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Skin Beauty... Do Antiaging Creams Really Turn Back the Clock? by: Warren Matthews

If you believe the television advertisements for skin care products, then, your answer would be a definite yes. These TV commercials suggest that if you use this or that product that you too can have a flawless and beautiful complexion and, by subtle inference be happy.

But, is this reality or an illusion?

It's a combination of both a partial reality and illusions. With the majority of skin products it is definitely an illusion as most women over thirty would attest to. Many products can certainly make your skin look better at the time of application but the real test is when all the make up is washed off.

Generally the fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes and sagging of skin still remain!

Having said that, there are however a few natural products that will help with firming up the skin and reducing fine lines and blemishes but you have to accept that there are limitations to what they can do on their own. More about this later in the article!

So, what is the answer... plastic surgery? Many people obviously think that it is, given the booming cosmetic plastic surgery industry. But is it? In my opinion definitely not! I have met quite a number of people that have had plastic surgery and I have not been impressed. I remember just a few years ago meeting up with some old friends from St Louis for dinner in Palm Beach Florida.

My friends who were in their late 70's brought along a friend who would have been in her early 60's. It was apparent that this friend had had a number of plastic surgery procedures on her face and not all of them were successful. I remember thinking at the time that she would have looked better without them.

Of course that is not always the case. Some people get really good results, but they are very much dependent upon the skill of the surgeon. So, the risks are high.

So, what causes skin to age which results in sagging, wrinkles and blemishes?

If you want to maintain clear, healthy, and firm skin into old age you need to know this. So ... here is the brief version ... FREE RADICALS. That's it in a nutshell.

I am sure that you have heard about free radicals and you may even know exactly what they are, but nonetheless I will give you a quick briefing about them.

Even though free radicals age our bodies and skin they are a natural and essential part of life. They are everywhere, inside our body and out. They are more concentrated in the cities or anywhere there is any form of environmental pollution. Sunlight also creates free radicals.

It is possible to see the effect of them quite dramatically when you cut an apple open and leave it exposed to the air. The parts without the skin quickly go brown. This is because it is being attacked by these free radicals. If they were not there then nothing would decompose and the whole planet would be a massive garbage dump.

So, what exactly are they? They are oxygen molecules that have lost an electron through interaction with other molecules. As with everything in nature an effort is made (in this case the molecule) to heal itself!

There is only one way it can do this... and that is by stealing an electron from another healthy molecule. So, it rushes around like a thief until it can find one!

When it does and it steals the electron, what happens?

You guessed it... another free radical is created and in the process cells where the 'thief' has entered are damaged.

There is no 'security system' that can shut free radicals out.

They surround you, they enter your body with each breath you take. The greater your intake of air the higher exposure that you have to free radicals. Ever wondered why long distance runners look older than their years, particularly their face?

They inhale more air than most other people and with it more free radicals. They therefore age faster if they don't counteract the effect of the free radicals. Everyone who exercises should be aware of this. The good news is that this is not a problem if the appropriate measures are taken... more info soon.

Anyway, back to your skin. It needs good healthy Collagen (which is a protein). This Collagen gives your skin its suppleness and tautness. However it is constantly bombarded with free radicals that damage the cells by the cross linking of molecules. When this occurs the collagen molecules can no longer smoothly slide over one another. They instead become rough which impacts directly on the appearance of your skin.

Because collagen stays in the skin for many years it is continually subjected to this free radical damage and the effects are cumulative.

If you could stop the actions of these free radicals you could stop the aging process. This applies not only to your skin but to your entire body. But, it simply is not possible to achieve a 100% success rate. However, you can reduce the impact of these free radicals to a measurable degree.

This is through the use of a series of compounds known as anti-oxidants. I am sure that you have heard of these but you may be unsure exactly what they do? In simple terms they donate spare electrons to the free radicals to 'heal' the damaged molecule.

There are many different forms of anti-oxidants available ... some natural some synthetic. Some really potent, some quite weak. For example Vitamin C is an antioxidant which is relatively weak. On the other hand Alpha Lipoic acid is a relatively potent one being about 400 times more powerful than most Vitamin C's. Other antioxidants are even more powerful than Alpha Lipoic acid, and so on it goes.

So, how does this apply to your skin and what should you do to protect it?

Simple. When you are reviewing various crèmes and lotions to apply to your face select those ones which are natural, don't have any harsh chemicals that are likely to cause inflammation (free radicals love inflammation) and make sure they have natural antioxidants in them, for example, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C esters (fat soluble type), DMAE etc.

BUT... and this is an important but, if you are serious about your skin health take heed of the old saying 'Beauty comes from within'. Although this term is intended to relate to an individuals mental attitude it also applies in a physical sense. The health of your skin and thus the appearance of it is directly related to your internal health.

If you have free radicals rampant in your body, then putting all the expensive antioxidant crèmes on your face will only do a part of the job. Nourishing your skin from the inside out is much more rewarding and effective than any topical application.

Don't forget about your internal health ... your skin is an organ and it needs to be properly supported internally.