Skin from within: The science behind flawless skin with Dr. Bibi
While most people are aware of the importance of taking care of their skin through topical rituals and products, like moisturisers, serums and SPFs - the list goes on, many ignore the nutritional changes that strongly support the skin. Healthy diet and supplementation of vitamin C and collagen, among others, are true nutritional heroes when it comes to taking care of your health and skin from within.
In this insightful interview, from the Altrient Vitamin C Convention 2022, Susie Perry, Dip ION Food Scientist and Nutritional Therapist and Dr Bibi Ghalaie, Cosmetic Physician, Lecturer and Founder & Medical Director at Doctor Bibi Clinic, review their tried-and-tested skincare products and discuss their go-to tips for glowing daily skin.
“When it's a skin condition that can outwardly be seen, it can really affect all aspects of your being, not just physically but also psychologically” - Dr Bibi.
The skin from within
In order to understand how to take care of our skin, we need to understand how the skin works. Dr Bibi mentions that we have three overall layers of skin: epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The epidermis contains 5 unique layers (stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum and stratum corneum). The dermis is where many processes take place, like collagen formation, immune function and skin dynamics which support cells and encourage skin flexibility.
The interesting fact is that our skin is constantly changing as we go through different stages of our lives; encounter different types of exposure: like pollution and ultraviolet (UV) rays and have specific habits regarding smoking, drinking and the types of food you eat. Your skin often changes its composition, this is the reason why it looks different from the outside as you grow older.
UV rays: what is the difference?
According to Dr. Bibi, there are three types of UV rays: A, B and C. You've probably only heard about A and B, because the C wavelength is too short to reach and damage the skin.
UVA: Reaches 60% deeper into the skin than UVB, going as far as the bottom of the dermis, reaching the deepest part of the skin. It triggers free radicals that can damage DNA and break down collagen and elastin. Therefore, cells can become carcinogenic over time.
UVB: Hits the epidermis. Can also contribute to skin cancer and premature ageing.
The damage caused by the UVA and UVB is a result of the formation of reactive oxygen species and free radicals that lead to oxidative stress and also decrease the formation of new collagen in the skin.
Unlocking your sunscreen´s potential
Dr Bibi explains the higher the SPF (sun protector factor), the longer you are protected from sun radiation. She also says that being tanned while having sun protection is very much possible:
“the melanin cells can still come up to the surface and the tanning effect will still be produced”.
As a recommendation, she says it's important to have sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB with a high factor, constantly re-apply it, knowing that on average the protection will last from 4 to 6 hours and finally, applying the right amount.
“Sunscreens don't protect from oxidative stress, so having an antioxidant applied to your skin, such as a topical vitamin C, is really important.”- Dr. Bibi
Apparently, even high factor sunscreens do not fully protect the UV rays from reaching your skin and causing damage, therefore, using an antioxidant after sun exposure or taking a supplement is very helpful.
What about nutrition?
A high intake of caffeine from tea, chocolate and coffee may be detrimental for the skin, since caffeine triggers collagen breakdown. Smoking and excessively drinking alcohol as well as eating lots of refined sugar are also not great for skin health. Instead, replace caffeine and sugar for herbal teas or water, fresh fruit and nuts as snacks and aim to increase your protein intake by 20% to 30% to help suppress energy cravings and help with weight management as well.
Vitamin C helps collagen production
Collagen is a large protein molecule and your body needs vitamin C for skin cells to make new collagen and repair old damaged collagen. Even if your diet is full of fresh fruits, berries and green vegetables you might not be getting all the vitamin C you need because the level of vitamin C in food is so much lower than 50 years ago. Absorption is key and therefore Dr. Bibi highly recommends Altrient C:
“After 8 weeks of taking Altrient C you'll see a significant improvement in the elasticity and firmness of the skin and significant decrease in fine lines and wrinkles. These are all things I'm happy to relate to my patients and say to them with confidence, I know this supplement helps not only in terms of your energy and your health and wellbeing but actually outwardly you'll be amazed at the difference in your skin” Dr Bibi.
Which other vitamins are involved?
Usually when talking about skin care, vitamin A or retinol comes up. Dr. Bibi advises that it is very important to know that when using these topical products, normal possible outcomes are: redness, irritation, dryness and sensitivity, while people mistake these for side effects, it just shows how retinol is repairing the skin. But if there is no effect on inner health improvements or the strengthening of your collagen scaffold, your skin is unlikely to look healthy.
Finally, Dr Bibi explains that during the start of menopause, 60% of collagen is is lost from the skin. Therefore, trying to boost elastin and collagen levels in your skin before, during and after menopause, is essential for skin health.
In general, supplementation and lifestyle changes are important steps for achieving flawless skin from within throughout different stages of your life lives. Don´t miss out on what other experts have to say about health and nutrition in the Vitamin C convention!