Cosmeceuticals is one of the most rapidly expanding $280 billion global industry, growing steadily at the rate of 10% per year. Cosmeceuticals include all cosmetics, foods and chemicals that enhance beauty.
Signs of ageing - dull, tight, rough skin, pores, spots, yellowness, wrinkles and sagging. Smoking, mental stress, excessive dieting, wrong food habits, excessive sun exposure, lack of exercise and pollution lead to premature ageing and skin disorders.
People using excessive heavy make-up all day suffer from pigmentation, pimples, contact allergy and sensitive/reactive skin. Reactive skin is sensitive to heat, cold, wind, topical creams leading to itching, burning, tingling, redness and dryness. Both reactive or aged skin can be prevented and controlled by disciplined dietary habits and proper skin care.
Here, I discuss how to eat your way to fabulous skin and how to choose your skin care products wisely. Don’t miss out on my recommended food journal.
Basic skin care products are sunscreens, moisturizers, use of umbrella and appropriate day and night creams.
Moisturizer: Moisturizers are key ingredient in beauty care. Effective moisturizer must decrease water loss from the skin surface, known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL). Their job is to create an environment for healing. Our skin is constantly undergoing minor unnoticed trauma due to external factors. Therefore, healing is essential for healthy skin. Petrolatum(vaseline jelly) is an ideal moisturizer that decreases TEWL by 99%, creating effective occlusion, thus promotes healing. Other moisturizers are mineral oil and vegetable oil. Glycerine holds water like a sponge, and prevents TEWL by 50%. Sorbitol, uear, lactic acid, NMF (natural moisturizing factor), gelatin, hyaluronate are other constituents of moisturizers to look for. However, any rehydration caused by moisturizer is temporary and works for around half an hour. Therefore, it should be reapplied frequently in copious amount.
Sunscreen: Rays from the sun such as UVA, UVB and infrared radiation amounts to upto 70% of external ageing. Application of liberal amount of sunscreens every 3 to 4 hourly is essential to prevent sun-induced damage. Meticulous care is needed while swimming, at beaches, deserts and snow as they reflect more sunlight onto our skin. Gel based solutions work well on oily skin and lotions/creams are preferable for dry skin. Sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide provide better protection as they are physical blockers. For our skin, spf 15 is recommended for daily use and spf 30 preferred during outdoor activity. Kathmandu has one of the highest UV index (intensity of UV rays) in the world, hence, we are highly susceptible to damage.
Retinol: It is a synthetic form of vitamin A, most widely used by all A-listed cosmetic brands worldwide. Pro-activ is one such example. Retinol works by binding to skin and repairing virtually all age related changes in skin. It enhances layers of skin and its components. But it needs to be applied for a long time to appreciate visible change. Expected side effects are discomfort, burning, stinging, sun-sensitivity when applied inappropriately. Strict sunprotection is advised during its use.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E are antioxidants that fight free radicals responsible for skin damage. But very few products actually contain adequate amount of these chemicals.
Rice ceramide, rice germ, bran, litche extract, grape extract, flavonoids, zinc, selenium are natural components of beauty products that have scientifically proven benefits.
Eating right is a lifestyle and you are what you eat. Eating smart is an intelligent way to attain healthy lifestyle. Gastrointestinal maintenance positively influences skin health directly and indirectly. Lately, the concept of “functional food” is on the rise. Functional food are ingredients (natural or added) that provide health benefits beyond their traditional value. Example, fortified food containing vitamins and minerals.
Here is the list of beneficial food:
SOY: Soy is available in the form of soy milk, soy beans. It acts on skin, hairs and nails when consumed or applied to skin for 3 to 6 months. Variety of soy milk with added nutritives are available in stores these days. It contains carbs, fat, protein and essential nutrients such as calcium, zinc, iron, vitamins, etc. Dietary soy improves obesity, bone health, alleviates menopausal symptoms and decreases risk of breast and skin cancer. It protects the skin against solar damage, allergy, skin swelling, DNA damage.
PROBIOTICS: Probiotics are fermented food products that contain bacteria beneficial for human body. Probiotics are found in yogurt, enriched milk and various formulated functional food. They were initially used for diarrhea. Now, their use has extended to various skin allergies and sensitive skin. They also enhance absorption of dietary nutrients.
OLIVES: Consumed as olive oil or olives, these are one of the most trending health food. They protect against heart disease, various cancers and skin ageing.
OTHERS: Green Tea, carotenoids (carrot), broccoli, lemon, nuts, pumpkin seed, fish oil are other antioxidants that fight skin ageing. Red wine contain resveratrol, which acts as a defense against skin damage. Tropical fruits such as berries(strawberry, blueberry, cranberry), pineapple and papaya are low calorie antioxidants.
YOUR DAILY FOOD JOURNAL:
Breakfast: Soy milk/Green Tea. Cornflakes/oats(fortified)
Lunch: Use olive oil instead of mustard or vegetable oil. Eating carrots/ cucumber before big meal reduces calorie intake and supplements antioxidant requirement. A fist/palmful of rice with green vegetables, soybeans and pulses. Finish your meal with yogurt.
Afternoon snack – replace your afternoon junk food with fresh fruits, berries, fruit juices and mixed fruit salad.
Dinner – Whole grain pasta/ brown bread. Peanut butter. A glass of red wine.
“Breakfast like a king, lunch like a common-man, dinner like a beggar”
“Cleanse your skin and remove the last bit of make-up. Apply generous amount of moisturizer to let your skin heal while your body rejuvenates through the night”