Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals

Cosmetics are a big part of the modern woman’s life and they are increasingly important to men. Medical literature estimates that many Americans have side effects or adverse health outcomes from the topical use of synthetic chemicals that are often present in cosmetic products. While people discontinue cosmetics that are disagreeable, side effects are often
unreported. Therefore, the damage caused by some of the toxic compounds found in cosmetics often passes unrecognized. Toxic chemicals can be absorbed readily through the skin and they can pass into the body with undetected consequences. Some topical poisons are absorbed and stored in body fat where they cause abnormal body chemistry.

Many individuals have an inappropriate opinion that the skin is a totally effective barrier to toxins. This mistaken assumption ignores the massive absorptive capacity of the human skin. The skin is the largest organ of the body and its appearance is a reflection of inner health. Like a plant, the skin receives incomplete nourishment from things applied externally, but the skin
and a healthy plant, are nurtured from within their bodies. This is the concept of beauty from “within” rather than from “without” the body. Dermatologists, estheticians and cosmetologists are becoming very focused on “inner beauty” supported by good nutrition. Your beauty lies within©.

The growth of the “cosmeceutical industry” (natural skin-care products) is based on the idea that many natural substances provide effective alternatives to the man-made chemicals found in popular cosmetics. At least 500 potentially harmful ingredients are found in commonly used makeup, hair products and skin creams. Modern cosmetologists are now advising how to substitute many toxic chemicals found in cosmetics with natural extracts of herbs, botanicals and food substances. The list of side effects of some artificial cosmetic ingredients is horrifying, ranging from acne to cancer.

Modern cosmetologists have started to finally recognize the power of dietary supplements to support skin health. Antioxidants have found a great role in skin anti-aging, but they are probably more effective when given by mouth, compared with topical application. These are concepts that can be used in the ultimate care of the skin, where lifestyle issues are important. Cosmetics can hide a lot, but continuing to smoke, worshipping the sun and the adoption of a poor diet are the arch enemies of beautiful skin. Ordering fast food during a “cosmetic pampering”
at a spa facility destroys the whole essence of a quest for beauty.

Nutritional Hints

Anyone can “slap” cosmetics or other topical beauty aids on their skin and hair and get a temporary beneficial effect, but the appearance of the skin, nails and hair is a complete reflection of inner health. Healthy looking skin, nails and hair is always present in an individual who has a healthy body. This is what I refer to, again, as the concept of beauty from within the body, not beauty from the outside of the body, using “cosmetic cover-ups.”

Dietary supplements of particular value in the support of skin, nail and hair structures include substances that will help build skin supporting tissues (e.g. collagen), natural anti-wrinkling agents and antioxidants. Skin, nail and hair support products involve the use of a complex combination of nutrients and botanicals that provide nutritional support.

Skin and hair support formulations of dietary supplements should contain innovative ingredients that have come to the forefront of nutritional sciences, as applied to skin care. Apart from the powerful antioxidant profile within these products, there are collagen-building substances and connective-tissue-supporting substances such as hyaluronate. The formulation possibilities are mentioned to provide examples of the many nutrients and botanicals that can provide nutritional support for skin health. The contents of proposals for skin, nail and hair support includethe most complete array of skin-supporting natural substances in combined formulation and they include: Calcium (Eggshell), Horsetail, Olive Leaf, Vitamin C, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Fish Oil, DMAE, Grape Seed, Green Tea, Lecithin, MSM, Collagen, Aloe Vera, Vitamin E, Biotin and Hyaluronate Sodium.

The concept that the perception of beauty is governed by inner health of the body has been grossly underestimated in medical sciences. A key factor in premature aging of the skin is excessive exposure to sunlight over prolonged periods of time. This has led to the use of many topical agents that have variable degrees of ability to protect the skin and subdermal areas from solar radiation. This protection is recorded on lotions or creams etc. as an SPF factor. It is possible to protect the skin from sun damage by the use of certain botanicals and nutrients. This is the concept of oral photoprotection. Observations in experimental animals and humans show the ability of the herb Polypodium leucotomas to protect the skin from sun damage. This botanical has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent for arthritis and inflammatory skin disease, such as psoriasis. The addition of vitamin D to oral photoprotective agents is considered to be a healthy approach because there is a theoretical risk of diminishing vitamin D synthesis in the body, which occurs as a direct response to sunlight exposure. About 1000 I.U. of D3 per day is an average supplement recommendation to ensure safe circumstances. The requirements for sun protection are clear, given the increasing incidence of skin cancer in the US and its alarming increase in prevalence in certain countries or locations e.g. Australia and the Southern US (where there are holes in the protective ozone layer that surrounds the earth).

Other innovative approaches to promoting beauty by oral supplements include: substances that will assist in renewal of collagen in the skin (e.g. hyaluronic acid), potent oral antioxidants, multivitamins, minerals and mixed anti-aging formulae. It is surprising that few effective natural supplements have been proposed for the management of common acne. The role of excessive androgenic hormonal drive in some young women with acne may be counteracted partially by soy isoflavones and medical literature supports the use of natural anti-inflammatory substances such as Boswellia serrata, guggulsterones and curcuminoids. The technology to support the concept of physical attraction by inner health is emerging, but its applications are slow to surface and underestimated. There is too much emphasis placed on topical approaches to beauty, at the expense of considerations of inner health.

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