Skincare from within
Everyone’s favourite compliment: “I thought you were younger than that!”
It used to be a source of vain pride that I’d still get asked for I.D. occasionally, even until my late 20s. Sadly, this now happens infrequently-to-never. The quest for a youthful face continues to sell A LOT of anti-ageing skincare, and major trends are anti-pollution and antioxidant products.
It makes sense because cellular damage - resulting in visible ageing - is caused by oxidative stress. You can read more about oxidative stress in an earlier blog post, but it’s essentially an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants.
UV accelerates the appearance of ageing - wrinkles and pigmentation - because it generates Reactive Oxygen Species (types of free radicals). So, as well as using SPF barriers to UV, using antioxidants to neutralise free radicals protects against ageing. Pollution contributes to oxidative stress too - we’re exposed to so many pollutants that the free radical load can overwhelm our antioxidant defences.
Skincare from within!
Although applying antioxidants topically does help the skin, we also need to think about our body’s overall health. The skin’s just the visible display - if it’s impacted by oxidative stress, then likely the whole body needs more antioxidants. We can improve our skin’s sensitivity to UV damage and sunburn when antioxidant levels are primed throughout the body - I definitely noticed this benefit on my recent beach holiday. I’m very pale and easily burnt with lots of freckling and moles, so sunscreen is essential. But I’ve been taking antioxidant supplements for months, and my skin wasn’t reddened and irritated as usual after lots of time in the sea, and walking in the sun. Except for my peeling feet that is….I forgot to put suncream on them before a long walk in flip flops!!
So, here are a few lovely ingredients that are popular to put on your face but can also be eaten and supplemented for optimal UV protective and anti-ageing skincare.
Often added to skincare and oil-based supplements as a preservative because of its antioxidant powers - you’ll see it listed as tocopherol. Seed and nut oils such as rosehip, jojoba, macadamia etc naturally contain lots of it and they make good anti-ageing skin oils. We should therefore also eat nuts, seeds and their cold-pressed oils. Vitamin E protects the skin against oxidative stress from UV and pollution and reduces collagen breakdown. Since it works all over the body as a fat-soluble antioxidant I take it in my daily multi to ensure a plentiful intake as well as using quality natural oils as a skin moisturiser.
Currently used in anti-pollution and anti-ageing face serums a lot. It’s well known as an important antioxidant and is needed for collagen synthesis. Humans are one of the only mammals (along with Guinea Pigs!) that can’t make Vitamin C - hence we have to ensure a good dietary intake through plentiful fresh fruit and vegetables.
CoQ10 has become a popular ingredient in skincare products too (also called ubiquinol or ubiquinone in ingredients). It’s an antioxidant and although it's made in the body, levels decline with age. It’s not just an excellent anti-ageing supplement from a skincare perspective - it works in your mitochondria as an antioxidant and for energy production, too. Lots of people take statin medications to lower cholesterol production and unfortunately, they accidentally impair your body’s production of CoQ10 at the same time. You won’t find CoQ10 in standard multivitamin formulas but there’s 30mg in Pollution Protection Daily Multi. I haven’t tried it topically, only as a supplement, so let me know if you’ve used it on your face and noticed any benefit?
Since it has such a complex of antioxidants, you could also call Pollution Protection Daily Multi a beauty formula! Remember that antioxidants work in synergy, some regenerate others, so in supplementing and topical application it’s best to have a complex. Of course, there are tons of other dietary factors for looking after skin, but we’ll have to look at those another time.
Thanks for reading! Below, a couple of ideas if you want to try some natural anti-ageing oils for the face.
I’m currently testing organic macadamia oil as a moisturiser. It has a light nutty smell, is easily absorbed and doesn’t give me spots - seemed fine in the sun on holiday too. But for a more rounded product, the nicest blended oils that I’ve tried recently are:
Cocorosa - ROSA Revive & Renew Face Oil
The essential oil fragrance is wonderful. I tried it for a week and saw a quick improvement in my skin. It has Vitamin A & Vitamin E in it, plus omega 3,5,6,7 & 9.
ILOVESKIN - FACE OIL +
This is hand made in London with multiple antioxidant-rich oils, and again smells fantastic - but for those with sensitive skin it’s also available sans essential oils. It’s formulated by Danielle, a Naturopath, so you know the oils have been chosen for their nutrient & antioxidant quality.
I found both of these brands at Rivers' Remedies in London - you could pop in if you like to try before you buy!!