Your skin is much more than a protective barrier. It is a vibrant, dynamic organ with a huge surface area of about 16 to 22 square feet. It plays crucial roles in regulating the excretion of water, minerals, and metabolic waste products, in managing body temperature, and in conveying sensations of touch. The ability of skin in all of these roles is mirrored by its appearance. Skin health is intimately intertwined with how it looks. Youthful, flexible skin indicates good health. Aging skin is a sign of diminished health. Dietary habits and lifestyle choices, including skin care, correlate with the appearance and health of skin. Excess weight and high blood sugar induce biochemical reactions that disrupt the very structural framework of skin. They accelerate skin aging. Additional influential factors on skin aging include overexposure to ultraviolet light, excess alcohol consumption, tobacco abuse, and environmental pollution.
Key Components of Skin
On a biochemical level, the most abundant substances that make up skin are keratin, melanin, collagen, and elastin. Keratin strengthens the epidermis, the outermost layer of skin. Melanin is the pigmentation of skin that gives depth to skin color. Collagen is the key fibrous protein that holds skin together. Its function is to maintain skin firmness. Elastin, another fibrous protein, combines with collagen to give skin its elasticity. Additional substances act as cementing and gelling components that hold skin cells together, bind to water, and enable nutrients and oxygen into the skin. These have a variety of fancy scientific names, such as glycoaminoglycans, glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulfate. Aren’t you glad you asked? Skin is also comprised of several layers of different types of cells that include blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerves, and specialty cells that make the ingredients of healthy skin, including new cells. New cells are important for migrating to the outer layers of skin and replacing older cells as they age and slough off.
Changes Underlying Aging Skin
Changes in any of the above components of healthy cells, from biochemistry to cellular renewal, can underlie skin aging The primary underlying symptoms of aging skin include the loss of fibrous tissue, the slowing down of cellular renewal, the reduction of vascularization, and the acceleration of cellular dehydration. Even the deepest layer of skin, the hypodermis, starts to flatten as skin ages. This hypodermal flattening is due to a reduction in adipocyte (‘fat cell’) formation, which contributes to the thinning of aging skin. The complexity of these changes has attracted a considerable amount of scientific interest. A particular focus of such studies has been and continues to be discovering how to slow down or even reverse the deterioration of skin as it ages. Fortunately, many natural ingredients in herbal skin care products have been found that do exactly that.
Anti-Aging Herbal Skin Care
A quick search on PubMed, the online medical database at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, shows that dozens of herbs have anti-aging activities. Each herb addresses one or more of the biochemical or cellular components of aging skin. One of the top herbs in this regard is ginseng. This herb has been well-known for centuries for its health benefits. When it comes to skin health, the active ingredients of ginseng have been shown to enhance microcirculation, drive collagen synthesis, and direct healing of skin wounds. These activities occur in response to overexposure to UV light, one of the most common factors that induces skin aging. Other herbs in anti-aging skin care formulas show additional activities for promoting skin health. A few examples include angelica root, white peony, and even green tea. These are the kinds of herbs that are the most important ingredients in any skin care product that specifically addresses skin aging. An excellent anti-aging herbal skin care product that includes these and many additional herbal ingredients is the Vitality Anti-Aging Serum by Jadience Herbal Formulas. The combination of herbs in this formula is designed to strengthen, rejuvenate, and nourish skin to keep it looking young.