Beauty
The Fountain of Youth May Be Found in The Kitchen
Everything you need to know about food-derived skincare ingredients and how your eating habits really affect your skin.
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Eating healthy is one thing, slathering food onto your body is another. Both are good for your skin, but most of the time, the latter does more. While there are many dietary substances in what you eat that are good for the skin, “simply ingesting them may reduce their efficacy because the stomach’s acidic content wipes out most of what’s in your food,” says Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo of The Aivee Insitute. “Applying them topically helps ensure that the essentials go directly to the different layers of the skin. It is better to specially formulate ingredients at certain concentrations to allow for maximum absorption.”

While there are many dietary substances in what you eat that are good for the skin, “simply ingesting them may reduce their efficacy because the stomach’s acidic content wipes out most of what’s in your food...”

Thanks to modern science, more and more beauty products utilize food and discover new functions for popular ingredients, from mushrooms and grapefruit to durian and tea, for breakthroughs in skin treatments. “Today, topical product application is a cornerstone of anti-aging and basic skin health regimens,” agrees Dr. Ada Bautista Atilano of the Medical City’s dermatology department.


Feed Your Face

If you eat tomatoes for lycopene, you can also apply them on your face. Lycopene has been recently found to help increase UV protection when combined with other skincare anti-oxidants such as vitamin A and E. The most recent breakthrough with this vegetable, however, uses white tomatoes. “The colorless carotenoids found in the skin of this special tomato make skin young and glowing,” shares Teo. “It is also a rich source of antioxidants that fight against free radicals—the ones responsible for damaging cells and aging—making the skin younger and protecting it.”

Pomegranate and grapefruit, apart from possessing lycopene, have also long been used in healthcare, with their cancer-fighting compounds, hyperpigmentation-preventing extracts, and doses of vitamin C, which when applied topically, help diminish wrinkles and boost your skin’s natural SPF. “Obtaining the adequate level of vitamin C supports overall health, thus having an indirect influence on the skin. Studies show that co-administration of vitamin C topically is recommended for maximum skin benefit,” stresses Atilano.

Carbonated drinks and processed foods increase the acid levels in the blood and force the body to focus on reducing its pH. The blood seeks minerals to neutralize the acidity of the carbonated beverage and draws calcium and minerals from your bones...

Food extracts have also found great use for UV protection. Take for instance the use of cantaloupe melon. Organically farmed melon provides an exceptional concentrate of superoxide dismutase. When infused in sunscreen, it becomes an anti-aging extract and neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals (caused by pollution, stress, and the environment). “Increasingly, research confirms that the skin follows circadian rhythms—protective during the day and reparative at night,” says Atilano. “So you match that with the corresponding products. Apply protective sunscreen every morning.”

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Moisturizers, retinoids, and reparative peptides should be applied in the evening, as “there is an increase in microcirculation and water loss in order to support skin repair,” adds Atilano. You may hate durian for its pungent smell and you may never even eat it, but the fruit, which grows in tropical countries and is known to keep one’s hydration when eaten, has recently been found to possess great promise when it comes to skin repair and antiaging, thanks to its glycerin and hyaluronic acid content, which apparently also draws water and moisture in the skin when applied topically. The area around the eyes is very important if only because this part cannot and does not produce its own moisture, making it prone to wrinkles if not given necessary care. Products such as Murad’s Intensive Wrinkle Reducer, specifically designed for this delicate area, utilize durian extracts.

Pollution Defense: Clear Improvement, Dr. Weil Mega Mushroom Treatment Lotion, Serum, Smarty Plant #PollutionDefense ????

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Mushrooms, too, have been exciting many scientists for continuous discoveries on their anti-aging, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Extracts of shiitake mushrooms, for instance, were recently discovered to help in preventing the breakdown of the skin’s collagen, which is responsible for making the skin supple, young, and moist. Dr. Andrew Weil of Origins has been developing skincare products for its Mega-Mushroom line, all fortified with various species like chaga and pleurotus that have been proven to provide defense against photodamage and other aging factors.

Studies have revealed that drinking green tea directly influences skin health especially over time, thus, many scientists have found ways of transforming the drink into consumer beauty products for faster, better effectiveness. “People who consume lots of green tea are shown to have antioxidants in their skin,” states Atilano. “More recently, both animal and human studies have credibly demonstrated that topical green tea formulations reduce sun damage by quenching free radicals and reducing inflammation.” Topical green tea may also synergistically enhance sun protection when used in addition to a sunscreen such as zinc oxide.

Key ingredients matter. (#rg: @anthro_poncecitymarket_)

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The Eat List

While limited, some ingested agents can directly influence skin health as well. And of course, eating right will always be the simplest way to look younger. Teo suggests vegetables and fruits that are high in antioxidants such as pineapples, raisins, mangosteens, and all the types of berries. Similarly, Atilano recommends what she calls a “Mediterranean” type of diet that consists of green leafy vegetables, olive oil, lemons, and limes that avoid refined sugars and flours, thus maintaining the body’s pH level for a healthier skin.

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What else can accelerate aging? "Deep fried foods,” adds Teo. “They contain free radicals, believe it or not, and contribute to skin aging.

It is important to maintain the body’s pH level—slightly alkaline—which allows it to function best. “The ideal pH for human blood is 7.4, and the body will undertake all necessary processes to maintain that pH. Carbonated drinks and processed foods increase the acid levels in the blood and force the body to focus on reducing its pH. The blood seeks minerals to neutralize the acidity of the carbonated beverage and draws calcium and minerals from your bones, the body’s primary mineral stores,” shares Atilano.

What else can accelerate aging? “Deep fried foods,” adds Teo. “They contain free radicals, believe it or not, and contribute to skin aging.  Processed foods, on the other hand, contain excess salt, additives, and sugars that are also not good for the skin because they elevate blood sugar levels, which increase free-radical damage and destroy skin tissue.” A tip: Limit your sugar intake to 10 percent or less of your total daily calorie intake.


Going Organic

Does organic food really make a difference? Well, more studies confirm that than otherwise. “Healthy soil equals healthy food equals healthy people” is a fundamental tenet of many organic farming systems. “Organic advocates claim organically grown foods are nutritionally superior because such foods contain higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids,” says Atilano. “On the other hand, the mainstream scientific community disputes these claims, arguing instead that nutritional differences do not exist.” Recently though, several studies have proven that organic crops contain significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly fewer nitrates than conventional crops. The same advantage applies when it comes to meat and dairy. “They differ vastly from their conventional counterparts. These animals are not given hormones nor antibiotics nor have different diets. Most organically raised animals are grass fed and so they have a lower fat content. organic milk is much better than conventional milk, because of its higher nutritional value and lower fat content,” says Teo.

Several studies have proven that organic crops contain significantly more vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus and significantly fewer nitrates than conventional crops. The same advantage applies when it comes to meat and dairy.

Finally, fat is not always to be feared. not all fats are fattening, according to Teo. “Good fats are unsaturated fats that help fight diseases that consuming excess fat causes. They have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels, metabolism, and the skin, hair, and nails,” she says. “These fats are usually found in cold-water fish, nuts, oils, seeds, and also in some dark leafy greens.”

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Nicole Limos
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