Skin and vitamin C

The skin is a complex structure, made up mostly of collagen and elastin.

by Tammy Shetterly — 

As the body’s largest organ, the skin is an outward sign of inner health; therefore, the same poor lifestyle choices that negatively affect the heart and lungs also damage the strength and health of our skin. Smoking, over-consumption of carbonated and/or alcoholic beverages, and sleep depravation decrease the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients supplied to the skin. The result is premature wrinkles, dryness and dull complexion.

The skin is a complex structure, made up mostly of collagen and elastin. Together, collagen and elastin provide strength, elasticity, fullness and structure to the skin. To maintain healthy skin, we need to continually reinforce the collagen and elastin. To help do this, numerous topical skincare options protect, support and restore this complex and vital structure.

Topical vitamin C and the skin

An effective nutrient in the prevention of skin damage and treatment of compromised skin is topical vitamin C. This antioxidant is essential for healthy skin, but is not produced by the human body. For this reason, every skincare regimen should be supplemented with a topical vitamin C product.

With respect to mature, aging skin, vitamin C is an absolute necessity for the anti-aging process. Topical vitamin C is a proven stimulator of collagen and elastin rejuvenation, two substances that are directly affected by the hormonal shifts associated with aging. Increasing collagen and elastin can help minimize fine lines and wrinkles while creating firmness.

Broad-spectrum sun protection

UVA and UVB radiation have been linked to numerous problems, including premature aging, skin discoloration, skin cancer and a weakening of the immune system. UVA rays are not absorbed by our ozone; therefore, they penetrate deeper into the skin. UVB rays cause sunburn and affect the surface layers of the skin. For this reason, everyone should use a broad-spectrum sun protection with SPF 15 or higher to protect the skin. This is an integral part of any daily skincare regimen.

Two types of sun protection are available: chemical sunscreens and physical sunblocks. These two forms of protection use different methods to achieve similar goals. A chemical sunscreen absorbs, reflects and scatters UV radiation before it harms the skin. A physical sunblock sits on the surface of the skin where it reflects and/or scatters UV radiation before it damages the skin.

While professional treatments are very effective, a patient’s home care regimen can be of even greater importance. What we use on our skin on a daily basis will make an immense difference in the quality of our skin by enhancing the end result of a professional treatment and prevent the signs of aging.

The skin is a complex structure that requires protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Protecting and supporting the skin through the use of vitamin C and sun protection is critical to maintaining skin health, vibrancy and a youthful appearance.

 

Tammy Shetterly is a licensed aesthetician and aesthetic coordinator with Dr. Jose Ortiz’s naturopathic medical practice in Scottsdale/Paradise Valley, Ariz. 480-970-0077 or smchelgren@cox.net.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 27, Number 4, August/September 2008.

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