Skin Beauty... Do
Anti-Aging Creams Really Turn Back the Clock?
by: Warren Matthews
If you believe the
television advertisements for skin care
products, then, your answer would be a definite
yes. These TV commercials suggest that if you
use this or that product that you too can have a
flawless and beautiful complexion and, by subtle
inference be happy.
But, is this reality or an
It's a combination of both
a partial reality and illusions. With the
majority of skin products it is definitely an
illusion as most women over thirty would attest
to. Many products can certainly make your skin
look better at the time of application but the
real test is when all the make up is washed off.
Generally the fine lines,
wrinkles, blemishes and sagging of skin still
Having said that, there
are however a few natural products that will
help with firming up the skin and reducing fine
lines and blemishes but you have to accept that
there are limitations to what they can do on
their own. More about this later in the article!
So, what is the answer...
plastic surgery? Many people obviously think
that it is, given the booming cosmetic plastic
surgery industry. But is it? In my opinion
definitely not! I have met quite a number of
people that have had plastic surgery and I have
not been impressed. I remember just a few years
ago meeting up with some old friends from St
Louis for dinner in Palm Beach Florida.
My friends who were in
their late 70's brought along a friend who would
have been in her early 60's. It was apparent
that this friend had had a number of plastic
surgery procedures on her face and not all of
them were successful. I remember thinking at the
time that she would have looked better without
Of course that is not
always the case. Some people get really good
results, but they are very much dependent upon
the skill of the surgeon. So, the risks are
So, what causes skin to
age which results in sagging, wrinkles and
If you want to maintain
clear, healthy, and firm skin into old age you
need to know this. So ... here is the brief
version ... FREE RADICALS. That's it in a
I am sure that you have
heard about free radicals and you may even know
exactly what they are, but nonetheless I will
give you a quick briefing about them.
Even though free radicals
age our bodies and skin they are a natural and
essential part of life. They are everywhere,
inside our body and out. They are more
concentrated in the cities or anywhere there is
any form of environmental pollution. Sunlight
also creates free radicals.
It is possible to see the
effect of them quite dramatically when you cut
an apple open and leave it exposed to the air.
The parts without the skin quickly go brown.
This is because it is being attacked by these
free radicals. If they were not there then
nothing would decompose and the whole planet
would be a massive garbage dump.
So, what exactly are they?
They are oxygen molecules that have lost an
electron through interaction with other
molecules. As with everything in nature an
effort is made (in this case the molecule) to
There is only one way it
can do this... and that is by stealing an
electron from another healthy molecule. So, it
rushes around like a thief until it can find
When it does and it steals
the electron, what happens?
You guessed it... another
free radical is created and in the process cells
where the 'thief' has entered are damaged.
There is no 'security
system' that can shut free radicals out.
They surround you, they
enter your body with each breath you take. The
greater your intake of air the higher exposure
that you have to free radicals. Ever wondered
why long distance runners look older than their
years, particularly their face?
They inhale more air than
most other people and with it more free
radicals. They therefore age faster if they
don't counteract the effect of the free
radicals. Everyone who exercises should be aware
of this. The good news is that this is not a
problem if the appropriate measures are taken...
more info soon.
Anyway, back to your skin.
It needs good healthy Collagen (which is a
protein). This Collagen gives your skin its
suppleness and tautness. However it is
constantly bombarded with free radicals that
damage the cells by the cross linking of
molecules. When this occurs the collagen
molecules can no longer smoothly slide over one
another. They instead become rough which impacts
directly on the appearance of your skin.
Because collagen stays in
the skin for many years it is continually
subjected to this free radical damage and the
effects are cumulative.
If you could stop the
actions of these free radicals you could stop
the aging process. This applies not only to your
skin but to your entire body. But, it simply is
not possible to achieve a 100% success rate.
However, you can reduce the impact of these free
radicals to a measurable degree.
This is through the use of
a series of compounds known as anti-oxidants. I
am sure that you have heard of these but you may
be unsure exactly what they do? In simple terms
they donate spare electrons to the free radicals
to 'heal' the damaged molecule.
There are many different
forms of anti-oxidants available ... some
natural some synthetic. Some really potent, some
quite weak. For example Vitamin C is an
antioxidant which is relatively weak. On the
other hand Alpha Lipoic acid is a relatively
potent one being about 400 times more powerful
than most Vitamin C's. Other antioxidants are
even more powerful than Alpha Lipoic acid, and
so on it goes.
So, how does this apply to
your skin and what should you do to protect it?
Simple. When you are
reviewing various crèmes and lotions to apply to
your face select those ones which are natural,
don't have any harsh chemicals that are likely
to cause inflammation (free radicals love
inflammation) and make sure they have natural
antioxidants in them, for example, alpha lipoic
acid, vitamin C esters (fat soluble type), DMAE
BUT... and this is an
important but, if you are serious about your
skin health take heed of the old saying 'Beauty
comes from within'. Although this term is
intended to relate to an individuals mental
attitude it also applies in a physical sense.
The health of your skin and thus the appearance
of it is directly related to your internal
If you have free radicals
rampant in your body, then putting all the
expensive antioxidant crèmes on your face will
only do a part of the job. Nourishing your skin
from the inside out is much more rewarding and
effective than any topical application.
Don't forget about your
internal health ... your skin is an organ and it
needs to be properly supported internally.