Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sisterly Spa Series: ABC's in Skin Care

OK, so this post is a bit of an extra. 
It's just that I care so much about skin care, that I want to share this info with the world!  Plus this information will be handy to refer back to during the week when we get into the nitty gritty of our Sisterly Spa Series!

Have you ever wondered why commercials are telling you to buy moisturizers, masks, toners, eye cream etc with Vitamin A, C, E, or other way more scientific words (protein complex) but not to sure why they're supposed to be important?  Well, here's the (quick) lowdown on why natural skincare is where it's at and why those vitamins are imporatant for your skin and it's better to get them straight from the source (fruits and veggies). 

What are free radicals?  Free radicals are (without getting to sciency) outer forces like pollution, UV rays, and carbon monoxide that react with our bodies' molecules.  Unfortunately, free radicals tend not to be very choosy and will attack a variety of molecules including DNA, lipids and proteins in our skin. This can damage the structure of cell membranes, making cells function poorly or even die. This can cause premature aging, wrinkles, age spots and loss of elasticity (turkey neck)!

Antioxidants fight free radicals by stopping the reaction before the cell is irreversibly damaged. In the skin, this means that free radicals have a decreased ability to break down the collagen that keeps our skin elastic-preventing wrinkles. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and beta-carotene (Vitamin A) are all great antioxidants.  Others include green tea, grape-seed oil.  Studies have shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants as well as applying them topically will help your overall health and help protect your body from free radicals.

VITAMIN A-beat carotene
Vitamin A additionally benefits skin in helping with acne, , stretch marks, and eczema.  Sources of Vitamin A include carrots and carrot juice, cantaloupes, apricots, eggs.

Vitamin C works to rejuvenate the skin in such a way that its earlier glow and health are maintained. It does this by moisturizing, encouraging growth of collagen and exfoliating and cleaning.  Sources of Vitamin C include rose hip extract, strawberries, lemons and of course oranges.  Potatoes are also a source of Vitamin C in large quantities....this may be why I found dark eye circle remedies made with potatoe!?!?

There's a lot floating around about Vitamin E and it seems to be the "hot" skin care thing.  I think this is mainly becuase of it's HUGE antioxidant power, thus keeping us looking younger longer.  Additionally it reduces transepidermal (through the skin) water loss from skin and strengthens the skin’s barrier function.  Meaning it acts as a humectant, keeping moisture in the skin!  So if you're using a a moisturizer that doesn't have Vitamin E, it might not be working as well as you'd have hoped!  sources of Vitamin E include almonds, blueberries, papaya and wheat germ!

So that's free radicals and anti oxidants!  Be prepared to learn a lot more this week, especially about essential oils and how they can benefit your skin and hair!

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