Nutritional Support for Healthy Skin
Fruits and vegetables are both tasty and nutritious and have a very long history as beauty aids. Often they are mashed into a pulp and applied directly on the skin in the form of a natural facial,
Cucumber has a long folk history of use for cooling burns and treating wrinkles. Simply peel and crush some cucumbers in a blender and apply directly to the affected area. Cucumber slices can also be placed over the eyelids.
Carrots are high in beta carotene which the body converts into vitamin A. A deficiency of this vitamin can cause dry skin and wrinkling. Carrots also contain the antioxidant beta-carotene and many other cancer-preventing compounds.
Like carrots, purslane is rich in carotenoids. This herb can be used to make an invigorating face mask with healing properties.
Pineapples contain fruit acids called alpha-hydroxy acids that peel off dead skin cells by dissolving the substances that hold the dead skin together. These are used in face peels to treat acne, chapped skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
The oils in avacados are patented as a treatment for some forms of dermatitis and arthritis. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, D and E, all of which help maintain healthy skin.
Grapes contain alpha-hydroxy acids, the substances that help peel dead skin cells from the face. Grapes can be mashed in a juicer and applied as a natural facial mask.
Papaya’s enzymes help remove wrinkles when applied topically and can aid in digesting food when eaten.
Foods rich in nucleic acids
Foods rich in nucleic acids (RNA) such as sardines, salmon, tuna, shell fish, lentils, and beans may be helpful for skin problems.
Aloe was used by Egyptian pharaohs to treat many skin problems. Aloe vera gel has been used to heal radiation burns since the 1930s.
Chamomile is a tasty tea approved in Europe for treatment of inflammatory skin conditions, notably yeast infections. Compounds in chamomile (bisabolol, chamazulene and cyclic ethers) are antiinflammatory, bactericidal and fungicidal. Chamomile can also be brewed and used as a compress.
Calendula flowers are one of the best herbs for skin problems. Research shows that this herb is antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory and antiviral. Calendula also stimulates white blood cells to help speed wound healing. Calendula flowers can be used to make a tea.
Research shows that ginkgo biloba extract signals fibroblast activity in the skin to increase the synthesis of collagen, while serving as an antiinflammatory agent.
Gotu kola is an Indian herb that stimulates the regeneration of skin cells and underlying connective tissue.
Alpha glycolic acid
Alpha glycolic acid is the most potent of the alpha-hydroxy acids that have been shown to erase fine wrinkles in aging human skin. Alpha-glycolic acid breaks down old surface skin cells so they can be replaced with more youthful cells underneath.
DHEA and Melatonin
The sleep hormone melatonin and the anti-stress hormone DHEA are both found in human skin. DHEA is converted into estrogen and androgen-type metabolites found only in skin.
Dry skin can be caused by decreased estrogens associated with menopause. Estrogen's skin-enhancing effects are well-known. It provokes collagen and a moisture factor known as hyaluronic acid. Aging decreases both estrogen and collagen.
The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A which is needed for healthy skin, hair and nails. Hypothyroidism results in poor conversion which causes dry skin and hair, and hair loss.
Essential Fatty Acids
The omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids found in flax and borage seed oils are important for healthy skin and hair. The also form important antiinflammatory compounds.
For centuries men and women have massaged their scalps with rosemary in olive oil to keep their hair lush and healthy.
Safflower is used to increase blood flow to the scalp in Chinese herbal medicine. A safflower oil massage is often recommended by Chinese physicians to help nutrients get to the hair follicles.
One of the most potent hair growth stimulators is topical oxygen radical scavengers such as superoxide dismutase. Superoxide dismutase may also inhibit the local immune response which underlies many forms of hair lossSaw palmetto
Androgenic alopecia is a form of male pattern baldness that is associated with a buildup of dihydro-testosterone in the hair follicle which causes an immune reaction against the hair follicle.
The main pharmacological activity of saw palmetto berries is the inhibition of the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase which catalyzes the conversion of testosterone into dihydro-testosterone (DHT). An accumulation of DHT in the prostate is believed to contribute to both prostatic enlargement and male pattern baldness.
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