This week our contributing writer Doctor Gifford-Jones talks about natural ingredients that counteract aging skin.
G.P.R. James wrote in 1829, “Age is the most terrible misfortune that can happen to any man. Other evils will mend, but this is every day getting worse.” Why he left out women I have no idea! Today, one could utter the same lament. After all, who wants to get old? But although we still haven’t found the secret for eternal youth it is now possible to remove some of the wrinkles of aging.
The way the skin ages depends on several factors. We can’t control Canada’s frigid temperatures that are unkind to skin. Nor can we choose our parents. On the other hand, we can stop smoking, a habit that makes people look older than their years.
But the most controllable factor of all is “photo-aging”. Too much exposure to sun results in coarse, pebbly and rough skin. Excess exposure also causes irregular pigmentation and wrinkles due to ultraviolet A and B radiation.
Today the message is “Stay out of the sun”. But I continue to see young and old ignoring this warning. If they’re lucky their skin will only become thin, almost transparent and less elastic.
If they’re unlucky, and more and more people are, their heavily sun-tanned skin will develop a malignant melanoma. This is a huge price to pay for sun-worship and the fashionable bronzed look.
Yet suppose you’ve been prudent about sun exposure. And like G.P.R. James you regret seeing your youthful appearance gradually fading away. So you’ve decided to fight the wrinkled, blotched skin and dull complexion?
Only 13 per cent of the female population are willing to submit to a major chemical peeling procedure. This requires specialized care and can cause complications. Others prefer to play it safe by using a facial cream. Some of them contain glycolic acid, micro-collagen, vitamins, and soy extracts. They also protect against ultraviolet radiation.
Glycolic acid is the most effective of the fruit acids. It’s derived from sugar cane and easily penetrates skin.
Good facial creams trigger the skin’s ability to regenerate collagen and elastin. And with the addition of vitamin C the skin generates additional collagen.
Linus Pauling, a two-time Nobel Prize winner, stressed for years the vital importance of collagen. It’s a significant component of skin and every cell in the body. Like mortar that holds bricks together, collagen is the cement that binds cells together. So as we age and as collagen decreases its small wonder that wrinkles appear.
In fact, if any of us want to see the effects of sun damage Dr. Sheldon Pinnell, Professor Emeritus at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina, has a unique way of gauging it.
He says, “The difference between skin that’s photo-aged and skin that’s just plain aged is the difference between the skin on the face and hands and the skin on the buttocks!”