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Supplements and Skin

By: BettyLou McIntosh and Flo McRae
Posted: May 30, 2008, from the June 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Let’s face it—some things in life are inevitable, and aging is one of them. With today’s new techniques and knowledge, people are now able to go on the attack to prevent it or slow it down. This generation of people is refusing to bend to something that billions have accepted gracefully in the past. The best approach when fighting aging is through an integrated lifestyle involving a synergy of prevention activities, including how diet, exercise, environment and sun protection can help prevent or delay the signs of aging and even extend lifespans.

One important tactic to slowing down the aging of the body is providing antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins through diet. But, according to legitimate scientific studies, the American diet is seriously deficient in providing these critical nutrients to stop or slow down the aging process.1, 2 So, should eating habits be overhauled to correct this deficiency? Experts say that just eating to correct the chronic lack of two of the essential nutrients—vitamin E (400 IU daily) and chromium (50 mcg daily)—would require a daily intake of 5,000 calories; an amount that would lead to massive weight gain and the accompanying contraindicative effects.3, 4 And will 5,000 calories really do it? How many calories will really be needed to provide these nutrients?

Visible signs of aging

Aging is not difficult to detect. The visible signs are lack of hydration, appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, rough texture, hyperpigmentation and thinning of the skin. Your skin is aging right before your eyes, so most people become specifically interested in a targeted strategy for its age management. You can effectively guide your clients to maximum results in this track of care.

To do so, you must know the skin well—as the largest organ of the body, it works 24/7 to maintain a protective barrier between the body and its environment; to protect from the sun, and to act as a depository and dispensary for toxins and acid waste. The skin is abused and overworked.

Until now, the strategy has been to apply topicals as defense against aging, and it’s working, thanks to the ingredients developed in recent years. These nurture and exfoliate, soften and hydrate, bringing repair and a new youthfulness to the skin. But, a vast amount of the skin’s basic nutrition comes from diet. It is possible to go even further in managing skin aging by improving what is consumed.

The winning team