Jun 23, 2019

The Face of Time

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By: Larisa M. Lehmer

Skin - the organ that makes interacting with others and our surroundings possible. As our first defense against the sun, cold, wind, rain, and all life's bumps and bruises, it is no wonder that we recognize many of the signs of aging? first in the skin.  The use of cosmetic powders dating back to 2000 BC in ancient Egypt and literary descriptions of complexion ranging from the radiant, glowing, and rosy to the sallow, pale, and grey points to the longstanding association between good skin and good health.

The frightening amount of information that may be ascertained from a quick visual inspection of the skin including a person's age, nutritional status, severity of illness, occupation, and amount of sleep is possible because of the dynamic biology of the skin.  To keep up with the constant barrage of environmental insults, the skin is constantly turning over with no single cell of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin, sticking around for more than one month. 

On the bright side, this periodic renewal allows the positive changes we make in our health such as stopping smoking, wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen daily, eating more nutrient-rich foods like dark green leafy veggies, nuts, and seeds, and berries, getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night, drinking 64-72oz of water daily, and maintaining good skin hygiene can all be reflected in our skin?s appearance as well.

Let's face it; we would all rather be the 40-year-old who looks 30 instead of the other way around!  When it comes to aging gracefully, preventing further damage is as important as seeking the assistance of a dermatologist in diminishing the wrinkles and spots that are already there.  There is no stopping the forward march of time, but for those who invest a few minutes every day to care for their skin, the clock appears to tick ever so much more slowly.


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Heinrich U, Moore CE, De Spirt S, et al. Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women. J Nutrition 2011;141(6):1202-8.

Neukam K, De Spirt S, Stahl W, et al. Supplementation of flaxseed oil diminishes skin sensitivity and improves skin barrier function and condition. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2011;24(2):67-74.

Stahl W, Sies H. ?-carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. Am J Clin Nutr 2012;96(5):1179S-84S.

Aging Skin