colourants and synthetic ingredients
- Inflammatory diseases
- Reverse, slow down or stop ageing and dermal damage by stopping excessive free radical production, repairing existing damage, and supporting the body’s regeneration and repair mechanisms.
10 Anti-Ageing Lifestyle Tips
- Stop smoking
- Drink plenty of clean healthy water.
- Get the right amount of quality, undisturbed sleep, make sure some of the hours are before midnight.
- Find replacements for detrimental lifestyle habits like coffee, alcohol and an acidic diet high in animal products.
- Eat anti-oxidant rich plant foods as close to their original form as possible. Aim for a full colour spectrum of vegetables and fruit, from the purples and blues of berries and eggplants to the greens and yellows of sprouts and mangoes.
- Supplemental anti-oxidants, like Vitamins C and E, Coenzyme Q-10 and alpha lipoic acid, are useful, but no amount of supplementation can overcome the results of an unhealthy lifestyle.
- Eat enough alkalising plant-based protein, to help your body create the building elements to repair your dermal and epidermal layers.
- Manage emotional and mental stress with healthy practices: be in nature, meditate, exercise and follow creative pursuits and journaling.
- Get enough sunshine for Vitamin D production, but not too much to cause free radical production - ten minutes, three times a week, sunblock-free is enough.
- Move your body daily. Exercise is essential for lymph flow, and transporting toxins away from your skin and to your liver. It also flushes out toxins through your sweat glands.