Collagen Loss – Aging!

Did you know?

You loose 1% of collagen every year after the age of 30!

30% of your collagen is lost in the first five years after menopause.

Why?

The skin’s ability to replace damaged collagen diminishes and more gaps and irregularities develop in the mesh of collagen. Estrogen is stored in fat, so dieters will look older & faster if they are being too extreme in the dieting.

What is collagen?

It is the main structural protein of the various connective tissues it makes up 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content.

What about hyaluronic acid?

type of protein, and works with keratin to provide the skin with strength, smoothness, elasticity and resilience. – See more at: http://www.healthcentral.com/skin-care/c/742375/55533/increase-eating/#sthash.Sx77dUZh.dpuf

Aside from hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid is naturally found in a multitude of tissues throughout our body such as skin and cartilage, according to the National Institutes of Health. It is needed for wound healing, cartilage and joint functioning, pain management, tissue repair and skin regeneration.

Estrogen also affects collagen and elastin levels. And hormonal dips thin the skin, making it less pliable.This process eventually leads to wrinkles.
Some causes of collagen are: sun damage, free radicals, some age-related hormonal changes, prescription/illegal drugs and smoking.

Peptides, growth factors, and retinols will help rebuild the collagen, but elastin is difficult to replace. When topical applications don’t work any more try lasers, ultrasonic, high frequency and injectable fillers to plump out the padding.

What is elastin?

It is responsible for elasticity, so skin becomes looser and less flexible over time. Wrinkles happen when the skin becomes looser than the tissue underneath, you’ll start seeing fine lines is around the eyes, where skin is the thinnest.

Preventive Fillers for Aging Skin

Via NewBeauty

Credit: Thinkstock

Do you know how old your face looks? It’s a tougher question than you think it is. You look in the mirror every day, see the same face looking back and probably don’t notice that a year has passed, not only on the calendar, but also on your face. While the philosophy used to be, “wait until you actually look old to make a change,” today the consensus is that anti-aging is all about prevention. The new trends in facial plastic surgery and injectables are “do this now to thank yourself later.”

In the past, the main goal was to get rid of sagging skin, which was usually done with a face lift. Now, instead of cutting away in our 50s and 60s, we can slowly inflate the face when we’re younger to keep skin from sagging as much in the future. “Every one talked about how everything needed to be lifted, but what we have learned is that skin doesn’t sag into a fall like people think, it’s more like a deflating balloon,” says Boston plastic surgeon Jeffery Spiegel, MD.

As you age, your skin gets looser, but it’s that, coupled with the depletion of fat that makes your face look old, he says. The best way to fight facial deflation and skin laxity is to restore volume in the common places women start to lose it in their 30s—the temples, nasiolabial folds and fat pads in the check. This can be accomplished with fat transfer or filler. Los Angeles dermatologist Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD, says in regard to the future of fillers: “If you start to fix things as soon as they change, the hope is, that they may change much more slowly. Maybe there will be a day when we don’t need radical surgeries.”

Fillers are also evolving. Now, there are new ways to use your body’s own mechanisms to boost collagen that are gaining massive popularity. “Biostimulators like Sculptra Aesthetic and Radiesse stimulate the body to produce more of what you want—soft tissue volume to fill in where it was missing,” says Dr. Spiegel. What’s great about this is, “After three or four injections, you have a buildup of natural tissue and it stays much longer than other kinds of fillers, possibly even several years.”

The bottom line: “As we learn more of the anatomy of aging, we can use that to guide site-specific injections and treat the things that are causing those lines and folds rather than just chasing those lines and folds. And I think it’s more effective and much more natural-looking,” says Dr. Fitzgerald.

Ethnicity and Skin Care: A Guide – Asian Skin Care Edition!

This blog article is a generalization!  Every person’s skin is different!

First – Asian skin tends to have a thinner Stratum Corneum & a thicker, more Compact Dermis(the Dermis is similar to The African Skin Type)

Skin Layers

layers of the skin

Layers of skin, chemical peel

Epidermis (Epidermal layers)
Stratum corneum (top layer of skin)
Stratum lucidum
Stratum granulosum
Stratum spinosum
Stratum mucosum
Stratum germinativum
Dermis ( Dermal layers)
Papillary dermis
Immediate reticular dermis
upper reticular dermis
mid dermis
lower reticular dermis
Hypodermis/Subcutaneous Tissue
Adipose Tissue ( fatty tissue)

Epidermis
The epidermis is completely cellular, meaning it is in a constant cycle of producing new cells while older dead skin cells are pushed to the surface to exfoliate or slough off. The epidermis is made up of keratinocytes, lymphocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells and Merkel cells. Approximately 80% -90% of the cells in the epidermis are keratinocytes, with all others interspersed among them.

A thinner Stratum Corneum means that the skins tends to be more prone to irritation making it sensitive to fragrance, environmental factors, chemicals, and abrasive exfoliation (which can disrupt the skin’s PH).  A thinner Stratum Corneum also means that the skin tends to scar more easily than other ethnic skin types.  Asian skin has an increased amount of melanin (the pigment in skin), and the cells that make melanin tend to be more sensitive to any type of inflammation or injury.  The melanin also means that the skin tends to tan more easily than burn, however thae sun exposure can cause sun damage (pigmentation).

Other issues that Asian skin tends to face is inflammatory acne and pigmentation (hyper or hypo).

Because Asian skin becomes more inflamed with deeper acne pustules and papules, patients are often left with post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which refers to increased pigmentation or dark spots at the sites of inflammation.  Drinking green tea, an anti-inflammatory, can help with inflammation.  Regular sun protection is to prevent the signs of aging skin, including preserving skin tone and helping minimize pigmentation problems.  Another common skin condition in Asians that can impact the appearance of the skin is melasma. Melasma is characterized by brown patches commonly on the cheeks, upper lip, nose and forehead. While the exact cause of melasma is unknown, it is thought to result from a combination of genetic and hormonal factors, as well as UV exposure. Melasma is more common in women and in Hispanics and Asians.  Treatments for melasma include bleaching agents (can b irritating to skin start off using every other day once a day and work your way up to twice everyday) , hydroquinone, liquorice, topical retinoids and chemical peels. In addition, certain laser and light therapies have been shown to be safe and effective.  Such as, fractionated lasers and intense-pulsed light (IPL) therapies, but  that these procedures need to be administered carefully by dermatologists. *In some cases, laser and light procedures can worsen melasma if they destroy pigment cells – which leave white spots in the treated areas (talk to your Dermatologist!)

Cultural Practices to use with caution:

Cupping and moxibustion are two ancient healing techniques that complement acupuncture therapy by the use of heat to stimulate circulation. However, people who regularly practice cupping and moxibustion can get bruising or scarring that sometimes require dermatologic care to minimize PIH. Similarly, the practice of coin rubbing – which involves using oils on the skin and repetitive rubbing of coins firmly over the area to promote healing – can create deep abrasions and bruising that may need medical attention.  The application of black henna tattoos (could contain high concentrations of a chemical known as para-phenylenediamine, or PPD, used to create longer-lasting black henna tattoos).  PPD is an allergen that could cause allergic contact dermatitis, with symptoms ranging from mild eczema to blistering and scarring.

Dermis
The dermis is a layer of connective tissue, composed mainly of collagen fibers as well as about 5% elastin. The Dermis is subdivided into the superficial papillary dermis and the reticular dermis. The papillary dermis is a thin layer of connective tissue fibers, the reticular dermis is thicker and contains collagen and elastin fibers.

Collagen constitutes 75% of dry skin weight, giving the skin volume. Fibroblast cells lie among collagen fibers and are known to synthesize (produce) collagen. Fully mature collagen fibers have a low turnover rate. Elastin fibers maintain tension in the skin and provide elasticity ( snap back after being stretched). Metabolic turnover for elastin fibers are very slow and only make up about 2% – 4% of dermal volume. Damage or alterations to the elastin fibers network cause skin to become loose, saggy and wrinkled. Fibroblasts are responsible for producing collagen, elastic fibers, and the ground substance of the dermis. Fibroblasts also control the turnover of connective tissue, unfortunately with age they become smaller and less active.

The more compact, thicker dermis means that the skin tends to wrinkle less than other ethnicities due to more collagen.  However, facial fat (adipose tissue) distends more rapidly causing premature skin sagging.  When used early on, treatments like lasers, fillers and creams can help combat sagging skin.

Source: Vitagen.com.sg

The skin also tends to have more sebaceous glands and making the skin oilier (produce more sebum).

A great article on Asian Skin Care by the American Academy of Dermatology, click here.

All About Peptides in Skin Care!

 

As our knowledge of the skin and aging advances, the technology that improves our skin evolves. Scientists were already somewhat familiar with peptides in the 1950s, but it was not until the late 1980s that the first copper peptide was incorporated into skin care. Even then, it was slow going until the beginning of the year 2000 when Palmitoyl Pentapeptide established a reputation as a non-irritating, comparable alternative to retinol for anti-aging. These peptides paved the way for other peptides to launch into a class of their own with functions above and beyond their first generation counterparts for collagen support.

Peptides and Proteins in the Skin
Skin aging is caused by many factors such as:

  • An increase in proteolysis involving the breakdown of proteins into smaller polypeptides or amino acids;
  • An increase in free radical damage that contributes to a chain reaction of inflammation and cell destruction;
  • A decrease in communication between growth factors and cells that lead to a decline in structural proteins; and
  • A weakening within the Dermal Epidermal Junction (DEJ) the area of tissue that joins the epidermal and the dermal layers of the skin.

All these factors contribute to a loss of skin suppleness, firmness, smoothness, even tone and elasticity. The evolution of peptides may be the answer to addressing the aforementioned skin concerns, thus delaying signs of aging.
Peptides are active chains of amino acids that make up proteins. Proteins are essential to every organism and partake in nearly every process within cells.

Proteins Help:

  • Regulate bodily functions
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Enhance antioxidant benefits

The value of peptides come with the evolution of technology. Topically applied peptides are becoming even more effective at addressing skin issues. By applying certain topical peptides to your skin, you are in essence nourishing the skin with a protein diet that strengthens, nourishes and realigns the building blocks of the skin, allowing for a stronger, healthier foundation.

The Skin:

Proteins in the skin come in many different forms and serve many different purposes. The skin’s surface is similar to a brick and mortar structure where the corneocytes (bricks) are attached to each other by desmosomes (see above picture) and held firmly in place by lipids (mortar). Many peptides are modified with a fatty acid component that allows them to be readily absorbed into the skin.

Dermal Epidermal Junction (DEJ):

The DEJ holds the skin together, improving its firmness and elasticity. It maintains skin cohesion and anchors the epidermis to the dermis. Imagine the skin as being a series of chain links. If just one of the links break, elasticity would decline and skin would begin to sag.

Extracellular Matrix (ECM):

ECM is a complex network of proteins and proteoglycans that can interact simultaneously with multiple cell surface receptors. These proteins include a wide variety of collagens, laminins, fibronectins and elastins that are essential for cell growth and wound healing.

Collagen:

Collagen can be described as being similar to the springs in your mattress. It gives great support to your skin but when it declines or its production slows, wrinkles are the consequence. It is the most abundant form of protein in the ECM. At around the age of 35, types I and III’s decline becomes more noticeable with the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, but other types of declining collagen contribute to wrinkle formation as well.

To date 29 types of collagen have been identified and continue to be discovered. Not all collagen contributes to youthful looking skin. Collagen also plays a part in our ligaments and connective tissues. For those types within our skin, collages is divided into five families according to structure type:

This includes:

Fibrillar Type I, II, III, V, XI

Facit Type IX, XII, XIV

Short Chain Type VIII, X

Basement member Type IV

Other Type VI, VII, XIII

Other Building Blocks in the Skin Matrix:

Collagen decline is becoming better known in the topic of anti-aging skin care, but other proteins play an integral part in reducing the look of fine lines and wrinkles.

  • Laminin (including Laminin V) – is the second most abundant protein in the ECM that exists only in the basement membranes that support the epidermis. It provides support and anchors the epidermis to the dermis.
  • Elastin – is a protein in connective tissues that gives elasticity to tissues, allowing them to stretch when needed.
  • Integrin – are cell surface proteins that mediate the adhesion of cells to ECM proteins such as collagen and laminin.
  • Fibronectin – is a protein that binds and improves cell adhesion with collagen and cell surface integrin.
  • Decorin (Proteoglycan) – is a glycosylated protein (a protein attached to a carbohydrate) that plays a role in cell-to-cell adhesion, acts as a filler substance, and plays a role in protein stability and molecule signaling.
  • Hyaluronic Acid – is a glycosaminoglycan found in the extracellular space that resists compression by absorbing significant amounts of water.

How Peptides Work:
In their simplest form, peptides behave as dispatcher signaling cells that carry out specific functions from support to inhibiting enzymes. One of the first widely used peptides, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, is a collagen fragment that was shown to increase Collagen I, IV and glycosaminoglycans. This collagen fragment tricked the skin into thinking it is broken down too much collagen during the natural breakdown and buildup process and thus triggers an increase in collagen synthesis. Although this peptide demonstrated effectiveness in stimulating collagen production, it only addresses one aspect in repairing the building blocks of the skin. Since this peptide’s introduction, the peptide category has evolved to provide a fully comprehensive approach to skin care. Peptides are now taking on a more multifunctional approach and can improve the look and feel of skin in the following six ways:

  • Purify: Exfoliate, brighten and cleanse skin of impurities.
  • Relax: Minimize repetitive wrinkle-causing facial contractions.
  • Nourish: Feed and energize skin with essential nutrients and vitamins.
  • Stimulate: Promote healthy skin functions, such as, strengthen capillaries & increase microcirculation.
  • Hydrate: Perfectly balance and moisturize the skin.
  • Protect: Maintain a healthy collagen matrix while strengthening skin defenses.

In the beginning, the topical peptide category’s main function was to help stimulate collagen and relax the appearance of expression lines. However, with recent innovations their performance has expanded. First generation peptides’ main role was to support one or two types of collagen, but as discussed many types of collagen exist and the structure of the DEJ depends on the right quality and quantity of each type of collagen. Peptides have evolved and are now categorized as second and third generation peptides. These peptides are even replacing many controversial active ingredients as effective and healthy alternatives.

Pentapeptides

Pentapeptides are made of five peptide units linked together. Some examples of specific pentapeptides found in skin care include Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, also called Matrixyl, and Myristoyl Pentapeptide. They work by stimulating the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid, two natural components of skin that people lose as they age. Because collagen and hyaluronic acid work to support the skin structure, their loss results in wrinkles and sagging skin. Using pentapeptides is one way to counteract and stop this damage, Philosophy and Strivectin are two companies that include pentapeptides in their skin care lines.

 

Oligopeptides

Oligopeptides found in skin care products are similar to pentapeptides, but instead of five units, they contain six, seven or more. Sometimes these are referred to by their specific names–heptapentides for those with seven peptide units, for example. Oligopeptides, such as pentapeptides, stimulate collagen and hyaluronic acid production. Palmitoyl oligopeptide is one common type of oligopeptuide, used in skin care lines such as those by Strivectin.

Copper Peptides

Copper peptides hook up with molecules of copper to carry out their activity. The combination of peptide and copper molecules make their way into the deep layers of the skin. Here, they stimulate collagen growth and promote skin healing. Because they latch onto copper molecules and drag those molecules through multiple skin layers, copper peptides tend to be extremely small molecules.

Neuropeptides

Neuropeptides act by affecting neurotransmitters in the skin. When this happens, nerve cells in the skin cease communicating and relax. The overall effect is that skin becomes smoother and wrinkles disappear. Acetyl Hexapeptide, also known by the trade name Argireline, is a six-peptide neuropeptide.

 

 

Peptides that PURIFY:

Peptides that offer irritation-free exfoliation:

Hexanoyl Dipeptide-3 Norleucine Acetate – is an amino acid sequence that restores regular exfoliation by competing with desmosomes. Desmosomes (desmoglein and desmocollin) are adhesion proteins that hold skin cells together and contribute to desquamation. This three amino acid chain is recognized at the binding site by desmocollin as being identical to desmoglein but instead of binding cells together, it weakens the cell connections. Skin hydration and smoothness are improved and wrinkle depth is reduced.

Peptides that offer alternatives to sulfates for foaming: 

Hydrolyzed Amaranth Protein – is an organically-based cleansing agent that effectively removes dirt and oils and provides hydration and superior foaming without irritation. The amaranth is a flowering herb that grows five to seven feet high and believed among the Aztecs to possess supernatural powers. Amaranth is rich in nine essential amino acids required for promotion wound healing, skin revitalization and antioxidant support.

Peptides that help correct acne:

Oligopeptide-10 – is an antimicrobial peptide designed for treating acne symptoms. This peptide has been shown to exhibit excellent activity against P-acne bacterium alone but found to be more effective in combinations with low levels of salicylic acid. This allows for an opening of pores to allow oxygen in while enabling oligopeptide-10 into the pores for maximum performance without irritation. A .5 percent combination of Oligopeptide-10 with .5 percent salicylic acid was shown to be 40 percent more effective in reducing comedones, irritation, pustules and papules after 28 days when compared to a leading benzoyl peroxide brand.

Peptides that offer alternatives to hydroquinone for irritation-free skin brightening:

Oligopeptide-68 – is a complex combination of TGF-ß agonist peptide that inhibits Microphtalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF). MITF is a major transcriptional regulator of melanogenic enzymes, tyrosinase, TRP-1 and TRP-2. This peptide induces significant skin lightening shown to have a higher activity than Arbutin and vitamin C.

Peptides that RELAX:
Frequent facial movements involve contractions. Since the skin is anchored to the muscles beneath, this can lead to wrinkle formation. Muscle contraction is a complex mechanism formed by a number of different pathways within the Neuromuscular Junction (NMJ), classified into two stages, pre-synapsis and post-synapsis. To form a muscle contraction, acetylcholine (ACh) is needed, but by blocking either the release of ACh into the NMJ or the uptake of ACh through various channels, we can smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles from the start. This is where the phrase “Botox-Like” peptide became introduced years ago with the creation of Argireline, which blocked the release of ACh from the start. Now other wrinkle relaxing peptides are contributing to greater effectiveness in reducing the appearance
of wrinkles.

Acetyl Octapeptide-3 – is an elongation of Argireline that works more effectively at blocking the SNARE complex. By blocking the formation of the SNARE complex in the pre-synaptic membrane, ACh release is minimized, wrinkle contractions are lessened and expression lines are softened.

Dipeptide Diaminobutyrolyl Benzylamide Diacetate – ACh binding is reduced at the post-synaptic membrane by acting as an antagonist of the muscular nicotinic acetylcholine membrane’s receptor (mnAChR). This reduces sodium (Na+) uptake and thus relaxes a muscle contraction and softens wrinkle formation.

Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract – is an oligopeptide derived from Okra shown to reduce ACh release and provide an antioxidant protective benefit by activating glutathione.

Peptides that NOURISH:

Hexapeptide -11 – is a four amino acid peptide that up-regulates five key areas: transmembrane proteins, growth factors, matrix proteins, skin lipid development and cell stress.

Peptides that nourish with colostrum-like peptides:

Whey Protein– contains a network of natural signaling-peptides of active milk such as lactoglobulin, lactalbumin, lactoferrin, lactose and other carriers shown to activate cell metabolism and stimulate proteins such as Collagen I. This peptide was shown to stimulate cell migration and TGF-ß for enhanced wound healing.Peptides that STIMULATE:Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 – is a cell communicating peptide combination capable of regulating cell activities involved in ECM renewal of Collagen I, fibronectin and hyaluronic acid.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 – is a multifunctional protein that activates Collagen I production via TGF-ß. Studies have shown it to be more effective than palmitoyl pentapeptide.
Peptides that improve the Dermal Epidermal Junction (DEJ):
Palmitoyl Dipeptide-5 Diaminobutyloyl Hydro-xythreonline and Palmitoyl Dipeptide-6 Diaminohydroxybutyrate – stimulate the most relevant protein structures in the DEJ (Laminin V, Collagen IV, VII, XVII and Integrin). This gives the skin improved communication and nourishment, which leads to fewer wrinkles and improved firmness. It realigns skin tissues for improved firmness.
Peptides that improve under eye area concerns:
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3 – is a dual peptide that reinforces firmness and tone while eliminating blood originating pigments through the elimination of bilirubin.
Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Oxido Reductases and Soy Protein – is a triple peptide combination of vegetable and yeast proteins that improve oxygen supply to the tissues and fibroblast proliferation. Tests show a reduction in blood clotting, protein degradation and presence of free radicals. Skin texture was improved by 42 percent, under eye puffiness was reduced by 31 percent and dark circles were reduced by 35 percent after eight weeks.
Peptides have been shown to improve lip fullness:
Tripeptide-29 – is a three chain amino acid shown to increase fibroblast activity for collagen I synthesis by 400 percent. This increase in support within the skin minimizes the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Peptides that improve the appearance of stretch marks:
Palmitoyl Oligopeptide and Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7– is a dual peptide combination that prevents and reduces stretch marks by slowing down the degradation and by promoting regeneration of the ECM. Studies show a increased synthesis of collagen I and fibronectin. After two months, stretch marks were lighter in appearance and smoother.Peptides that HYDRATE:Peptides that improve hydration:

Water is essential for the normal functioning of the skin, especially its barrier properties. There is a continuous exchange of water between the surface layers, the underlying epidermis and the atmosphere. Aquaporins (AQP) are integral membrane proteins involved in water transport through different tissue layers.

Acetyl Hexapeptide-37 – is a skin hydration peptide that improves water flux from the basal layer of the epidermis to the surface layers through enhancement in aquaporin 3 (AQP3). AQP3 is the most abundant in the epidermis, facilitating transepidermal permeability, increasing water content in the surface and strengthening barrier function. With acetyl hexapeptide-37, skin hydration was enhanced by 131 percent and collagen I synthesis was enhanced by 61 percent.

Peptides that PROTECT:
Peptides that reduce glycation and collagen cross-linking:
Azeloyl Tetrapeptide-23 – A rejuvenating amino peptide that reduces Advanced Glycation End (AGEs) products. It prevents skin lipid peroxidation, reduces reactive oxygen species and protects cellular membranes from scavenger attacks. Studies showed a visible reduction in wrinkles and an increase in elasticity.
Peptides that relieve irritated and sensitive skin:
Palmitoyl Tripeptide-8 – is a multifunctional neuropeptide that promotes skin homeostasis and helps reduce irritation caused by UV, immune reactions, internal stress and mechanical stress. This neuropeptide reduced inflammatory cytokines up to 64 percent, vasodilation up to 51 percent, and edema up to 60 percent. In a soothing “after-shave” test, in just one week, 90 percent of male volunteers felt more comfortable skin, 83 percent felt irritation was reduced, and 81 percent felt razor burn was soothed.
Peptides that balance stressed skin and balance skin’s immune defense:

Acetyl Tetrapeptide-22 – increases Heat Shock Protein (HSP70) levels in skin, thus providing a protective shield. An increase in this protein enhances stress tolerance and prevents damage from further stressful exposure.

Peptides Get Specific:
Peptides have been shown to improve hair fullness:
Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17 – is a keratin stimulating peptide shown to visibly increase eyelash length by 25 percent when used with Myristoyl Hexapeptide-16.

Myristoyl Hexapeptide-16 – is a keratin stimulating peptide shown to visibly increase eyelash length by 25 percent when used with Myristoyl Pentapeptide-17.

Peptides in the future:
Many ingredients have come and gone in anti-aging skin care, but peptides are more than a passing trend. Since their applications continue to evolve, their use becomes more relevant. We will continue to see many new peptide products in the future. The best use of peptides continues to be a marriage of the right anti-aging advancements formulated into high performance products that produce the best results without the irritation and side effects of other available alternatives.  Scientists are learning how to stabilize the peptides and at the same time inhibit collagenase [the breakdown of collagen] so we have better, more tailored peptide products.

An Aside:

There are many things that have to go right in order for peptides to actually have a benefit. Because they are break-down products of proteins, they have to be stabilized or they might continue to break down further in a topical cream, becoming useless. Also, they have to be in a cream that allows them to penetrate the skin. If a great peptide is in a thick cream that only sits on the surface, then it will never penetrate and will eventually be washed off, without any benefit.  Serums might be a better choice than lotions or creams.

That being said, signal peptides and copper peptides seem to have the most evidence for their efficacy and can be found in products are not too expensive.

 

Almond Tea and Snow Fungus Cereal for Smooth Skin

Via Asian Skin Care Obsession

 

Almond Tea with Hazelnut

Prepared with hot water.

Almond tea, 杏仁茶, has been consumed by women since ancient China for thousands of years. Legend says that almond tea was enjoyed by imperial royal consorts and concubines to maintain their skin’s softness and clarity. Almond tea contains no real tea leaves or caffeine. It is simply prepared just like soy bean milk.

I love almond tea, but I do not have the time to prepare it with fresh almonds.

The almond tea that I like to drink is produced by the brand, Greenmax. I purchase their Almond Tea with Hazelnut from my local Asian grocer. I love Greenmax’s almond tea because it is easy to prepare with simply hot water. A pack of 13 packets costed me around $7USD.

I wouldn’t say that I have any immediate noticeable skin differences from drinking almond tea. However, I love the taste, the smoothness of the drink. Therefore, I will continue to consume almond tea for its taste and also its health benefits.

Ingredients: Natural Almond Powder, Hazelnut Powder, Yam, Fungus, Milk Powder, Corn Starch, Walnut, Lily, Crystal Sugar, Vanilla Powder, Almond Oil, Vitamins, Minerals.

*Contains no artificial colorants. Rich in Minerals, Vitamin A, B1, C, B2, E, Iron, and Dietary fiber.

Snow Fungus & Oats Instant Mixed Cereal

Prepared with warm milk.

Snow fungus, 雪耳,is another magical ingredient for skin. It is a gelatinous mushroom, used in Asian desserts and dishes. It is known as an alternative to Bird’s Nest. My mother usually prepares me snow fungus with papaya and rock sugar when she has time. I notice immediate results from consuming snow fungus for several days at a time. I do not notice any difference in my skin when consuming bird’s nest.

When I consume snow fungus, my skin is boosted with extra collagen, feels more supple, bouncy, and moisturized. It is almost like consuming large amounts of FINE collagen powder drinks, but with super immediate results!

I’ve learned to prepare different varieties of snow fungus desserts. I like to prepare it with papaya and rock sugar, Korean pears with red dates and sweet almonds, and plain with brown or raw sugar. Preparing a pot of snow fungus takes a few hours. In a near future post, I will teach you how to prepare this super collagen skin superfood! Snow fungus can be found in most dried good sections of Asian supermarkets for around $5USD.

In the mornings, I like to prepare a packet of Snow Fungus & Oats Mixed Instant Cereal, from the brand Sunway. I also purchase this from my local Asian grocer for around $7USD for a pack of 15 packets. I like consuming this healthy cereal mix because I do not have the time to always prepare snow fungus dessert soup. I can get my intake of snow fungus from eating this cereal. It is easy to prepare with warm milk or hot water.

Ingredients: Oat, Soy lecithin, flax seed, pearl barley, yam, walnut, snow fungus, lily bulb, almond, lotus seed, whole wheat, buckwheat, pine nut, glucose, vanilla extract, inulin.

*Contains now creamer and milk. Sugar-free. Vegan.

 

Via Taste of Hong Kong

Chinese Almond Tea – Traditional Style

Chinese Almond Tea

Almond tea was one of those fine foods the imperial families in the older days enjoy eating, folklores said. They also said that the imperial concubines loved to eat this for keeping their skin supple and glowing.

Nowadays, almond tea 杏仁茶 is often served as a dessert, a sweet drink. It can be made solely from Chinese sweet almonds (aka south almonds), or with the addition of rice for a creamier texture, the traditional way.

It contains no processed leaves but is called a tea because in some cases, tea also means a drink in Chinese.

Ingredients for Making Almond Tea

Making almond tea, like preparing soy bean milk, is all about soaking the kernels, grinding them with water and finally straining out the juice. In this recipe, we also add rice, sticky rice to be specific. You may also use white rice for a thinner texture or brown rice for a healthier choice.

For further variation, also try the almond milk (without rice) in papaya, a steamed way.

With or without rice, it is still a dairy-free drink, packed with pungent almond flavor.

Skinning Chinese sweet almonds could be as easy as skinning chestnuts. Or, you may also opt for those already skinned. Check it out at stores selling Chinese dried foods or dried herbs. Mind you, ask for sweet almonds (南杏) not bitter almonds (北杏).

Ingredients for Making Almond Tea
Chinese Sweet Almond aka South Almond

  • Ingredients
  • 100g Chinese sweet almonds (apricot kernels aka south almonds)
  • 40g glutinous (aka sticky) rice
  • ~3C water
  • ~30g rock sugar, or to taste

Method

To skin almonds, blanch them in boiling water for about a minute and immediately drain the kernels in a colander and rub off their skins with a towel (like this).

Wash sticky rice. Soak it in water for about 3 to 4 hours or according to instructions (wash and soak skinned almonds too, about an hour or two). Discard water.

Pulse rice and almonds with water in a food processor until finely ground, about half to one minute. Line colander with a muslin or fine clean cloth; place the colander over a bowl or pot to catch the liquid, strain juice from the pulp (photos) as much as possible.

Pour the juice into a pot, filling it only half full because the almond milk will turn frothy and may spill. Then cook it over medium to low heat until it reaches a boil, stirring occasionally; you may add some more water for a thinner consistency. Add sugar, and simmer until dissolved.

Serve hot or chilled (I like it hot).

Chinese Almond Tea

Enjoy!

Collagen Boosting Food!

Collagen is a major structural protein in the human body. It strengthens tendons, improves skin resilience and supports internal organs, according to the Protein Data Bank. As people age, collagen production slows down. This is most notably seen in the skin as wrinkles, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. An adequate intake of foods high in vitamin C, vitamin A, omega – 3 fatty acids, copper and niacin will help boost collagen production.

Omega – 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 Fatty Acids enhance ligament fibroblast collagen formation in association with changes in interleukin-6 production.  Omega 3 also lessens  collagen breakdown and the acids help with skin renewal and production.  Foods high in omega – 3 fatty acids are tuna and salmon.

English: Flesh of an Atlantic Salmon.

English: Flesh of an Atlantic Salmon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Foods High in Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential in the production of collagen. It is needed to turn the amino acid proline into hydroxyproline. Hydroxyproline improves collagen stability. Inadequate intake of vitamin C slows collagen production, leading to scurvy. Without enough collagen, the body is unable to repair itself.  Foods high in vitamin C to help boost collagen include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli, tomatoes and strawberries.

Cantalope Melon

Cantalope Melon (Photo credit: shanta)

 

Foods High in Niacin

Niacin assists the functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system. In preliminary studies, niacin increases collagen production and reduces dark spots on the skin. Foods high in niacin to boost collagen production include dairy products, fish, poultry, lean meat, nuts and eggs. Legumes and enriched cereals and breads provide some niacin.

Almonds

Almonds (Photo credit: Shelby PDX)

 

Foods High in Copper

Copper is a mineral people need in only small amounts. But it is an essential nutrient in the production of collagen. The best sources of copper to increase collagen production include oysters, crabs, mussels, beef liver, cashews, filberts, almonds, soybeans, peanuts, chocolate, fortified cereals, mushrooms, potatoes, grapes, avocados and bananas.

White Tea

Drinking white tea helps to protect the skin from further damage, preventing the activity of enzymes that break down collagen as we age. Drink white tea in the morning to counteract aging and to help with hydration, an important part of keeping skin young!

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans help your body to produce hyaluronic acid, an anti-aging substance, which helps keep the collagen in your skin.

Collagen Facts!

 

Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in skin and connective tissues. That “plumps out” the skin, removing fine lines and wrinkles and preventing them from forming. With age collagen levels decline. Collagen is essential for beautiful skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints. Starting at the age of 21 collagen diminishes 1% per year. By age 30, the signs of diminished collagen become visible. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals (humans), making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. Collagen, in the form of elongated fibrils, is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as the skin and cartilage. The fibroblast is the most common cell which creates collagen.

Vol. 193, Issue 5 - toc1

Vol. 193, Issue 5 – toc1 (Photo credit: TheJCB)

 

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