The skin is our largest organ. It’s our body’s barrier against bacteria and pollution. It’s also the largest signifier of our age and our health. As we age, our skin loses collagen, causing wrinkles and sagging. Age spots and dryness also contribute to people’s perception of our age and health.1
Before you go and spend a fortune on expensive face creams that promise to give you healthy and younger-looking skin, you might first want to try these simple, more cost-effective steps.
Hydrate from within
Drinking 2 liters of water a day can significantly impact superficial and deep skin hydration.2 To help you consume more water in the day, carry a bottle around with you and take small sips.
Tea, especially green tea, is also a great drink for your skin. Green tea has a higher level of antioxidants, that may help protect your cells from the radiating effects of the sun, tobacco smoke and other pollutants.3
A recent study confirmed that drinking green tea protects the skin from sun damage and increases the skin’s resistance to pollutants.4
Speaking of antioxidants, there are plenty of foods that are rich in antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and selenium.
Avocados, walnuts, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes bell peppers, broccolib and even dark chocolate are all great sources of antioxidants.5
Omega 3 has long been known to help skin health6 - oily fish, chia seeds and walnuts are all good sources of omega 3s.7
Wear creams with SPF 15+
Sun exposure is an important way for our bodies to develop essential vitamin D, but it’s a nightmare for our skin. Sunscreens with SPF absorb, scatter, and block harmful UV radiation before it gets to our skin. While some level of SPF is effective, SPF 15 and above gives you the maximum benefit.8
You’ll want to hit the hay a little earlier from now on. Sleep deprivation from conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea are linked to a number of skin conditions and to aging.9 Your body is healing itself as you sleep; so you’ll give all those antioxidants you’ve been eating more of a chance to work their magic if you get your zzzs in.
Choose your face cream wisely
When choosing a face cream that promises the world, make sure you do your research. Unlike drugs, which make medical claims about their physiological effects, cosmetics do not have to be approved by the FDA.
However, some skincare products marketed as cosmetics make drugs claims, saying that they can affect the structure of your skin. Such drugs claims include promising to increase collagen and elastin production for skin that is more elastic and firmer.10 These claims have not been approved by the FDA, and may not be backed scientifically.
However, moisturizing your skin can help it appear healthier and also prevent water from evaporating through your skin. Studies have also shown that topical antioxidants (applied to the skin) may help with the appearance of aging.11 As we have already covered, a cream that contains SPF 15+ will also help keep your skin healthy and looking young.
Aside from the cosmetic benefits of looking after your skin, eating healthily, drinking plenty of water and protecting your skin from sun damage will help protect you again other common health problems.
What to do if you are concerned
If you are concerned that you may have a skin condition, have troubles sleeping, or would like more detailed advice about how protect your skin, talk to your primary care physician. BronxDocs medical offices are located in Central and South Bronx. Visit our medical offices page to find a doctor near you or schedule an appointment.
1. Shanbhag, Shreya et al. “Anti-aging and Sunscreens: Paradigm Shift in Cosmetics.” Advanced pharmaceutical bulletin vol. 9,3 (2019): 348-359. doi:10.15171/apb.2019.042 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31592127
2. Palma, Lídia et al. “Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics.” Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology vol. 8 413-21. 3 Aug. 2015, doi:10.2147/CCID.S86822 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4529263/
3. Kelly, F. “Dietary antioxidants and environmental stress.” (2004) Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 63(4), 579-585. doi:10.1079/PNS2004388
4. Prasanth, Mani Iyer et al. “A Review of the Role of Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) in Antiphotoaging, Stress Resistance, Neuroprotection, and Autophagy.” Nutrients vol. 11,2 474. 23 Feb. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11020474
5. Jones, T RD. “The 12 Best Foods for Healthy Skin” (September 13, 2018) Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-foods-for-healthy-skin
6. Huang, Tse-Hung et al. “Cosmetic and Therapeutic Applications of Fish Oil's Fatty Acids on the Skin.” Marine drugs vol. 16,8 256. 30 Jul. 2018, doi:10.3390/md16080256
7. Jones, T RD, The 12 Best Foods for Healthy Skin (September 13, 2018) Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-foods-for-healthy-skin
8. Shetty PK et al. “Development and evaluation of sunscreen creams containing morin-encapsulated nanoparticles for enhanced UV radiation protection and antioxidant activity.” Int J Nanomedicine. 2015;10:6477–91. doi: 10.2147/ijn.s90964.
9. Walia, Harneet K, and Reena Mehra. “Overview of Common Sleep Disorders and Intersection with Dermatologic Conditions.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 17,5 654. 30 Apr. 2016, doi:10.3390/ijms17050654
10. FDA staff. “Are Some Cosmetics Promising Too Much?” (2015) Retrieved from: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/are-some-cosmetics-promising-too-much
11. Humbert, P.G. “Topical ascorbic acid on photoaged skin. Clinical, topographical and ultrastructural evaluation: double‐blind study vs. placebo.” Experimental Dermatology Vol 12, Iss3. 237-244. June 2003, doi:10.1034/j.1600-0625.2003.00008.x