The skin is the largest organ that acts as the first line of defense against entry of harmful micro-organisms into the body. The skin’s ability to perform this function reduces when it becomes dry, chafed and cracked as moisture is lost. The presence of ceramides in the outer layer of the skin helps lock in moisture. In addition to preventing moisture loss, ceramides also help maintain healthy levels of collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen provides structural strength while elastin provides resiliency to the skin.
As people grow older, natural skin aging occurs, wherein the levels of ceramides, collagens and elastins gradually reduce. Wrinkles in and sagging of skin may be hastened by the loss of these substances (which can be caused by external environmental factors and a person’s lifestyle). Prolonged exposure to the ultra-violet rays of the sun, a dry environment like the desert, or the hot and salty wind from the sea, can damage the skin and make it vulnerable. Allergies can also arise when irritating skin products are used. It is crucial, therefore, for people to maintain a healthy level of ceramides as well as collagens and elastins to keep the skin plump, firm yet pliant.
Those who frolic at the beach need to protect their skin from the damaging rays of the sun. In addition to sun screening, it becomes more imperative for people to steer away from bad habits that affect the health and skin. Smoking causes wrinkles and a dull, sallow complexion; with some studies linking it to a higher likelihood of contracting psoriasis. Excessive alcohol intake decreases vitamin A levels, which can lead to skin dehydration. Chronic stress; sunbathing and tanning; rapid weight fluctuations; sleeping in make-up; having too little sleep; habitual sleeping on the tummy or side; sleeping with make-up; over using botox; or squinting, may also result to wrinkles and/or sagged skin. Scrubbing could irritate skin and accelerate its aging. Skin care products that sting or burn should also be avoided. On the other hand, eating fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants helps fight skin damage caused by the free radicals the body produces during metabolism. Likewise, regular exercise tones up the skin.
Regular intake of food supplements or application of topical creams containing FDA approved phytoceramides (i.e., ceramides extracted naturally from plants) can be a vital anti-aging skin care regime. These products help lock in skin moisture and promote production of required collagen and elastin levels in the skin. One blogger on skin anti-aging products says more people tend to favor daily food supplements over creams as the former “work in the body and cause internal improvements that penetrate outward, so that the root cause of wrinkles and signs of aging are reversed from the inside-out”. Popping a pill daily is much more convenient than go thru the time-consuming (and expensive) routines for applying creams, doing scrubs or massages.
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