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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine August 2003

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Fighting Back Against Skin Aging
By Maria Rabat

Guarding against moisture loss

Women typically use face creams to replace moisture lost to aging. It becomes increasingly difficult to keep the skin moist once a woman reaches menopause because of a reduction in the hormones that signal oil production in the sebaceous glands.

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Most commercial face creams are oil-based and work by blocking the release of water from the skin. That may work with younger skin, but as we age, the skin loses its ability to even attract moisture. Instead, aging skin needs to be replenished with its natural moisturizer complex to attract and retain water. One of the natural humectants (agents that attract and hold water) in young skin is NaPCA (the sodium salt of pyrollidone carboxylic acid). The ability of the skin to hold moisture is directly related to its NaPCA content. Aged skin is depleted of the compound, as well as other humectants, needed to retain water. NaPCA, which is manufactured in human skin by an amino acid conversion, functions to naturally draw moisture and hold it in place within the skin. It is the most powerful, non-toxic humectant known and the most important humectant in the skin.

Hyaluronic acid is yet another natural component of healthy skin. The network of collagen fibers below the skin is filled with a composition of water, protein complexes and hyaluronic acid. This jelly-like mixture is necessary for transportation of essential nutrients from the bloodstream, via the capillary network, to the living cells of the skin. Hyaluronic acid is found in great abundance in young skin, but over time, free radical production destroys our hyaluronic acid reserves. By the time we reach our 50th birthday, we've already lost close to half of the hyaluronic acid that we had in our youth. Replenishing the skin with hyaluronic acid can help facilitate healing, repair and antioxidant capacity.14

Without proper moisture, nutrients can't be delivered to the skin, compromising the entire process of cell renewal. A patented moisturizer made from soybean oil, called Ceraphyl® NGA, not only reduces dryness in the upper layers of the skin, but it also seems to enhance the efficacy of topically applied antioxidants, particularly vitamins A, C and E, thereby ensuring proper nutrient absorption and the vital processes of repair and renewal.

The combined qualities inherent in NaPCA and hyaluronic acid, contained in a Ceraphyl® NGA moisture base, approximates the skin's natural moisturizing capabilities. Optimal protection against age-induced skin dehydration is best achieved by replenishing the skin with a moisture complex that best matches it's own. A true nighttime moisturizer should address the needs of aging skin by effecting a change, both in its texture and appearance.

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A comprehensive battle plan

The skin is a sophisticated organ, designed to safeguard us from external dangers, such as bacteria and other environmental stresses. Think of your skin as a suit of armor that protects your internal organs from the hazards of daily living. If any cream or lotion is to penetrate this barrier and nourish the layers underneath, it needs to be specifically formulated to circumvent the armor. For any skin care cream to deliver on its promise, it must first be designed to operate within the confines of our physiology. And our physiology, with particular regard to aging skin, is a complex system that works best when we work with it. The following article describes pioneering research that has led to the development of a night cream that penetrates deep into the lower layers of the skin to guard against the multiple adverse consequences of aging.

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Lifestyle modifications make for beautiful skin

Experts recommend a diet rich in fruit and vegetables to help skin stay looking its best. Leafy green vegetables and other brilliantly colored foods like blueberries, tomatoes and carrots contain antioxidants which can stabilize free-radicals-destructive cellular structures that have been implicated in everything from cancer to wrinklesand aging skin.* Health care professionals recommend drinking plenty of water, consuming antioxidants and avoiding cigarettes and excessive alcohol consumption to keep the skin looking healthy and youthful. And it goes without saying that we should limit our sun exposure. Nothing ages the skin faster than excessive sun damage.

* Martinez-Florez S, et al. Flavonoids: properties and anti-oxidizing action. J Nutr Hosp 2002 Nov-Dec;17(6):271-8.


References

1. National Institute on Aging, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, 1996.

2a. Saral y, et al. Protective effects of topical alpha-tocopherol acetate on UVB irradiation in guinea pigs: importance of free radicals. Physiol Res 2002; 51: 285-290, 2002.

2b. Nusgens B, et al. Topically applied vitamin C enhances the mRNA level of collagens I and III, their processing enzymes and tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinase 1 in the human dermis. J Invest Dermatol 2001; 116: 853-859.

3. Fitzpatrick RE, et al. Double-blind, half-face study comparing topical vitamin C and vehicle for rejuvenation of photodamage. Dermatol Surg 2002 Mar 28 (3): 231-6.

4. Varani J, et al. Molecular mechanisms of intrinsic skin aging and retinoid-induced repair and reversal. J Investig Dermatol Symp Proc 1998 Aug; 3 (1): 57-60.

5. Sorg O , et al. Retinol and retinyl ester epidermal pools are not identically sensitive to UVB irradiation and anti-oxidant protective effect. J Dermatol 1999;199 (4):302-7.

6. Lu C, et al. Interactions of lipoic acid radical cations with vitamins C and E analogue and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives. Arch Biochem Biophys 2002 Oct 1;406(1):78-84.

7. Goukassian D, et al. Mechanisms and implications of the age-associated decrease in DNA repair capacity. FASEB J 2000 Jul;14(10):1325-34.

8. Phillips TJ, et al. Hormonal effects on skin aging. Clin Geriatr Med 2001 Nov; 17(4):661-72, vi.

9. Araneo BA, et al. Dehydroepiandrosterone reduces progessive ischemia caused by thermal injury. J Invest Res, Aug 1995, 59 (2) p. 250-262.

10. Lee KS, et al. Effects of dehydroepiandrosterone on collagen and collagenase gene expression by skin fibroblasts in culture. J Dermatol Sci 2000 Jun;23(2):103-10.

11. Bangha E, et al. Suppression of UV-induced erythema by topical treatment with melatonin. A dose study. Arch Dermatol Res 1996; 288(9) 522-526.

2. Ryoo YW, et al. The effects of the melatonin on ultraviolet-B irradiated cultured dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci 2001 Nov;27(3):162-168.

13. Fischer TW, et al. Melatonin reduces UV-induced reactive oxygen species in a dose-dependent manner in IL-3-stimulated leukocytes. J Pineal Res 2001 Aug;31(1):39-45.

14. Manuskiatti W, et al. Hyaluronic acid and skin: wound healing and aging. Int J Dermatol 1996 Aug;35(8):539-44.

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