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There’s more to your skin than meets the eye. Just beneath the surface lies the dermis, which provides structure and strength to your skin via a strong, fibrous protein called collagen. As we age, collagen production slows, particularly for women after menopause. The result is visible in the mirror as tiny lines and wrinkles and the distinct impression that your once-taut face is melting like a candle in the hot sun. Boost your body’s ability to produce and protect collagen by providing it with the right internal and external support.
Feed your collagen
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A diet high in antioxidant vitamins is crucial for healthy skin. When it comes to supporting your collagen, however, you’ll want to focus on vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin C is a favourite proactive aging agent because of its ability to enhance collage production, and studies show that a daily dose of 30 mg beta carotene increases collagen production in skin. It is possible to have too much of a good thing, however: a 90 mg daily dose of beta carotene didn’t provide the same benefits. Other studies show that fat soluble vitamin E and evening primrose oil (a source of omega-6 fat gamma linolenic acid or GLA) encourage collagen synthesis, leading to a smoother skin surface. Enjoy beta carotene – right alongside vitamin C – in red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is plentiful in nuts and seeds. Of course, your daily multiple will provide an excellent supply of these nutrients.
* Collagen accounts for 70% of the dry weight of your skin.*
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For extra collagen-boosting potential, look for supplements containing dietary xylitol, which increases production of newly synthesized collagen. Oral collagen peptide is also effective, and works by promoting increased fibroblast density and enhances collagen formation. On the other hand, red ginseng extract reduces wrinkle formation by inhibiting collagen degradation rather than increasing collagen synthesis. Likewise, Platycarya strobilacea fruit extract and ellagic acid from berries and pomegranate also help prevent collagen destruction.
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Not surprisingly, what you use on your skin is just as important as how you feed your skin. Exciting new research suggests that marigold extract gel used topically improves collagen synthesis, while virgin coconut oil increases the proliferation of fibroblasts.
* Stay in the shade! UVA and UVB rays from the sun are a major cause of collagen degradation. *
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Keep your eyes open for products containing acacia honey. Used traditionally for wound healing, acacia honey also seems to boost collagen production. Labisia pumila extract, on the other hand, works to restore collagen synthesis to normal levels after UVB exposure from sunlight. Topical use of rice wine increases procollagen production and key basement membranes in fibroblasts, while Arctium lappa also helps to regenerate skin structures. Saponins from red ginseng help to prevent skin aging by boosting collagen, and the same ellagic acid you enjoy in your berry smoothie works well on your skin, too.
Regular exfoliation helps to remove dead cells from the surface of your skin, triggering the dermis to create more collagen and the epidermis to produce new skin cells. Use a gentle scrub, AHA or BHA peel to stimulate cell renewal.
If you support your collagen, it will do a much better job of supporting your skin!
By Lisa Petty
Originally published in Remedies
If you have skin issues you’d like to address holistically (meaning – from the inside out!), click through this link for information about Lisa’s programs.