Skin: "beauty from within"

The term "anti-age" is the progenitor of a holistic philosophy aimed at curbing the physiological effects of time, and today in fact we speak more and more of "slow aging" and, in the specific case of skin care - known as "skincare" -, of "skin-longevity".

Skin-longevity is an increasingly wide-ranging approach to maintaining youthful skin, trying to counteract the signs of aging and providing not only topical support, but also thanks to an increasingly growing and effective concept of beauty from within.

In the world of aesthetics and skin care, supplements also play a very important role, having to care for and support a real organ: the skin, not just a "simple" defense barrier from external agents.

The media fill us with messages, focusing on the need to intervene when the skin (and not only) begins to show signs of a biological process of gradual decline and loss of functionality. This process begins after the age of 25 for women and after 30 for men, due to multiple factors that favor the appearance of wrinkles, skin that is less toned, less luminous, thinner and less hydrated.

Our skin is made up of three well-defined layers: hypodermis, dermis and epidermis.

The hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin and is rich in adipocytes (adipose tissue cells) which undergo a reduction in their volume and cell quantity, with consequent thinning of the hypodermis itself. In the dermis there are most of the fibroblasts, the cells that have the task of producing the precious collagen (protein most present in the tissues of our body) and elastin(which gives precisely elasticity). Over the years, the number of fibroblasts and glycosaminoglycans (molecules essential for the functioning of the skin, mechanical properties and physiological appearance) gradually decreases, and so does the production of these two Protein (collagen and elastin) which determine turgor, firmness and elasticity of the skin. Furthermore, as time passes, the collagen and elastin Fibre themselves begin to degrade faster in the face of a decreased capacity for structural renewal.

This means that over the years the architecture of the skin is gradually weakened and begins to yield, losing firmness and support. The dermis also then begins to lose volume and to thin, favoring the appearance of increasingly evident wrinkles and the unpleasant effect of "sagging skin".

The most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis, is obviously located in the area where the effects of the passage of time are most visible.

But what specifically happens? Skin cells are born in the basement membrane, a specialized laminar structure that separates "the different layers" of the dermis, located between the dermis and the epidermis. These mature, acquiring functionality, and migrate little by little, and then emerge on the surface, where they become keratinized (lifeless) cells, part of the stratum corneum. In the aging process, all this no longer occurs with the same efficiency, due to a decrease in the ability of cells to proliferate, which results in a thinner and less elastic epidermis.

Another characteristic factor of aging is the loss, by the skin, of the ability to retain water, thus affecting the layer of the hydrolipidic film and making the surface of the skin drier and dehydrated, and favoring the appearance of more marked wrinkles.

Furthermore, at the level of the sebaceous glands there will also be a reduced production of sebum, with less vital activity of the hair bulb, which evolves into a greater fragility of the blood vessels involved.

All these mechanisms arise from a complex of processes that characterize skin aging, which can be clearly distinguished between two categories, intrinsic or extrinsic, depending on the internal (intrinsic) or external (extrinsic) origin of the organism.

Skin aging, called intrinsic, involves all our organs and tissues, and is generally linked to the passage of time, the so-called "chrono-aging", which refers to the production and balance of hormones, genetics and slowing down of the biological processes of our body.

By decreasing the proliferative activity of the cells of the basal layer, we obtain the thinning of the epidermis and the decrease in the activity of melanocytes - the cells responsible for the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of our skin / tan -, with consequent increased sensitivity of the skin to sunburn and solar radiation.

Skin aging defined as extrinsic instead it does not depend on biological age and the passage of time in the strict sense, but is directly related to all those factors external to our organism with which the skin comes into contact. Just think of the UV rays to which we are continuously exposed, "photoaging", which over time causes a very high rate of oxidative stress (and hence the common use of both topical and oral antioxidants to support skin aging). The damage of UV rays can be immediate and acute, as in the case of sunburn, sunburn or hyper-pigmentation, or they can accumulate and become chronic, as in the case of depth and presence of wrinkles, up to the risk of developing melanomas. Among the external or environmental factors that favor skin aging we also find cigarette smoke.

So, in summary, what happens to our skin with the inexorable passage of time?

The signs are:

  • less toned, thin, drier, more fragile skin;
  • variations on the pigmentation like spots;
  • more present and marked wrinkles;
  • more fragile and thin nails;
  • grayer and thinner hair, with thinning;
  • reduced barrier function with reduced immune defenses;
  • less thermoregulatory capacity (you sweat less);
  • less repair capacity;
  • reduced synthesis of Vitamin D.

But it is possible to intervene on many of these factors in our favor and benefit, from nutrition to lifestyle, also using a series of effective topical approaches, which literally structure, stimulate, tone and rehydrate the delicate structures that make up the skin, thus counteracting the main imperfections of the skin of the face, through a vast choice of specific dermocosmetics.

Scientific research is increasingly bringing to light how a targeted dietary supplement based on nutraceuticals can help in combating skin aging.

The focus therefore is on supplying antioxidant substances such as vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, zinc, precious elements to contrast the excess of free radicals induced by oxidative stress from within.

Clinical research, supported by the presence of increasingly sophisticated biotechnologies on the processing of raw materials, allows us to effectively nourish our skin from the inside. Just think of the diffusion of hydrolyzed collagen: its composition in small peptides (small amino acid fractions) allows it to be completely absorbed, thus favoring its use as a support of plastic material for the skin (and not only), in order to give it greater tone and structural elasticity, as well as favoring the same endogenous stimulation capacity.

Collagen is one of the most important Protein present in our body and represents about a third of total Protein, thus playing a fundamental role in the structure and functionality of organs and tissues such as:

  • leather;
  • cartilage;
  • muscle tissue;
  • connective tissue;
  • bone tissue;
  • vascular tissue.

With increasing age there is a gradual reduction in collagen synthesis, also associated with an increase in its degradation, which causes it to lose its characteristics of tone and elasticity, with a reduction in the thickness of the dermis matrix.

By taking hydrolyzed collagen, we will effectively supply precious bricks to restructure and recompact our skin, and our tissues in general, giving it greater vigor, resistance, elasticity and turgor.

Hyaluronic acid is a very well known molecule in the aesthetic field, characterized by a high molecular weight and which belongs to the group of glycosaminoglycans, produced by our body at the level of connective tissues by fibroblasts found in the dermis. Its fame, in aesthetics, derives from the fact that it has a particular chemical structure, which allows it to bind to numerous water molecules, bringing tone and firmness thanks to greater hydration, typical of tissues that are denser. As for collagen, with advancing age, the production of hyaluronic acid by fibroblasts gradually decreases and instead tends to increase the degradation of the one already formed, favoring the appearance of wrinkles.

Among the various nutraceutical supplements that enhance the concept of "beauty from within", we find antioxidants, already characteristic of creams and topical applications to counteract oxidative stress. This is given in particular by external factors and accelerates the skin aging processes because free radicals can alter various cellular processes to the detriment of biomolecules (nucleic acids, Protein, lipids ...), concretely translating into changes in the functionality of the cells themselves. and thus increasing the degradation of the collagen structure.

We only think of the free radicals generated by excessive expulsion of UV rays, smoke, pollution, which damage the characteristic lipids present in our skin, opening and amplifying the pro-inflammatory effects. Our body has efficient antioxidant defense systems, but often alone they are not enough: it is therefore necessary to provide support with a targeted dietary supplement, where beta-carotenes, astaxanthin and Coenzyme Q10 stand out for their functionality, in addition to vitamins C and E, lipoic acid and polyphenols, which can counteract the overflow of excess free radicals.

Very interesting are the latest studies on how the intestinal microbiota is also related to skin health. This is why cosmetic beauty products based on probiotics and prebiotics are on the rise, allowing the skin to remain healthy, more defended by factors that compromise the balance of the microbiota between "good" and "harmful" bacteria. The families of lactobacilli and bifido-bacteria belong to probiotics, which can influence the balance and composition of the skin's microflora, thanks to fermentation processes, capable of increasing the production of lactic acid, decreasing the pH of the skin.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are not bacteria, but non-digestible substances contained in foods that promote nourishment and the proliferation of probiotics. They therefore function as "nourishment" for the intestinal flora.

In the field of supplements for skin health, the suggestion of the use of Omega 3 is increasingly common.

Omega 3 are essential fatty acids useful, among other many functions to ensure the functional and structural integrity of the skin and hair. Thanks to these lipids, in fact, the growth of skin, nail and hair cells is favored, making them more robust with a more hydrated and healthy skin, with a younger appearance, and giving greater elasticity and better hydration of skin, skin and scalp, thus avoiding dry skin, dermatitis, and psoriasis.

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