Inner beauty seems to have suddenly become one of the most talked about trends in the beauty industry. But what exactly does it mean and should you be getting in on the new routine? With every Kylie, Kim and Khloe proclaiming the many benefits of supplements- from making your hair grow to dizzying lengths to smoothing away wrinkles – it’s important to understand what is fact and what is fiction.
Are your lifestyle choices causing these common skin complaints?
Your skin is your biggest defensive barrier between you and the outside world. If you are anything like me, your skin probably cops a bit of damage between exposure to pollution (thanks London traffic) and UV (my endless pursuit of a golden tan). Sun exposure is actually the biggest cause of premature ageing, followed closely by exposure to pollution, poor nutrition and other modern stressors- including stress itself. Essentially these environmental factors cause free radicals to form which directly attack your skin cells and can actually destroy collagen and elastin fibres. This can lead to fine lines, a loss of moisture, dullness and even skin sagging. Fortunately, our skin has an incredible ability to repair and regenerate itself. With the right combination of inner and outer beauty practices, it’s possible to repair damage, re-claim that glow and get a plump, youthful complexion worth tweeting about.Why you could be missing out if you don’t consider both your inner and outer beauty
Your skin essentially consists of two layers. The top most layer of our skin is incredibly thin. It’s called the epidermis and is like the thin outer rind on an orange. Your dermis, on the other hand, is a lot thicker and is what gives your skin its structure, tone and form. It’s where you’ll find most of the collagen and elastin in your skin and can be compared to the pith of an orange- the spongy white layer between the orange rind and the orange flesh.
Creams and serums, whilst great for supporting your epidermis, are unable to penetrate to the lower and largest layers of your skin. Your lower skin layer is what provides strength and elasticity, as well as giving nutritional support to the epidermis. The only way to support this layer is from within, which makes sense as your skin is the largest organ in your body- something the cosmetics industry often seems to forget! If you are only following an ‘outer’ skincare regime, you may be seriously selling yourself short. Without properly supporting both layers of your skin it’s fairly difficult (if not impossible) to achieve a holistic and long term solution to skin complaints like fine lines, dryness, dullness or a loss of tone and elasticity. The best things in life take time, persistence and a holistic approach. Your skin is no different.
The simple secret to great skin
The most beautiful faces on Instagram are blessed with a fantastic base to work with. Their skin is glowing, as smooth as velvet, and they seem to be impervious to the persistent pull of gravity and passage of time. If you ask any supermodel for the key to their gorgeous complexion, they’ll rattle off “sunscreen, water and diet”. There is a reason for this simple list of three key factors and it’s called science.
In the last decade, cosmetologists (essentially beauty scientists) have discovered the importance of ‘eating our beauty regime’. I know my mother always told me “I am what I eat”, but between the pull of Nutella plus Netflix and boozy nights out with the girls, I never sat down to seriously consider this statement. Even now, we’re still discovering the incredible power diet has on not just the quality of our skin, but also its power to influence our mood as well as our long term health.
Smooth fine lines and boost collagen
Whilst fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of getting older, the process can be significantly accelerated by our lifestyle. Making simple tweaks to your everyday routine can help you to repair and rejuvenate your skin and get a younger looking, more radiant complexion. It is never too late to make a change, but as always, the early you do it, the better!
The formation of wrinkles is thought to largely occur in the lower layer of your skin– where creams and serums simply cannot reach. The deterioration and loss of collagen and elastin fibres in your dermis results in structural (and visible) changes to the top layer of your skin. Whilst we typically lose around 1% of our collagen every year from the age of 25, too much UV, exposure to pollution and chemicals and even our diet can accelerate the degradation process. Luckily there is something we can do about it!
Decades of scientific research has proven that vitamin C can actually help support your body to naturally produce and replenish collagen. This can help improve skin firmness, elasticity and tone as well as smoothing and reducing the appearance of fine lines. As more than 70% of your body’s total collagen is found in your dermis, the best way to boost collagen production is through diet or choosing appropriate supplements that provide your body with the building blocks for creating collagen itself.
How antioxidants can make you look younger
When it comes to ageing, there is not much we can do about our gene pool. We’re either genetically going to age pretty well or we’re not. Lucky for us, our genetic make-up is only one part of the equation. Environmental factors have a significant role to play and there is much we can do to prevent their ageing effects. Plant based antioxidants, and vitamin C in particular, have been found to play a powerful role in neutralising and removing free radicals. This is good news when it comes to protecting our skin from free radical damage from the sun and pollution.
The question then becomes do we consume vitamin C or do we put it on our skin? Vitamin C based serums are all the rage right now. However the scientific research indicates that Vitamin C is both highly unstable and also is not readily absorbed by the skin. Vitamin E in combination with vitamin C may improve results, but the impact of vitamin C based products on the skin is largely up to the individual formulations. The broader effectiveness of the big C on top of your skin is still up for debate.
However when it comes to inner beauty, there are a number of very promising studies on the power of plant-based antioxidants and their role in skin health and youthfulness. Over 15 separate scientific studiesfound that the consumption of plant based antioxidants showed significant improvement in skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles as well as improving skin smoothness. One of the most studied antixoidants was vitamin C, and is fast becoming revered as an inner beauty anti-ageing hero.
How to boost your skin’s moisture
Another common skin complaint is dry skin. Particularly when we’re indoors and subject to either artificial heating or air conditioning. Dry skin worsens as we get older as specific types of fats, called ceramides, along with our skin’s natural moisturising factor, begin to deplete. These processes largely occur in the top layer of our skin making moisturisers and serums very useful in boosting skin moisture from on top of your skin.
Some studies have also shown that increasing your vitamin C consumption may help improve the ability of your skin to protect itself from water loss and even help diminish the appearance of fine lines.
How to choose a beauty supplement
There are so many different beauty supplements to choose from, with varying benefits. We recommend selecting products which reference the use of clinical trials or scientific studies. Extra points to those who actually offer direct links to the research which sits behind their claims.
We also prefer to opt for 100% natural products which nourish your skin and boost results by including the whole food matrix. Any product you find in pill form will have been manufactured in a lab- no matter how many times the word ‘natural’ appears on the packaging. Brands can actually claim to be natural if only 10% of their ingredients come from natural sources. We recommend looking for products which can boldly state ‘100% natural’. This becomes even more important given recent scientific developments. A number of studies have discovered that the active component in fruit and vegetables which is responsible for the improvement in skin elasticity, firmness and suppleness could not actually be isolated. Instead, scientists believe that the visible results on skin radiance and firmness were due to the consumption of whole foods and the associated benefits of polyphenols, antioxidants and other plant-based nutrients.