The Real Science for Younger Skin that Cosmetics Companies Don’t Want You to Know ~ Michelle Lee, author of The Young Skin Diet, Salut Studio, April 2016
Every single year.
That’s what Americans spend on anti-aging treatments, according to market research by Mintel Group. $2,000,000,000. Each and every year.
To put that number into perspective, consider that the total economic output for the Central American country of Belize – that is, all the goods, services, government programs, investments and international trade generated by the country in an entire year – is a bit less.
Given how much we spend on all these creams, serums, ointments and pills, most of which are aimed at resolving skin issues, you’d think all our concerns over fine lines, wrinkles, pores, dryness, discoloration and sagging would be long gone. For the overwhelming majority of us, that simply isn’t the case.
Why is it that billions of dollars each year can’t solve skin aging problems that are seemingly inevitable?
For one, it’s because the creams and pills don’t really address the underlying causes of skin aging. At best, they cover things up or engage in a sort of horse trading: short-term “results” at the expense of long-term skin health.
Lots of so-called anti-aging products simply don’t work. Some are entirely ineffectual, and some can even damage your skin.
Take products containing tea tree oil, for instance. Tea tree oil seems to be everywhere these days, touted as hydrating, soothing and natural. Well, natural it may be. But soothing it most certainly is not. Tea tree oil is actually a noted skin irritant that can lead to swelling, blistering and redness. I know. I’ve been there with tea tree oil. It’s something best avoided altogether for youthful skin.
So where does this leave us? We want our skin’s youthful glow back. We want a clear complexion, smoothness and suppleness. We want to look younger and healthier.
My research for The Young Skin Diet revealed the very best way to rejuvenate skin. It’s not commercial creams or prescription drugs. It’s the simple, elegant biochemistry of a strategically assembled diet.
So let’s connect the two threads: Are there foods we can eat that give us access to the same “active ingredients” that expensive and risky commercial or prescription products do?
Absolutely. And, in fact, the foods do it much better. There are chemicals found in common anti-aging serums and creams that can be important parts of a regimen for younger skin if – and only if – consumed internally as food, and not if applied externally.
Hyaluronic acid is one. Hyaluronic acid is a featured active ingredient in products being hawked by several big-name cosmetics companies that promise their creams will hydrate your skin and leave it smoother and younger looking. The products are chic and expensive and very likely to leave you wondering why you didn’t just spend all that money on a tropical vacation to Belize.
Or, if not a vacation, then at least a can or two of chickpeas. Chickpeas naturally provide hyaluronic acid, and they do so in a way that allows the chemical to work for your skin – rather than against it.
When eaten, hyaluronic acid helps build collagen. And, when eaten, it does promote sustainable, long-term skin hydration. Articles outlining these processes appear in scholarly journals including Wound Repair and Regeneration, detailing the biological impacts of hyaluronic acid in skin. The best results for skin occur with hyaluronic acid when it’s ingested.
Here’s why. The hydration effect of hyaluronic acid is brought on because the chemical is a humectant that draws moisture from its environment toward it. This property is excellent for skin when hyaluronic acid arrives internally via the diet since it ushers water toward the inner layers of the skin and plumps skin’s appearance.
When applied to the skin externally, though, hyaluronic acid can pull moisture away from the deeper skin layers toward the skin’s surface. That moisture quickly evaporates, leaving only a transitory skin-smoothing benefit that ultimately dries out the skin’s inner layers. Which paves the way for redness, inflammation, fine lines and wrinkles over time.
So hyaluronic acid is a great example of why it’s simply better to eat good foods than slather on costly creams. Plus, when derived from chickpeas, the hyaluronic acid gets delivered to the skin along with a dose of silica that boosts collagen-building efforts.
There are other chemicals found in costly – often prescription – treatments that also can be obtained from foods to produce great results for skin. Arbutin is a good example since both blueberries and expensive creams are rich in the chemical.
Arbutin is a powerful skin lightener that reduces skin pigmentation inconsistencies. As detailed in a 2015 paper published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, arbutin is similar in structure (and convertible) to hydroquinone, the active ingredient in various skin-lightening creams. Of course, arbutin consumed courtesy of blueberries entails none of the preservatives or additives found in cosmetic creams, and the amount of arbutin/hydroquinone put to work in the skin when ingested is carefully regulated by your body’s individual biochemistry (i.e., you won’t overload your skin and suffer unintended side-effects that can result from the creams). Blueberries taste a lot better too.
The point of all this is that the right selections of foods can provide many of the same “active ingredients” as costly ointments and treatments – only with better results and no nasty side-effects.
More broadly, the right foods, when used, combined and prepared strategically, can accelerate exfoliation, build collagen and elastin, soften lines and wrinkles, brighten the complexion, undo UV damage and prevent further sun damage, rebalance hormones that affect skin, and provide alpha-hydroxy acids that peel away unattractive and aged skin, among many other things. They do all this holistically, naturally, without side-effects, inexpensively and in a way that builds great overall health along with more youthful skin.
Rather than slather your skin in risky and expensive commercial anti-aging treatments, just sneak a few great-skin foods into your diet. Save your cash. And jet off to Belize for some snorkeling.
To receive more information on how to have and maintain younger skin, pick up a copy of Michelle’s newest book, The Young Skin Diet today!