Caring for the Skin You re In

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					    Caring for the Skin You’re In:
A guide to African American Skin Care
Disclaimer: This guide is meant to give advice and to inform individuals of the available options in the area of skin
health and cosmetic care. This does not replace advice from your doctor or other specialist (e.g.. nutritionist). Please
consult the appropriate specialist before beginning any diet, exercise routine, using of intensive products, or electing for
any cosmetic procedure.
Table of Contents


   A Look At Skin Dynamics……………………………..........................…...........................................6

   Skin and Aging……………………………........................................................................................7
    What Causes Aging?

The Uniqueness of Darker skin……………………..........................…………..................................11

    Melanin: Pigment and Protection

    Melanin’s anti-aging property

    Melanin’s drying effect and reactivity

    Melanin and Vitamin D

    African Americans and Melanoma: A highly lethal combination

Establishing a Skincare Regimen………………………………..........................................................14

    The Importance of skincare as you age……………………………….........................................14

    Makeup of a skin care Product……………………………….....................................................14



    Beauty Needs………………………………..............................................................................15



        Toners and Astringents



    Skin Type Factor……………………………….........................................................................18

    Intensive Treatments for home………………………………....................................................20

        Chemical Peels At-Home

        Facial Massage

    Essential tools in the fight against aging…………………………………………………………….23


        Tea Extracts

       Resveratrol: The Future of Anti-Aging?

       Hydroxy acids

       Coenzyme Q10

   When skin regimen isn’t enough………………………….........................…….........................27



       Juvéderm vs. Restylane


       Meso therapy

   Natural treatments in your kitchen (or in a bottle)……………………..........................….......31



       Coconut Oil

       Vitamin C serum



Nutrition: THE key to long term beauty…………………………..........................…….................34

   What does diet have to do with it? A lot.

   Star vitamins and minerals………………………………...........................................................36

       Vitamin A

       Vitamin B complex

       Vitamin C

       Topical Application of Vitamin C: Does it work?

       Vitamin E

       Vitamin K

       Vitamin K for dark eyes: Truth or hype?




           Omega-3 fatty acids

       Pro-aging Lifestyle - Cigarettes Junk and Stress……………………........................………….....45


           Junk food

           Fiber: More than nature’s laxative


           Tips for Getting the Most out of your Diet

       If you were to create skin-friendly meals, they might look like this…........................…..……48

   Exercising your way to better skin……………………………….....................................................49

   Selected References………………………………...........................................................................50

   About the Author, Juliette Samuel……………………………………………………………………….52


Your skin is an amazing organ. Not only does it protect our body against countless elements in the
environment, it is also an ornament of beauty. Well kept skin can be radiant and awe-inspiring.

Unfortunately, our skin, like one of your more gossipy friends, really doesn't know how to keep
secrets. Unlike a bad kidney or heart, the state of your skin is immediately apparent to all. It openly
displays all the problems you may be having with your body – from an ashy pallor to spots to
serious rashes. It is also deceptive. A person of good health may have bad skin.

Your skin also openly displays your age. A once youthful display of epidermis becomes victim to
age spots, wrinkles, and a dullness that leaves you thinking: "What the hell happened here?!"

Too many women easily accept the conditions of their skin, or they go directly for the cosmetic
procedures at the doctor’s office. But one thing that every dermatologist knows is that the skin can
tell the story of your habits, and it is important for long-term skin health that habits change.
African American women have the luxury of a pigment known as melanin. Its spectacular properties
protect us from the sun’s cancer-inducing rays. Yet, too many women of color rely on pigment
alone for protection.

Also, with the poor availability of information available, many black women adopt advice towards
skin care meant for Caucasian skin, which has different needs. So rather than follow skin advice
meant to give you a rosy hue, read this book, which is meant to address the many issues that black
women deal with concerning their skin.

      A Look At Skin Dynamics

The integument, or skin, is so dynamic and complex that it is actually considered an organ, the
largest in the body. It has an average thickness of only 0.10 inches, yet it is made up of several
interactive layers that perform functions necessary for the upkeep of your skin and body.

The outermost layer, or epidermis is composed of a relatively tough outer lamina of the skin known
as keratinocytes. Keratinocytes are actually made in a lower skin level and then are pushed up.
When you shower, cleanse, or exfoliate, you are actually removing the older keratinocytes and
allowing newer cells to reach the surface. This way, we have a new layer of skin every month.

Below these cells is the stratum corneal level, which is waterproof and helps to functions as a
physical barrier against pathogens. If you cut yourself shaving or use product that is too abrasive,
you can damage this essential layer. This makes the way for harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi to
enter your skin. Yikes! Along the basal layer of the epidermis are the highly talked about
melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. We’ll discuss melanin later.

Below the epidermis is the dermis, a much thicker stratification of fibrous and elastic tissue that
contains the proteins that give our skin its firmness, flexibility, and strength. It is also highly
vascularized, with numerous blood vessels providing nutrients to the skin. In addition, the dermis
includes sweat glands, sebaceous glands (they secrete sebum, a moisturizing and antimicrobial oil
produced by the body), as well as nerve endings and hair follicles. Your hair and nails receive
nutrients from these blood vessels. It is also essential in the care of your skin.

Below the dermis is an insulating fat layer that keeps the body warm or cool. Its thickness varies
with the part of the body and overall weight as well.

The skin is so much more than a body covering, though. The skin is essential in the synthesis of
vitamin D, which usually takes place in the dermis. It is the first line of defense against disease-
causing pathogens (another reason to care for your skin). The dermal layers also store nutrients and
pigments. It is all too essential to care for your skin.

Skin and Aging

Getting older can be an amazing transformation for your psyche. You often gain wisdom and a
greater understanding of yourself and the world around you. However, age unleashes a host of
problems with your skin. A once firm epidermis will begin to sag and form the crevices that are
notoriously called wrinkles. Hallow areas also begin to form on your face, as the fat layer of your
skin thins. The skin thins considerably and looses a lot of radiance, leading to a harsher feel and
duller appearance. Pores increase in size and become even more visible than before. Blackheads
and age spots appear where there were none before or become more prominent. For many
individuals, aging skin is also marked by the appearance of darkened areas (especially around the
eyes) and spider veins elsewhere in the body. It is no wonder that aging has such a negative

It is interesting to note that something you may already know, that African Americans age more
slowly than their lighter-skinned counterparts. This is in great part due to the naturally thicker skin
present in black people. However, according to a study, even though this may delay the signs of
aging, the extra skin weight is not handled well by our skeletal systems. For this reason, once aging
signs set in, they tend to be more pronounced with blacks. This often leaves us with often deeper
lines and wrinkles and more saggy skin.

Aging is a very natural process that everyone of a particular age must eventually face. The natural
and unpreventable aspects of aging are called the intrinsic signs. Your environment, which is the
lifestyle you make for yourself or are placed into, also play a huge part in the aging of your skin and
body. A combination of poor protection against the elements, the foods you eat, how you care for
your skin, amongst other things, are lethal to the health of your skin. They lead to many problems,
known as the extrinsic signs. In addition to rough leathery skin, age spots often appear on the
hands, face, and back. Freckles and rashes can also debut on your skin, tarnishing a once more
polished exterior. External factors also aggravate wrinkles, contribute to skin elasticity and the
formation of spider veins on the face, and of course, skin cancer. Later, we’ll discuss the myth that
skin cancer is a ‘white people’s disease.’

The amazing thing about aging is, with proper care, many signs can be significantly delayed or

What causes aging?

Why do we have to get older anyway? It’s not so much that we have to get old as it’s the fact that
our body just gets worn out, tired of years of service.

Scientifically, our body services us through metabolism. Metabolism is a very general term
describing all of the processes that take place in our body. Broadly, our body functions to replenish
and detoxify, as there is a constant breakdown and buildup of molecules every second. As cells,
proteins, and other body structures are broken down, the body replaces them. As we slough off the
top layer of our epidermis, the same amount of keratinocytes replaces them. As our blood vessels
wear down due to the massive volume it handles every day, new cells and proteins are synthesized to
patch up any damaged spots. So even though a high metabolism has been championed as the key to
losing weight, it is really essential to staying young and vital.

However, as your body ages, it starts to get lazy. Those keratinocytes
you removed from exfoliating last night? As you get older, it may decide to replace only 95% of
them. Later, that number may fall to 90% and thus a downward spiral is ensued. Your blood
vessels may fall into disrepair because the cells that make up these all-important transporting tunnels
die, there are less cells to replace them. What about all of the proteins that make your skin so firm
and fabulous? These proteins, such as collagen and elastin, are made in lesser quantities as you age.
Simply imagine the scaffolding of a building under construction. Aging of the skin can be equated
to removing beams from the scaffold, a little at a time. Eventually, the building (your skin) begins to
sag from lack of support.

The other factor in aging is oxidants. Many of the reactions that take place in your body use oxygen,
which is one of the elements essential for life. Oxygen reactions usually produce an ugly byproduct,
some sort of oxygen derivative. This oxygen molecule becomes radicalized, which means that it has
lost its stability and is literally a danger to everything around it.

In order to imagine the effect a radicalized oxygen derivative (oxidant) has on the body, imagine that
you (a stable molecule) are driving on the freeway and you spot a driver that is out of control (the
oxidant). His car swerves from lane to lane, hitting many cars and causing damage to their sides or
fenders. The trouble doesn’t end there. Each time he hits another car, the out-of-control driver
creates a domino affect. Each car hit swerves out of control and hits other cars on the freeway,
damaging them and creating a stream of swerving vehicles. As tragic as it sounds, this is a regular
event in the body, though it can be regulated by antioxidants (more about them later). As you get
older, the body is less able to regulate the increasing amount of oxidants, even with antioxidants
present. Your entire body is affected by this, from your lungs to muscles to skin, wearing them all
down and making them less effective.

The Uniqueness of Darker Skin

It is no secret that our skin is different from all others shades. Black skin has been the subject of
politics, the justification of discrimination, for hundreds of years. Yet our color is not due to the old
pseudoscientific theories claiming blacks to be of a different species of human all together. All the
trouble is due to a simple compound in our skin known as melanin.

Melanin: pigment and protection

Melanin is a pigment present in the skin’s stratum corneum and is made by cells known as
melanocytes. Every person in the world contains the DNA gene that codes for melanin, but in
lighter-skinned individuals, the gene is inactive (although in some instances, lighter people .The
gene’s activity regulates the synthesis of melanin, and the degree of regulation causes the great
variance in skin shades amongst blacks, Hispanics, and darker-skinned Asians.
Melanin’s anti-aging property

Dark skin is good for so much more than its beautiful hue. Melanin actually has photochemical
properties, and its presence allows for the mediation of light and heat conduction. Because blacks
traditionally lived in Sub-Saharan Africa, through which the equator runs, melanin was and is
necessary to combat the more direct and intense sunlight and heat. Heat and sunlight are two
environmental factors that can greatly accelerate aging of the skin.

Melanin’s drying effect and reactivity

Melanin is not unique to dark-skinned individuals. In fact, it is known to appear in nature amongst
insects, plants, and animals, where it sometimes assumes the role of an antimicrobe (yet another
benefit of melanin)! Studies have also shown that human melanin has a similar effect, helping to
inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi. However, one of the side effects of this property is dry
skin, and problems with dry skin are very common amongst African Americans.

Melanin is also a pretty reactive molecule, causing hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation with
even slight injuries or contact with certain chemicals. Additionally, some antibiotics, such as
quinolone, have been found to accumulate in melanocytes and cause sensitivity to light. This can
greatly reduce a black person’s natural protection against sunlight.

Melanin and Vitamin D

There is also another problem that arises with melanin, and that is the synthesis of Vitamin D.
Although we find that many products are fortified with this vitamin, your body contains a precursor
that, in sunlight, is converted into its active form of Vitamin D. Because equatorial areas have so
much sunlight, not much exposure is needed to get one’s daily requirement of Vitamin D.

However, because millions of blacks are living in the United States and Europe, where there is
significantly less sunlight, Vitamin D deficiency has become more common for blacks.

This is worrisome because of the recent findings claiming that a deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to
a gateway of problems. Studies have linked insufficient Vitamin D levels to diabetes, several types
of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. So, skin health aside, it is important
for African Americans to get the recommended dietary allowance of Vitamin D, which varies
between 200 and 600 IU.

African Americans and Melanoma: A highly lethal combination

If you ask the average black person in America if they use sunscreen, you will likely get a resounding
‘No.’ And if you then ask the average black person if they are at all worried about getting skin
cancer, even well educated blacks may regard you as a nut.

It is true that for years, dermatologists have downplayed the need for African Americans to protect
their skin from the sun. And although melanin provides a significant shield against harmful rays,
many dermatologists are now recommending that African Americans use sunscreen, because even
though skin cancer is less common amongst blacks, when it does happen, it is almost always lethal.
Melanoma (the most lethal form of skin cancer) for Caucasians is usually diagnosed by the presence
of a mole in an area of frequent sun exposure. However, dermatologists have discovered that for
African Americans, it is a lot less straightforward, as the cancerous mole often appears in an area
where there is very little sun exposure, commonly the sole of the foot. This leads to a misdiagnosis or
disregard of the mole and it is often only when the cancer is more advanced that it is diagnosed.
However, by then, it is usually too late.

Do not take your dark skin for granted. Use sunscreen regularly to protect against skin cancer.

Establishing a Skincare Regimen

The importance of skin care as you age

Although your skin goes through a lot as you age, proper care can help transform your epidermis
into a covering worth of envy.

Types of beauty products and how to use them (noting skin type) (tips, waiting, skin products that stimulate
production, retinol, hyaluronic acid, minerals and vitamins)

Makeup of a skin care product

Skin products often contain humectants and emollients, two essential ingredients in moisturizers
and/or cleansers.


Humectants are moisturizing compounds that draw water from the dermis to the epidermis, leaving
skin more pliable and flexible and less prone to cracking. These ingredients also form a seal that
prevents outside chemicals from entering into you dermis (and thus, into your body). Common
humectants include glycerin, sodium lactate, gelatin, hyaluronic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA).


Emollients are another key ingredient in both moisturizers and cleansers. These compounds
function as lubricators in the stratum corneum. They help to maintain a smooth and soft
appearance in the skin by filling in between the crevices (fine lines) that appear in the skin. Of
course, this effect is just temporary, and any reduction in fine lines may diminish as soon as the
emollient is washed away. Actyl dodecanol, isopropyl myristate, and oleyl oleate are some emollients
that appear in beauty products.

Beauty Needs

The beauty industry is overflowing with products it claims you need to keep your skin radiant and
healthy. However, make sure you have these essentials in your medicine cabinet.

Using a moisturizer is perhaps one of the two most important things a person can do to keep their
skin healthy. We are exposed to an amazing amount of elements, and many of them dry our
epidermis by shriveling otherwise plump and youthful skin cells. The result is skin that is dull in
appearance, premature wrinkles, and the development of germ-inviting cracks. Some more severe
cases may grant the skin a reddish hue due to frequent irritation.

Furthermore, as you age, your skin produces less oils to keep it moist. It is normal for women after
menopause to experience drier skin.


Using a cleanser for your body is also extremely important. Regular cleansing rids your skin and
pores of the dirt and chemicals that accumulate throughout the day. It also removes any excess oil.
Because of the harshness of some cleansers, it may be beneficial to avoid soaps that contain sodium
lauryl sulfate (a strong detergent found in face and body cleansers) and opt for products that have
glycerin instead.

Also, depending on the dryness of your skin, you may want to limit the use of hot water. Even
though a steamy shower can feel great against the skin, it is actually quite dehydrating. Consistent
hot showers strip the skin of protective proteins and fats, and can lead to skin problems. Try
lukewarm water instead.

Because many African Americans have drier skin than their lighter-skinned counterparts, it is okay
to use cleanser only once a day. Choose the evening time to cleanse face in order to get rid of all the
dirt accumulated during the day.

    Toners and Astringents

Toner and astringents are remnants of a previous era when cleansers were so heavy that they left
residue on the skin. These products remove excess dirt and oil. However, most dermatologists
agree that they are only necessary if you have really oily skin. Many toners and astringents contain
alcohol which is drying, and for those of us with skin that is dry, normal, or not too oily, a good
cleanser alone will do the job.


Exfoliators are also hot market items these days. These products are a mild form of chemical
peels. A good exfoliator functions to slough off dead skin and make way for new skin cells
(keratinocytes). With regular use, the right exfoliator can result in fresher, brighter skin. It can also
help other skincare products better penetrate your skin's surface.

There are several types of exfoliators, the most common being sugar-based and salt-based. Salt-
based exfoliators are known to cause irritation to recently shaven skin and may be avoided. Also,
exfoliators with sea salt do not provide any known scientific benefit, despite all of the hype.
Some exfoliators use other naturally abrasive ingredients, such as coconut. Other more expensive
yet use microbeads (often touted as home microdermabrasion kits, more about them later).

Exfoliation is not for everyone. These products should not be used on skin that is extra dry, flaky,
or hypersensitive. It is most beneficial to those with normal to oily skin types.

If you do decide to use exfoliators, limit use to 2-3 times a week on the face and 2-4 times a week on
other parts of the body. Rub product against skin firmly and in a circular motion. Don't use when
skin is more than a little wet and limit use to the evening, as exfoliation makes skin more sensitive to


For many years, black men and women have not even bothered to take notice of the sunscreen
products in the beauty aisle. However, with the increasing information warning about the danger
that skin cancer poses even to African-Americans, it is well worth the time and money to consider
using sunscreen.

Sunscreen comes in many SPFs, or ‘skin protection factors.’ Sunscreens range in SPF values from 2
to 70 and above. A person who normally sunburns after 20 minutes in the sun will have a little
over 2 hours of protection while wearing a SPF 15 sunscreen (20 minutes X SPF 15 = 130 minutes,
or 2 hours and 10 minutes)

Another reason to wear sunscreen? Diabetes and high blood pressure make your body more
susceptible to sunburn, and these two conditions are prevalent especially amongst older African

A more recent development has shown that although most sunscreens protect against the UVB rays
that cause skin cancer, many do not protect against UVA rays, which are notorious for their aging
effect. Except, that is, for sunscreens that contain a compound known as mexoryl, developed by
L’Oreal in the 1990’s.

Sunscreen should be applied approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure for maximum
protection. Choose sunscreens that also contain moisturizers and those that are waterproof.
However, even waterproof and sweat-proof products need to be reapplied if you use a towel to wipe
your body. Also, it is very important that you reapply sunscreen at regular intervals (depending on
SPF). A recent study published in the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine found that when
sunscreen is kept on for too long (without being reapplied), ingredients in the product actually
generate free radicals that let more UV radiation penetrate the skin.

Skin Type Factor

It is important to note that your skincare regimen will vary depending on your skin type. For
example, those with oily skin may not need moisturizers and may find benefit in toners or
astringents. Also, they should avoid the heavy emollients such as cocoa butter and oleic acid.

Generally, it is recommended that African Americans use products that are geared towards sensitive
skin. The simple guidelines for sensitive skin include using moisturizers with minimal ingredients
and testing all skin products against a patch of skin before using it over a wider area. In addition,
there are ingredients that are known to be problematic for sensitive skin, including lanolin,
propylene glycol, and quaternium 15.
Intensive treatments for home

Along with your daily regimen, you may need to include special intensive treatments, especially as
you get older.

      Chemical Peels At-Home

Infomercials have raved about these kits, chemical peels that you can do at home. These are a
weaker alternative to the procedures performed at a doctor’s office. However, many still provide
significant results, especially if your skin is just beginning to show signs of age. Check the
ingredients if available. Chemical peel kits should contain salicylic or glycolic acid, resorcinol, PPT,
sulfur, and phenol, the same ingredients used by a dermatologist, but in lower concentrations. To
see dramatic differences, it is best to make a doctor’s appointment. Some less intensive treatments
involve the use of clay masks and facials. The effect of most of these products is quite limited.

      Facial massage

A practice that began in spas and is now making its way to American homes is the facial massage
technique. One proponent of the practice claims that in as little as seven days, doing a facial
massage the proper way can result in a face lift. Another proponent shows pictures of herself on her
web site, before she began massaging her face and several weeks to several years afterwards. But
does it work?

Both scientific studies and anecdotal evidence agree that massaging the body increases blood flow.
Some exercise physiologists recommend self-massages after exercise as this will help muscles heal
quickly and rid the body of the metabolites that form during exercise. However critics assail that the
skin of the face is more delicate, and massaging facial muscles may in fact lead to wrinkles, as does
excessive laughter.

It is true that the long-term affects of facial massage have not been properly studied, but a group of
scientists in India took a group of 142 women and subjected them to facial massages that utilized
creams containing a variety of ingredients. The results were mixed. One-third of the women
developed erythema and puffiness on their faces, lasting for 2 to 6 hours. However, 59% of the
women felt that their skin was fresher and more rejuvenated, 53% had more supple skin, and 15%
saw a difference in their wrinkles. The authors of the study noted that the ingredients used in the
massage may have something to do with the temporary erythema many women had.
If you decide to have a facial massage at home or at a spa (the latter is better), make sure a skin
patch test is done to avoid strong allergic reactions.

Essential tools in the fight the signs of aging

Don’t follow the hype about mystery compounds that make dark eyes and wrinkles disappear! Look
for products that contain some of the compounds listed below. These ingredients have been shown
to give some improvement to wrinkled skin:


Retinol is one of the most popular ingredients in skincare products today, and with good reason.
Several studies have shown its effectiveness in the body. Vitamin A, found in many foods, is
absorbed by us in the form of retinol. In the body, it works to preserve our vision and bone
strength. It also helps to keep the tissues in our body healthy. Research aimed at making
commercial retinol useful in the fight against several types of cancers is ongoing.

Research has also revealed the potency of retinol as a topical agent. For application to the skin,
retinol and chemically related compounds are used, known collectively as retinoids. Retinoid creams
have been shown to effectively protect and reverse some of the effects of UV radiation, such as
wrinkles. However, it has a high level of intolerance, as many users experience irritant reactions
such as burning and dermatitis. So, before using a product that has retinol, you may want to speak
with a dermatologist.
Tea extracts

It is true that perhaps only water has claimed more benefits than tea. Drinking tea, green tea in
particular, has been said to be helpful in preventing cancer, keeping the body healthy, and protecting
the skin UV radiation. However, many studies are done using either tea extracts (which contain
much higher concentrations of the beneficial polyphenols) or requiring subjects to drink 8 or more
cups of tea a day!

However, there is research also supporting the benefit of using tea extracts directly on the skin. A
study by Turkish researchers showed that a gel consisting of black tea extracts behaved as a natural
sunscreen, protecting the skin against the damage of UV radiation. In the study, unprotected skin
was sunburned, while skin with the black tea gel remained unaffected between a UV range of 200-
400nm, giving quite a broad range of protection.

Another study showed promising activity in green tea. A compound found in green tea, EGCG,
was shown to stimulate the proliferation of epidermal keratinocytes, making skin thicker and more


Kinetin was originally considered to be an artifact produced by residues from a particular DNA
component. Its ability to promote cell division has been long manipulated in the laboratory.
However, it has been discovered that kinetin is in fact present naturally in the DNA of several
organisms, including human cells.

Kinetin has been aggressively studied as an anti-aging compound. Some have even considered a
more sensitive alternative to retinoids. But even though many dermatologists agree that 0.1%
kinetin cream may be affective, current research does not indicate that it is as effective as retinol-
based products.
Resveratrol: The Future of Anti-Aging?

For years, researchers have come out with study after study revealing the benefits of red wine.
Numerous studies have found that drinking the beverage in moderation can reduce the risk for
many cancers and keep the heart healthy.

But what if the benefits of red wine could be multiplied and made available to all, drinkers and
nondrinkers? Enter resveratrol, a compound that some scientists believe holds the key to youth.

Resveratrol is a phytochemical found in mostly red wine, but also in small amounts in grapes,
peanuts, and berries. Scientists have isolated the compound and concentrated it into a pill with
several hundred times the phytochemical as found in red wine. Studies have found that it has very
strong anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties when consumed by mice. Resveratrol has even
demonstrated the ability to slow down apoptosis (cell death, a major aging factor). So far,
resveratrol has not been tested in humans at such high concentrations, but many are optimistic that
this phytochemical could become an anti-aging supplement of the future.

Hydroxy acids

Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) is a label that refers to a class of simple chemical compounds that are
present in fruit juices. Some examples are glycolic acid, citric acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and tartaric
acid. Concentrated AHAs are a major ingredient in chemical peels. Unlike many other skincare
ingredients that have a skin rejuvenation quality to them, AHAs actually have the opposite effect.
For example glycolic acid, the most commonly used AHA, dissolves the compound that holds skin
cells together. They are used to remove dead cells from the skin (exfoliate) and reveal younger
looking skin beneath. They are touted as an anti-aging agent as they exfoliate more effectively than
granular scrubs.

Also, unlike retinol and tea extracts, some AHAs have been shown to decrease protection against UV
radiation. In fact, it is advisable to reserve use of AHA products to the evening or use a stronger
sunscreen (with a SPF rating of 30 or higher).

Another type of hydroxy acids are the beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), the most common of them being
salicylic acid (a metabolite of aspirin). It is similar to its AHA counterparts, as it reacts with the
epidermis and encourages the shedding of the top layer. Salicylic acid also prevents pores from
clogging up. It is used as a treatment in psoriasis, dandruff, and acne. A very similar compound,
salicylate, is even used to treat inflammation. However, high concentrations of this BHA can lead to
Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance produced naturally in our bodies and is required for the
normal functioning of cells. This vitamin becomes less available with age and of course,
supplements are available on the market with the intention of replenishing decreasing concentrations
in the body.

Coenzyme Q10 has also shown to be effective in both reducing fine wrinkles around the eyes
providing UV protection. It also has few, if any, side effects.

When skin regimen isn’t enough…
If you are an older woman and decide that it is today that you will start taking care of your skin, you
may be too little too late. If you do decide to have a cosmetic procedure, don’t jump to plastic
surgery just yet! There are several other ways of revitalizing your skin. But be warned! Results may
vary and it is imperative that your cosmetic doctor has some familiarity with African American skin.

These are just two of the lighter procedures you can consider:


Microdermabrasion has become a very popular procedure, both in Hollywood and in regular
society. It is less invasive than many alternatives and is also less expensive.

There are many types of microdermabrasion, but the term generally refers to a process in which
rough and extremely small grains are rubbed against the skin to remove the upper-most epidermal
layer to reveal fresher and more youthful skin beneath. Microdermabrasion has been used to
successfully remove age spots and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

If you opt for this procedure, realize that is usually performed every 2 to 4 weeks for a total of 8

Although this procedure has been largely successful, it is not without problems. Darker-skinned
individuals, especially African Americans, have sometimes received less than flattering results. At
times, black women who undergo microdermabrasion end of having new spots and scars where
there were none before. It turns out that heavily melanin-tinted skin reacts adversely to abrasive
procedures, no surprise given melanin's sensitivity. Many specialists have taken note of this and use
a more gentle approach. Be sure to see a dermatologist or esthetician who is familiar with in African
American skin care and microdermabrasion (or any cosmetic procedure).


Restylane is the brand name for injectable hyaluronic acid, and was FDA-approved in 2003. Unlike
botox, which uses an inactive bacteria toxin to paralyze the face (literally), hyaluronic acid is a
compound naturally found in the skin. It acts as a humectant, attracting and binding to water,
contributing to a skin’s youthful firmness. However, the presence of hyaluronic acid diminishes
with age, and the aim of Restylane is to temporarily replenish it in the skin. This results of this are
that Restylane may last for six months or longer.

More good news about Restylane: according to a study by the Feinberg School of Medicine, it has so
far shown little adverse effects in African Americans.

      Juvéderm vs. Restylane

Juvédern is a newer wrinkle filler that is also a hyaluronic acid gel. However, it is considered to be
smoother in consistency compared to Restylane, which can make it easier for a specialist to inject
into your skin. It also has the potential to have more lasting effects because Juvédern has
crosslinked hyaluronic acid, which is supposedly more effective.

Botox remains the most popular cosmetic procedure available on the market. Like Restylane and
Juvédern, Botox is also a name for a compound present n nature: Botulinum toxin.

It its potent form in nature botulinum, produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum is a deadly
toxin that leads to a life-threatening condition known as botulism if inhaled only briefly.

But Botox is a nontoxic form available in your doctor's office. It is injected into the skin and causes
paralysis of the muscle underneath. This leads to the firm having an extra-firm appearance, an effect
that lasts for about 4 months.

There are possible side effects that come with Botox of course. These include droopy eyelids (can
persist for a few weeks), flu-like symptoms, headache and stomachache. And even though Botox is
a non-potent form of the botulinum toxin, there is a minor risk of developing botulism.

      Meso therapy

In the fight against cellulite and other unsightly fat, meso therapy (commonly refered to as the single
term ‘mesotherapy’)has been imported from Europe to employ as a weapon. Many aren’t sure
about what meso therapy is really for, and there are questions concerning its effectiveness.
Regardless, it is an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure.

The idea behind meso therapy is injecting medication to directly to sites of fat accumulation. The
medication will literally melt the fat, breaking it down to be metabolized by the body. The injected
medication is a concoction of homeopathic remedies, pharmaceuticals, amino acids, vitamins, and
minerals, depending on the condition being treated, which ranges from cellulite reduction to a
liposuction alternative. The needle used is extremely small; 4mm for white skin and 6mm for
African Americans and other very dark ethnicities.

The main side effects of meso therapy include a brief period burning shortly after injection, swelling,
soreness, and minor skin discoloration. There is also a small risk of infection.

Natural treatments in your kitchen (or in a bottle)

The idea that skin health doesn’t have tom come from lab-synthesized products is a popular one,
and the alternative health industry has thrived on the notion that natural products are safer and just
as effective. This remains to be seen; however, there are many natural remedies that you would be
advised to incorporate into your skin regimen. Many of these natural products are available online
or in health food stores.


It turns out that roses are good for more than just smelling and looking nice. Rosewater, which is an
aqueous extract from rose petals, has been cited by many studies in its reduction of skin damage. It
prevents degradation of elastin, a protein in the skin that maintains firmness and which in its
absence, leads to wrinkles. It does this by protecting the skin against UVB rays.

Turmeric is a spice that contains curcumin, a yellow-orange pigment that grants turmeric its color.
There is plenty of evidence suggesting that it may treat a whole host of problems, from rheumatoid
arthritis to skin discoloration. It is a common beauty component in the Indian subcontinent, where
women use turmeric (as a paste made from water or in a bath) to make skin brighter and relieve
inflammatory side effects, such as dark spots and psoriasis complications.

      Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has long been used as a cooking oil, especially in Southeast Asian dishes. But coconut
oil is no 'vegetable' oil (vegetable meaning useless, not referring to the noun). Coconut Oil contains
lauric acid, which metabolizes into monolaurin in the body, a compound also found in breast milk
that has properties that prevent the growth of pathogenic microbes (viruses, bacteria, yeast, and
fungi). Coconut oil also makes for supple skin when applied topically. Use a small amount on body
and hair and leave for about 30 minutes before rinsing away with cold to lukewarm water.

      Vitamin C serum

For the benefits of vitamin C, see the section Nutrients: THE Key to Skin Health. Vitamin C is not
only beneficial when ingested, but also as a topical agent. To make your own vitamin C serum, mix
1 gram of L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) with 5 mL glycerine and store in an opaque container.

Honey is as healthy as it is sweet. Given the bad rap that sugars have, its benefits are a lot less
obvious. Pure honey has been found to contain antioxidants. Honey also has an antibacterial
property. Topically, it can provide relief from dryness and leave skin feeling supple. Try covering
your face with a thin layer of honey under a warm towel for 20 minutes.


Caffeine is arguably the most commonly used drug in the world. It makes us perky and can even
improve physical performance (caffeine was a banned substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency
until 2003). Research has also shown that caffeine applied directly to the skin can increase firmness.
Some studies also seem to suggest that caffeine can reduce the appearance of cellulite. One simple
method of application is rubbing warm coffee grounds onto skin.

When many of us search for ways to stay younger and stave off aging, we usually find satisfaction in
a bottle that claims to reduce wrinkles or make skin radiant. Well here’s the truth, a proper diet is
what is key to keeping your skin worthy of envy well into your boomer years.

What does diet have to do with it? A lot.

Keeping your skin beautiful has far more to do with what you eat than many realize. For example,
let’s look at your hair. Black women have been especially known to spend hundreds to thousands of
dollars a year to keep the locks in shape. However, many are already aware that our hair, once it
leaves our scalp, is dead! Its content of keratin and other structural components has already been
determined before we even see it. But our hair, like our skin, is fed nutrients from the blood vessels
in the skin (Remember the dermis?). Since the keratinocytes on the surface of our skin are also near
maturity, their growth takes place below the surface, depending on whatever nutrients the blood

So, if our diet is lacking in something such as amino acids, the molecular building block that makes
up protein, this will be reflected in our skin, hair, and nails. The result will be weak hair, less than
firm skin, and brittle nails. Also, it is important to note that many studies that cite the link between
vitamins, minerals, and skin health are done with study subjects eating foods or taking multivitamins
high in the vitamin or mineral of interest.

This isn’t to say that we should abandon our daily regimen and focus on our diet alone. But paying
heed only to what you put on your body and not what you put into it is a futile effort in the war
against aging.
Establishing a diet that will guarantee healthy skin is no different from the foods needed to properly
nourish the rest of your body. Many of the vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that help to
preserve the youth of our skin also keep everything from our eyes healthy to our liver functioning
properly. In fact, a proper diet (along with exercise) is the best protection against several types of

Star Vitamin and Minerals

Even though we often try to cure skin problems topically, they can often be contributed to a vitamin
or mineral deficiency.

      Vitamin A

Like most vitamins, the A compound is multifunctional. It functions in the body as a component of
good vision, bone growth, cell division, and cell differentiation. But this fat-soluble vitamin also
promotes healthy tissue surface linings by regulating epidermal cell growth and normal cell
maintenance. It also behaves as a sort of boost for the immune system, helping the skin and
mucous membranes behave as a barrier to pathogens.

There are actually two forms of vitamin A. The form found in animals and animal products is
known as preformed vitamin A, which is absorbed in the body as retinol. Retinol is one of the
most active forms of the vitamin (which explains its use in skincare products). Preformed vitamin A
can be found in cooked chicken or beef liver (at a whopping 545% and 245% of the daily values,
respectively), milk and dairy products, and eggs.

Most colorful fruits and vegetables contain provitamin A carotenoid. The most common
carotenoid is beta carotene, that yellow-orange pigment found in sweet potatoes and carrots (one
cup of sweet potatoes or carrots contain several hundred percent of the daily value). It converts into
a less active form of the A vitamin. Beta carotene is also available in large amounts in dark leafy
green vegetables, such as spinach and broccoli.

However, there are over 500 types of carotenoids, and not all of them have the ability to convert
into vitamin A.

One such compound is lycopene. Lycopene, the bright red pigment that is found in tomatoes, is a
powerful antioxidant and protects body tissues.
Another carotenoid is lutein, found in dark leafy green vegetables, such as kale, collard greens,
and broccoli. It is also found in egg yolk. Lutein functions as a guard against the breakdown of
skin and eyes. A very similar compound to lutein is zeaxanthin, which also has a role in eye health.

Vitamin B Complex

The vitamin B complex is a family of eight compounds: B6 (pyidoxine), B12 (cyanocobalamin),
folic acid (or folate), riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin (’vitamin H’) and thiamine. These
water-soluble compounds often work cohesively to maintain a healthy metabolic rate, keep immune
and nervous systems healthy, promote cell growth and division, and reduce pancreatic cancer. It
also plays a role in stress reduction.

Additionally, these vitamins work to keep the skin healthy and maintain muscle tone. Although B
vitamins appear naturally in the grains used to make cereal and bread, they are often destroyed in
food processing. To keep essential vitamins in the food supply, the Food and Drug Administration
requires that most grain products be fortified with folic acid and other B vitamins. The chart below
mentions the food sources of all B vitamins as well as skin-related complications and benefits.

Vitamin B has also shown to be beneficial when used topically. Multiple papers have cited research
indicating that applying vitamin B directly to the skin can relieve flakiness and dryness, leaving skin
softer and more youthful looking. Look for a gel from a reliable source containing 4% niacinamide,
the same concentration used in several of these studies.

      Vitamin                           Sources                            Skin-related issues

                   (besides whole grain cereals and breads)
      Thiamine   red meat, egg yolks, green leafy
                 vegetables, legumes, sweet corn, brown
                 rice, berries, yeast, the germ and husks
                 of grains and nuts
    Riboflavin   milk, meat, eggs, cheese and peas          Deficiency leads to skin disorders
                                                                  (seborrheic dermatitis)
      Niacin         Beef liver, peanuts, chicken, tuna,       Niacin overdose can lead to
                      salmon, corn grits, ground beef,      dilated blood vessels: flushing of
                                   potatoes                 skin, itching, headaches, cramps,
                                                                    and skin eruptions
    Pyridoxine   found in many foods, including liver,           Deficiency leads to skin
                 organ meats, brown rice, fish, butter,             disorders, insomnia
                 wheat germ, whole grain cereals,
  Cyanocobalamin not found in any plant food sources;
                 Rich sources of B12 include liver, meat,
                 egg yolk, poultry and milk
    Folic Acid**     yeast, liver, green vegetables, orange              Essential to nearly all
                     juice; supplementation highly                   biochemical reactions in the
                     recommended for women                          body, including those necessary
                                                                      for maintaining skin youth
 Pantothenic Acid meats, legumes
      Biotin      beef liver, egg yolk, brewer's yeast, rice, Forms the basis of skin, nail, and
                  oatmeal, peanuts, cauliflower and           hair cells; deficiencies lead to
                  mushrooms                                   dermatitis and even hair loss

**Research has suggested that supplementing with folic acid may be a therapeutic option for people
with inflammatory skin diseases, such as psoriasis.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is arguably a nutrient favorite. It has vibrant and delicious food sources: oranges,
strawberries, and grapefruits to name a few. And even though most people know that it is a
necessity in their diet (think the scurvy epidemics of yesteryears), few know how the body even uses
this compound.

Well, vitamin C’s functions are plenty . The water-soluble vitamin helps the body synthesize the all-
essential neurotransmitter norepinephrine, critical to brain function and mood. Vitamin C is also
needed to make carnitine, a molecule that transports fat for energy conversion. It even has a role in
the conversion of cholesterol into bile acids, which may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood
and the presence of gallstones.

In relation to our skin however, vitamin C has two additional very essential functions. The vitamin
is needed in order to synthesize collagen, the structural protein mentioned earlier that helps to
maintain blood vessels, tendons, ligaments, bone, and of course, skin. Vitamin C is also a very
powerful antioxidant, and it helps to protect the body’s lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and genetic
material from damage by free radicals and reactive oxygen species.

Citrus is not the only source of vitamin C. It is also found in sweet red pepper (in amounts nearly
double that of orange), broccoli, tomato, and potato.

Topical Application of Vitamin C: Does it work?

One hot trend is the use of vitamin C (usually listed as its chemical name, ascorbic acid), in beauty
products. They claim that the vitamin can help reduce wrinkles and result in more youthful and
invigorating-looking skin. But is this true or is it just hype?

In fact, vitamin C is one of the few beauty product ingredients that has a great amount of research
to back its claim. Many dermatological studies have shown that ascorbic acid, applied directly to
the skin, can have a visible impact on aging skin. However, there is a small catch.
Vitamin C is extremely reactive to both oxygen and light. Even a little light exposure can turn
potent ascorbic acid into a degenerative compound. So follow these tips to make sure you are
getting the most from your serum:

   - Only purchase a vitamin C serum available in opaque packaging - a clear bottle has vitamin C
   that has likely degenerated before you even buy it.

   - Make sure the serum has as few ingredients as possible - this reduces the chance of other
   ingredients in the product oxidizing the vitamin C.

   - Serum should be clear, not colored or chemically tinted with dye. A clear serum with few
   ingredients will turn yellow or orange when exposed too long, which makes it worthy only of

   - Try making your own serum! Look under the Natural Remedies section in this e-book.

   - Look for a serum that contains vitamin C with vitamin E and ferulic acid together. A
   topical solution containing all three has been shown to be stable and provide UV protection.

      Vitamin E

Vitamin E is another antioxidant that behaves similarly with vitamin A. It is available in eight
different forms, but the most potent form is alpha-tocopherol. All forms of vitamin E protect the
body from free radicals and maintain the integrity of the body’s tissues. Vitamin E assists the
immune system , in metabolic processes, and DNA repair. There is also evidence that the fat-
soluble vitamin could possibly guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer, although those more
research is needed.

Some fortified cereals contain vitamin E, but natural sources include vegetable oils, nuts, and
green leafy vegetables.

      Vitamin K
Vitamin K is probably the vitamin that receives the least attention. Even though it is omitted from
most Nutrition Facts labels, it has a major function in the body. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin
produced in quantities up to 50% of the daily value in the body by a certain species of intestinal
bacteria. However, not all of intestinal vitamin K is absorbed, so it is still necessary to obtain it from
dietary sources.

Vitamin K is a clotting factor, necessary in the coagulation of blood. It works with the compound
thrombin and blood platelets to prevent a person from bleeding to death. Consequently, it assists
the body in wound healing. Vitamin K is resident in olive oil, canola oil, broccoli, spinach, and

Vitamin K for dark eyes: Truth or hype?

A plethora of products containing vitamin K are on the market. The claims are numerous: from
reduction of appearance of bruises from mechanical injury to the disappearance of dark eye circles ,
even a supposed cure for cellulite.

The truth is that research on vitamin K has yielded mixed results. One study done showed no affect
on bruises resulting from injury. Another study done by the University of Miami showed that a
vitamin K cream eased bruising on patients recovering from laser operations. A few other studies
seem to reflect these results as well. There have been no studies connecting vitamin K cream use on
cellulite or dark eye circles.

Several doctors have reported that some people who use vitamin K products, either by injection or
topical application, have developed contact dermatitis at the site of use. Given the sensitivity of
African American skin, a skin patch test should be done before any further use.

Calcium is the mineral that keeps our bones strong. Practically everyone knows this. Many people
don't know that our body also requires calcium to generate electrical impulses and to contract our
muscles (including the heart muscle). Calcium also regulates cell turnover, meaning it regulates the
rate at which we develop new cells in comparison to when old cells die off. The reduced ability of
our skin to rejuvenate itself is one of the major indications of aging.

The best sources of calcium are milk, yogurt, salmon with bone, and spinach.


Copper is a metal found in wiring, plumbing, and amongst the collagen in our skin. Copper is a
connective metal - it helps to form the connective sheaths that allow our nerves to function and
build the proteins that make up our blood vessels. And without copper, collagen proteins could not
form the network that makes our skin firm.

Rich sources of copper include nuts, sunflower seeds, lobster, green olives, wheat bran, liver,
blackstrap molasses, cocoa, oysters, black pepper.


Zinc is a mineral found in nearly every cell of the body. Though 100 enzymes, zinc promotes
immune and antioxidant functions. Large concentrations are found in the choroids of the eyes. The
mineral also helps biological membranes maintain the shape and structure, and this includes skin
cells. Additionally, zinc has a role in wound healing, maintaining your sense of taste and smell, and
is also necessary for DNA synthesis.

Many cereals, breads, and grains are fortified with zinc. Its natural sources include oysters,
red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and dairy.


Selenium is a mineral required in only trace amounts in the body. They are utilized in the body by
special proteins to form selenoproteins, behaving as enzymes with antioxidant properties. Thus, it
helps to get rid of harmful oxygen species that accelerate aging and could lead to cancer. Other
selenoproteins promote healthy thyroid function, an organ that plays a key role in metabolism.
Good sources of selenium include Brazil nuts (contain an outstanding 780% of the daily value),
tuna, beef, turkey, pasta, eggs, oatmeal, and rice.

Topical selenium, along with vitamins C and E, has been shown to not only prevent photoaging, but
also reverse some of effects of the sun. This includes wrinkles and age spots.

Omega-3 fatty acids
For fats, omega 3s sure receive a lot of positive press. The label Omega-3 fatty acids refers to a
group unsaturated lipids. The most important ones nutritionally speaking are α-linolenic acid (ALA),
eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Collectively they have a host of
functions that are necessary for life. These include keeping tabs on inflammation in your body,
preventing excessive blood clotting, reducing the amount of cholesterol and saturated fats circulating
in your blood. They are also necessary in skin health. In fact, one of the symptoms of omega-3
fatty acid deficiency is itchy and dry skin.

The most common sources of omega-3s are flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, soybeans, shrimp and

'Pro-aging' Lifestyle - Cigarettes, Junk, and Stress
These activities can be termed 'pro-aging habits' because of the negative affect they have on your


Smoking cigarettes are not good for any part of your body. Cigarette smoke leaves soot in your
lungs, slows down your brain, and leaves you smelling horrible. It also has a very negative affect on
your skin.

Tobacco smoke also has a deleterious affect on your skin. People who smoke may have wounds
that heal in a decelerated speed as well as prematurely aged skin. Smoking can lead to psoriasis,
acne, and of course, cancer (lung cancer, skin cancer, and oral cancer).

Studies have uncovered that the body infected with tobacco smoke produces more matrix
metalloproteinases (MMPs) that degrade skin proteins such as collagen and elastic fibers. An
imbalance also appears between biosynthesis and degradation, which means that more proteins and
cells are breakng down than can be replaced (a major age indicator).

      Junk food

Eating the right food from an earlier age can really do wonders to your skin and overall health.
However, eating the wrong foods can not only rob you of such benefits, it can lead to accelerated
aging. It's as simple as examinig what is in junk food.

Junk food can be classified as edibles (usually processed food, although processed food can be
nutritious) that are loaded with 'empty calories': foods high in sugars (not to be confused with total
carbohydrates); foods high in fat (especially saturated fat; and foods lacking in vitamins, minerals,
protein, and fiber. This includes everything from chips to French fries to biscuits. Persistently eating
foods high in sugar can literally corrode the arteries, making room for the formation of plaques
(atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries). Also, dietary sugar that is not metabolized by the
body for energy is converted into fat for storage.

Fatty foods pose problems as well, as saturated fat is converted into cholesterol and deposits itself in
the arteries. In fact, unlike protein, fat is stored all over the body: around organs in the abdomen, in
the subcutaneous fat layer under the dermis. Too much fat can lead to a whole list of complications,
from heart disease to diabetes.

Additionally, junk food often displaces healthy foods in the diet. This can lead to vitamin and
mineral deficiencies that can significantly affect skin, as well as the rest of the body.
Fiber: More than nature's laxative

Fiber has long been touted as a reliever of constipation (and inducer of diarrhea). Many have
considered the carbohydrate most useful for keeping 'regular.'

But even though it is not actually absorbed by our bodies, fiber is actually a valuable nutrient. For
one thing, fiber doesn't only clean out our colon, it also behaves as a pipe cleaner for our arteries. In
fact, doctors recommend high-fiber diets for everyone, but especially patients with high cholesterol.
Fiber is also able to control blood sugar levels, helpful particularly for those with type 2 diabetes.

Fiber is also helpful in keeping us full longer by prolonging the time between food ingestion and
digestion in the intestines.

So, if you are having trouble keeping off the junk food, couple it with high fiber foods. Foods high
in fiber include whole-wheat bread, prunes, oats, beans, apples, carrots, and citrus fruits.


Our bodies are constantly under stress. Whether it is regular exercise or being irritated all the time,
our bodies suffer through the hassles of everyday. However, there is good stress and bad stress.
Exercise is considered a good form of stress because of the benefits it brings your body: a slower
heart rate, the releaseof feel-good endorphins, etc. Bad stress is usually a product of our negative
thinking. The results are much less pretty.

Whenever something happens, there are two possible ways of dealing with it. There is a hopeful
attitude in which you donot allow yourself to fret too much at what life throws at you. But too
often, we become angry, irritated, worrisome and depressed.

Persistent stress can lead to headaches, chest pains, and muscle aches. It can also upset our stomach,
make our heart pound, and contribute to high blood pressure. People under stress usually make
poor decisions as well, including with regards to eating, drinking, and smoking. Our skin feels the
effect of stress as well, since prolonged stress can lead to acne breakouts, psoriasis, and other skin
problems. Your skin is also less able to heal when you are under stress.

All of these symptoms are the result of the way our body works under stress. Usually, body
functions become less efficient and there is an increased buildup of reactive oxygen series. This
means greater damage to inner organs and skin alike.

The key to preventing this type of damage is being skilled in stress management. Not everyone
handles stress the same way, but it is important that you decide on a method of dealing with your
frustration. Common techniques include meditation, yoga, exercise, talking to someone or writing
in a journal, and watching a funny show or movie. Or you could pamper yourself. Try giving
yourself a massage with oils (or schedule a spa appointment). Another way is to soak in bath salts
for a while. Your skin will thank you.

       Tips for getting the most out of your diet

         Complete foods high in fat-soluble vitamin A and related carotenoids (such as dark
         leafy greens, broccoli, and tomatoes) with a little fat, such as a teaspoon of olive oil or low-
         fat ranch dressing.

         Steam your vegetables lightly (they shouldn't be limp) to increase your body's
         absorption of vitamins and other compounds.

         Snack on skin-friendly foods: baby carrots, walnuts, blackberries, citrus fruits.

         Calcium needs Vitamin D to be absorbed, so plan meals accordingly (fortunately
         calcium-rich dairy is fortified with vitamin D).

If you were to create skin-friendly meals, they might look like this:


Scrambled eggs (sulfur for anti-aging properties,protein, biotin)

Orange juice, 8 oz. (vitamin C, folate)

Bowl of assorted berries (Antioxidant powerhouse!)

Oatmeal (fiber, fortified with several vitamins and minerals)


Grilled chicken or salmon (dietary protein’s amino acids provide building blocks for collagen,
elastin, other skinproteins)

Dark green vegetables (spinach, broccoli) with sauteed in garlic, red pepper, and olive oil (omega-
3 fatty acids)
Exercising Your Way to Better Skin
What are the benefits of exercise? A good number of people will say that it makes you stronger,
healthier, and gives you a chance at a longer more fulfilling life. But amazingly, your exercise
regimen can also greatly affect the quality of your skin.

As said before, the layer of skin below the epidermis known as the dermis is vascularized, which
means that there is a large presence of blood vessels. This is the reason why you bleed when cut
deeply enough, right? Well, the main purpose of blood vessels is transportation. Your blood carries
just about everything that enters your body. Water is circulated to several parts of your body,
oxygen is taken from your lungs to the heart, and drugs are transported to the area of need (as well
as areas where the drug isn’t needed, leading to side effects). Your blood is also essential in the
transport of nutrients. Whether it is fat or antioxidants, your vessels use blood to get nutrients to
their intended location quickly.

One of the benefits of exercise is that it helps your body to deliver nutrients to where they are
needed, including vitamins and minerals. Exercise will also help your body get rid of toxin at a
faster rate instead of having them accumulate in the body.
Selected References

Burke KE. Photodamage of the skin: protection and reversal with topical antioxidants. J Cosmet
Dermatol. 2004 Jul;3(3):149-55.

Chung JH, Han JH, Hwang EJ, Seo JY, Cho KH, Kim KH, Youn JI, Eun HC. Dual mechanisms of
green tea extract (EGCG)-induced cell survival in human epidermal keratinocytes. FASEB J. 2003
Oct;17(13):1913-5. Epub 2003 Aug 1

Joydeb Kumar Kundu, Young Kee Shin, Sung Hoon Kim 1 and Young-Joon Surh . Resveratrol
inhibits phorbol ester-induced expression of COX-2 and activation of NF-B in mouse skin by
blocking IB kinase activity.

Kaidbey K, Sutherland B, Bennett P, Wamer WG, Barton C, Dennis D, Kornhauser A.

Topical glycolic acid enhances photodamage by ultraviolet light. Photodermatol Photoimmunol
Photomed. 2003 Feb;19(1):21-7

Khanna N, Datta Gupta S. Rejuvenating facial massage--a bane or boon? Int J Dermatol. 2002

Kovács RK, Bodai L, Dobozy A, Kemény L. Lack of the effect of topical vitamin K on bruising
after mechanical injury. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2004 Jun;50(6):982-3.

Lopes LB, Speretta FF, Bentley MV. Enhancement of skin penetration of vitamin K using
monoolein-based liquid crystalline systems. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2007 Nov;32(3):209-15. Epub 2007
Aug 11.
Moammir Hasan Aziz*, Shannon Reagan-Shaw*, Jianqiang Wu*, B. Jack Longley*, and Nihal Ahmad.
Chemoprevention of skin cancer by grape constituent resveratrol: relevance to human disease?
FASEB Journal. 2005;19:1193-1195. Carcinogenesis 2006 27(7):1465-1474

Morita A. Tobacco smoke causes premature skin aging. J Dermatol Sci. 2007 Dec;48(3):169-75.
Epub 2007 Oct 24.

Murray, Frank. Copper essential for healthy skin and hair. Better Nutrition (1989-90), Feb, 1989

Pari L, Tewas D, Eckel J. Role of curcumin in health and disease. Arch Physiol Biochem. 2008

Ruiz MA, Clares B, Morales ME, Cazalla S, Gallardo V. Preparation and stability of cosmetic
formulations with an anti-aging peptide. J Cosmet Sci. 2007 Mar-Apr;58(2):157-71.

Serra-Baldrich E, Dalmau J, Pla C, Muntanola AA. Contact dermatitis due to clarifying cream.
Contact Dermatitis. 2005 Sep;53(3):174-5.

Shah NS, Lazarus MC, Bugdodel R, Hsia SL, He J, Duncan R, Baumann L. The effects of topical
vitamin K on bruising after laser treatment. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002 Aug;47(2):241-4

Sharquie KE, Al-Mashhadani SA, Salman HA, Topical 10% Zinc Sulfate Solution for Treatment of
Melasma. Dermatol Surg. 2008 Jun 27

Turkoglu M, Cigirgil N. Evaluation of black tea gel and its protection potential against UV. Int J
Cosmet Sci. 2007 Dec;29(6):437-42.

Zulfakar MH, Edwards M, Heard CM. Is there a role for topically delivered eicosapentaenoic acid in
the treatment of psoriasis? Eur J Dermatol. 2007 Jul-Aug;17(4):284-91. Epub 2007 Jun 1
About the Author, Juliette Samuel
Juliette Samuel, Esthetician/President- NYRAJU Skin Care, Formerly an Instructor at the Fashion
Institute of Technology in New York City and a Professional Image Consultant, now Juliette Samuel
is known for The Art & Science of Beautiful Skin For Women of Color.

Author: The Art of Body Pampering –A Tips Booklet, E books: Caring For The Skin You’re In-A
Skin Care Guide For African American Women, The Joy Of Menopause- How To Survive It and
Still Have Your Sanity.

As a member of NAHA-The National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy, SEBC-Shine Expo
Beauty Culture, Indie Beauty Network and The Society of Cosmetic Chemist, Juliette Samuel lives
her passion of providing her clients with the best information from her industry of Beauty &

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