Forever Young!

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Every woman is obsessed with her appearance; she always wants to look pretty and stay young. Wrinkles are her worst enemy and nightmare. As a result, the global market for skincare and cosmetics exceeded 53 billion dollars in 2002, and the number of new products brought to the market continues to expand exponentially. Cosmetic chemists are always looking for interesting and exotic ingredients that improve skin's appearance and health.

Wrinkles are mostly associated with aging. As we age, the cells of our skin become thinner and lose elasticity because of the decreased levels of collagen production in our body. Moreover, the fat cells just under the outer layer of our skin, which make the skin look supple, get smaller and lose their ability to fill out whatever gaps created by the damage that occurs in the inner layers of our skin with age. Hence, the skin sags, becomes dry and develops wrinkles.

On the other hand, spending too much time under the Sun with minimal or no protection at all causes the skin to be vulnerable to ultraviolet radiation. Sunlight causes the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, to become thinner, and encourages the overproduction of melanin, which eventually leads to skin cancer. Continued exposure to sunlight also causes the collagen in our skin to break down more rapidly.

Getting wrinkles is a natural process; it is something we cannot avoid, and it starts happening in our twenties and thirties. Thankfully, there are affordable and effective ways to hold back the formation of wrinkles and keep our skin looking younger for a longer time.

The Secret of Young Skin

Hyaluronic acid is a miracle agent that promises a lasting youthful look. It occurs naturally in the deeper layers of our skin, the dermis. It helps keep skin smooth and “plump” through its ability to hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. It also supports the formation and maintenance of collagen.

The ability of hyaluronic acid to bind water in large quantities, thereby acting as filler, makes it attractive for the beauty industry. The modeling of lips or padding of sunken scars is most often carried out by injecting hyaluronic acid under the skin. The skin, hence, regains its volume, becoming firmer, and wrinkles are reduced. Unfortunately, this treatment does not renew aging skin; it inflates it temporarily.

The Fountain of Youth

The cosmetic industry promotes a large number of different substances in skin creams that are advertized to give customers eternally youthful looks. The abbreviation Q10, contained in revitalizing creams, depicts a substance that can smooth out wrinkles.

When oxygen in cells is not completely converted to water, the so-called free radicals are formed. These particles are very reactive and cause chain reactions that can harm the cell, causing aging of the skin. Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like antioxidant, synthesized in the body and present in every cell; it plays a role in the production of energy. It also plays a role in the renewal of skin, fighting free radicals that damage skin cells; thus, delaying premature aging. It also improves the absorption of various vitamins by skin cells, as well as the natural cellular exchange and building of collagen in the skin.

As the concentration of Q10 decreases with age, radicals produced by stress can no longer be degraded; skin aging is the result. With anti-oxidant skin creams one tries to counteract this problem; Q10 creams help skin cells get an energy boost to fight back against environmental influences, and neutralize free radicals.

Not only creams, but Q10 food supplements are entering the rejuvenation market. The co-enzyme can be taken in the form of capsules, through which an increase in the concentration effect of Q10 in the body was proven. If you have a balanced diet, the Q10 concentration in the body is sufficient without the need of supplements. Oily fish; preferably mackerel or sardines, nuts, legumes, sunflower seeds, or the flesh of organs like that of liver represent an adequate source of Q10.

Seven Natural Ways to Cleanse Your Body

How you feel is linked to your body's ability to deal with toxins. Even given the best conditions, your body has plenty of work to do like digesting the fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in your diet. Add to that the impact of leading a stressful and/or deskbound life, breathing polluted air, etc, and the result is that your body is taking in more toxins than it can expel.

Toxins have various means of entering your body; they can get into your system by way of food, water, or even air. As they amass in your body, you detect their manifestation in your skin, your energy level, your susceptibility to illness, etc. To put a stop to the damage these toxins cause, detoxification is necessary.

The human body has the capacity to detoxify itself, but, because of pollutants and other factors that our body comes across every day, this natural ability sometimes becomes inactive. Unless you do something to eliminate toxins from your body, they will accumulate in the tissues over time, eventually leading to great damage. The good news is you can make small, everyday changes that will dramatically improve your health and wellbeing by enhancing your body's natural process of detoxification. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Avoid smoking and caffeinated beverages; they are loaded with harmful chemical substances that may damage internal organs in the long process.
  • Drink plenty of water; the kidneys cannot perform adequately without sufficient water intake. Kidneys remove waste such as uric acid, urea, and lactic acid.
  • Eat lots of fruits, whole grains, vegetables and foods high in fibers; these are excellent for flushing toxic residues out of the body.
  • Increase the intake of foods like beetroot, berries, broccoli, red grapes, spinach, and carrot; these foods contain antioxidants that fight free-radical attacks and inflammation, protecting the immune system and body cells.
  • Increase the intake of spices; they are excellent for the purposes of drawing toxins out of the body and leaving you feeling more energetic and healthier.
  • Eat plenty of raw garlic; it fights infection and disease; and, unlike antibiotics, does not harm our body's beneficial intestinal flora.
  • Take enough rest, exercise and sleep well. Exercise like walking and jogging are best recommended to maintain strong stamina and boost energy levels.

Mother Nature has all the keys to staying young and healthy. It is ridiculous that people spend so much money on plastic surgeries and medicines while all what we need is around us. You do not need products or supplements to obtain good health; a healthy diet can protect us from many diseases and save our money.

References
chemistry.about.com
free-beauty-tips.glam.com
lifemojo.com
mypureradiance.com
antioxidants-anti-aging-super-foods.com
suite101.com
chemistry-in-context.com
ultimate-cosmetics.com
holyland-cosmetics.com
enotes.com
helium.com

*Published in the PSC NewsletterSummer 2011 Issue.

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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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