For years, when it came to fighting the common signs of aging, the beauty industry put its focus on topical treatments. Creams, lotions, masks and other cosmetic products were specially formulated to help smooth out wrinkles, restore elasticity and improve skin tone. While this is certainly an effective approach, in recent years there has been a significant shift to the use of supplements in order to fight aging and repair skin from the inside out.
While both types of treatment have their clear advantages, the more we learn about the biology behind aging, the more it becomes obvious that the use of supplements may actually be more effective. The reasons for this finding are twofold: they have to do with the type of substances contained in supplements and the ability of the body to properly breakdown and make use of these substances at a cellular level.
How the Aging Process Takes Place
To understand this better, we first have to understand exactly what happens during the aging process. The skin is made up of a network, or matrix, of collagen and elastin. These substances help to support the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. As we age, that matrix is slowly degraded, reducing that critical support structure and causing the epidermis to fold in on itself. The result is fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.
In fact, by age 45 most people will have lost approximately 30% of their collagen supply, so you can begin to see why this is such an issue. In order to improve the appearance of skin, then, it is essential to replenish the collagen and elastin that is lost as we age. Many skin creams and lotions are formulated to include collagen, the theory being that this collagen will be absorbed through the skin and will be able to erase wrinkles.
This actually works, but only to an extent. That’s because topical treatments only penetrate the outer layer of skin and the collagen molecules they contain, usually coming from bovine or porcine sources, are too large to be fully absorbed by the body. For this reason, the results produced by most topical treatments are, at best, temporary, lasting only until the next time you wash your face and hands and erase any trace of them.
Why Supplements Might Be a More Effective Option
Skin care supplements, on the other hand, are designed to work beneath the surface of your skin, on a cellular level. The collagen and other substances they contain can be more readily used by the body in order to replenish its natural supply. By doing so, the body is encouraged to repair itself and because this restoration happens far below the surface, the effects it produces are deeper seated and longer lasting.
Oral supplements can also bolster this restorative effect by including powerful antioxidants, substances that can provide protection from the damaging effects of the sun and pollutants. This is important as it is these built up toxins that are responsible for wearing away collagen and elastin in the first place. So, by taking supplements, not only are you helping your body repair itself you are also providing it with essential protection to ensure that no more damage occurs.
Of course, just taking a supplement isn’t enough to get the results you want. That’s because not all supplements are created equal, even if they are designed for anti-aging skin care. In order to get the best possible results, you need to look carefully at the list of ingredients for any supplement you consider taking. Since the individual molecules in bovine and porcine collagen are too large for the human body to process adequately, you should look instead for supplements that contain collagen from fish, particularly from the skin and not the scales, as collagen molecules from the scales require chemicals in order to break them down.
Another key ingredient to look for is grape seed extract, which is an excellent source of antioxidants, containing 50 times more antioxidant properties than Vitamin E. And extract from New Zealand grown grapes is even better in quality, as growing beneath the extra large hole in the ozone layer above New Zealand makes them better equipped to fight the damaging effects of the sun. This makes their extract even more potent than most others.
As effective as skin care supplements can be, they are still not a “magic pill” and taking one every day by itself is not enough to fully protect yourself from the effects of aging. As with most health care, eating right and getting the proper amount of exercise are equally important. Adding in a skin care supplement containing collagen from fish skin and grape seed extract from New Zealand to this daily routine can go a long way toward keeping your skin looking soft, smooth and youthful at any age.