8 scientific skin care tips you need to know

Pomegranate for skin care

I keep my eye on skin care tips offered on the web and the truth is – humans have done some extreme things in the quest for eternal beauty including eating collagen-wrapped kebabs.

Ok – the collagen kebabs was a trend in Japanese restaurants that never caught on, but seriously – there’s a much easier way to retain your youthful glow.

In fact, it’s as simple as following these six skin care tips. They’re backed by science and founded on fresh food to help you keep your skin glowing and beautiful whatever your age.

A quick guide to the biology of ageing skin

In our youth, skin contains up to 80% collagen – the structural protein that gives it strength and elasticity. As we age we lose collagen – at a rate of about one per cent a year. This combined with skin becoming thinner and less fatty, leads to wrinkles and saggy skin.

Free radical damage from environmental factors like the sun’s UV rays and pollution add to deterioration causing dryness, sunspots, uneven skin tone and skin cancer.

So we spend billions of dollars on beauty products containing so-called ‘miracle’ ingredients. But do they deserve to be on a shortlist of the best skin care tips?

The ‘active’ ingredients in traditional face creams

Peptides: Proteins that assist cells to grow and help your skin cells heal. Plastic surgeon Dr Ivona Percec says: “The concern is that peptides are large molecules…they may not be able to penetrate deeply enough to achieve their effect.”

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs): Natural ingredients that come from fruits and milk sugars. They operate as an exfoliant, getting rid of dead skin cells and allowing new ones to grow. But high concentrations can cause side effects include stinging, redness and sun sensitivity – so sunscreen is a must.

Retinol: A natural form of Vitamin A which reduces fine lines and boosts the thickness and elasticity of your skin. A report in JAMA’s Archives of Dermatology says retinol boosted the production of moisture-holding glycosaminoglycan as well as collagen.

Skin cream absorption rates are difficult to accurately predict. They depend on the quality of your outermost skin layer (stratum corneum), whether it’s damp or hydrated, its thickness, temperature and blood flow.

The cream’s fat solubility, concentration and the area and length of time it remains on the skin is also relevant – so slathering it on at night is a sensible solution.

8 easy skin care tips to live by

  1. Cut back on sugar, processed foods and red meat which this study found to be high in Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs). AGEs are proteins that bond to sugars and play an important role in skin aging by altering collagen and elastin in your cells.
  2. AGEs are formed by our body as well as being consumed through our food. To reduce the amount of AGEs you consume the AGE Foundation recommends you prepare food using these methods:
    – Slow-cook food at lower temperatures
    – Boil, steam or poach food rather than grill or fry
    – Marinate in acidic ingredients like citrus fruits or apple cider.
  3. Up your citrus fruit intake – packed with vitamin C, an effective antioxidant. A British Journal of Nutrition article explains Vitamin C is an essential element of our skin which is efficiently absorbed into our blood from food.
  4. Enjoy a Mediterranean diet packed with colourful fruits and vegetables, oily fish and tomatoes. Researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital found people who did had longer telomeres.  Shorter telomeres are associated with a decreased life expectancy and age related diseases.
  5. Drink white tea – a study from Kingston University in the UK confirms it prevents enzymes breaking down elastin and collagen.
  6. Plump up your skin with an avocado mask (try this beautiful DIY one) or treat yourself to this mouth watering pomegranate salad. Studies show avocado increases Type II collagen which cushions joints preventing inflammation. Both avocado and pomegranate are rich in antioxidants which prevent free radical damage.
  7. Use products containing green tea, rose and lavender which are in the top nine plants proven to improve elastin and collagen. See this comprehensive list for more natural, anti-ageing plant ingredients.
  8. Enjoy the odd glass of red wine. Resveratrol is a plant compound (antioxidant) found in red wine that slows down age-related decline according to a study in the journal Cell Metabolism.

Food contains active nutrients like antioxidants, vitamins and anti-inflammatories that are essential for our skin, body and mind to operate at optimum levels. Download our free Beauty Nutrition Handbook to understand what key beauty nutrients do and what to eat if you have ailments such as dry skin, pimples or you’re skin is less vibrant than you’d like.

Beauty Nutrition Handbook