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14 Aug 2022

Healthy Living: Skin protection – from inside-out

Healthy Living:  Skin protection – from inside-out

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 new cases diagnosed every year. You don't need to be out in Spain to consider some sun protection

I love going for a sunny summer holiday, don’t you? But I want to make sure to protect my skin that barely sees the daylight during most of the year in Ireland. In truth, we should not neglect our largest organ all throughout the year to prevent premature aging and cancerous changes.
There are a myriad of anti-aging and SPF creams available, but they can only penetrate the first few layers of the epidermis where the skin cells are mature, keratinised and have lost their nucleus, and these products are often full of chemicals that irritate rather than help the skin.
Since our skin reflects the health of the rest of the body and is produced from the deep base layer, wouldn’t it make sense to support it from within?
Aging affects all our cells, not just our skin, but that is where we observe it the most. When a cell is damaged by free radicals (toxins, UV radiation, inflammation and even the life-giving oxygen) it needs to be replaced. But did you know that we can only renew our cells a maximum of 60 times? The more we damage our cells, the sooner we wear out our body and must face not only wrinkles and saggy skin, but chronic degenerative diseases also.

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Antioxidants – found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocado, olives, green tea, dark chocolate, herbs, and spices can come to the rescue; neutralising free radicals to minimise their damage. A great variety and amount of antioxidants are necessary to combat modern day stressors, so make sure to eat the rainbow and use those powerful herbs and spices in your everyday diet.
Studying the longest living people on earth we know that calorie restriction – periodic fasting can slow cellular aging as it activates our “longevity gene”; SIRT 1. This gene has a profound effect on our metabolism and is able to reboot our immunity and reduce inflammation. The only antioxidant that has been shown to have the same effect as calorie restriction is Resveratrol from red wine grapes. Resveratrol has been studied for cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and memory decline – and improved the moisture content and reduced itchiness of the skin in recent human clinical trials. You would need at least 17 bottles of wine however to get anywhere near the longevity gene, so look for a high-quality supplement instead.
Another fascinating antioxidant is Astaxanthin, the red pigment that gives salmon and shellfish their pink colour. It is called the king of carotenoids, having the most powerful protective properties out of all the pigment–type antioxidants. Once absorbed it is distributed in all the tissues and protects against UV damage, like an internal sunscreen, and in a recent study 4milligram per day also improved the moisture content of the skin, reduced dryness, roughness, and itching. Astaxanthin also protects the macula, the most central part of the back of the eye responsible for central and colour vision, with a tendency to be damaged by UV and blue light.

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