It’s impossible to understand skincare without first understanding a bit about the skin and how it works. In this guide, I’m going to try to distil the basics from what is quite elaborate science to give you everything you need to know. Human skin is a complex biological organ straddling the junction between beauty, health and disease. Rightly or wrongly, good skin, particularly of the face, has long been considered a marker of attractiveness. It is closely linked not just to the visual aesthetic, but also to self-esteem, confidence and how we view ourselves.
Skin, however, is more than just skin-deep. Our skin has a number of important physiological roles in maintaining health: it provides a physical and biochemical barrier to the outside world, simultaneously protecting us from ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, preventing water loss and blocking the entry of unwanted microbes and chemicals. Cells of the immune system are ubiquitous in the skin, preventing infection. Body temperature is regulated by blood vessels in the skin.
Skin is a vital sensory organ and site of vitamin D production. We can become so obsessed with making our skin look good that we forget to thank it for all the amazing things it does for us every day.
To understand exactly how beauty products work, why common skin problems occur and what happens to our skin as it ages, it is important to have a basic understanding of normal skin structure and its constituent components. The skin has two main parts: the upper epidermis and the lower dermis.
These together sit on top of a layer of fat and connective tissue that gives the skin its support. The outermost layer of the skin – the upper part of the epidermis – is known as the stratum corneum. This is made up of dead skin cells that are integral to the skin’s function as a barrier. Skin cells turn over approximately every twenty-eight days, with cells from the upper layers being continually shed and replaced by cells from deeper layers.
The epidermis is the outermost part of the skin, the bit that gets up close and personal with the outside world. To do its job successfully as the first line of defence, it has four main cell types, each with its own important role to play.
The main cell in the epidermis, keratinocytes produce the protein keratin, which provides the skin with physical protection and waterproofing. You may already be familiar with keratin as it’s also the main component of hair and nails, and can also be an ingredient in some personal-care products.
These cells produce the pigment melanin, which gives our skin its colour and protects us against UV light from the sun.
c) Langerhans cells
Langerhans cells are part of the immune system and are ready to seek and destroy any microbes that may invade the skin.
d) Merkel cells
These sensory cells are found deep in the epidermis, and provide us with the sensation of touch.
The dermis sits below the epidermis. It is often divided into two layers: the upper ‘papillary’ dermis and the lower ‘reticular’ dermis. The papillary dermis is rich in nerve endings whilst the reticular dermis provides the skin with its structural support and elasticity, and is rich in collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. The beauty industry and anti-ageing market has taken much interest in these molecules, and as the terms are often thrown about in writing and talk on skincare, they definitely warrant a closer look.
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It forms a scaffold that gives strength, rigidity and support to the skin. There are at least sixteen different types of collagen in the skin, although 80 to 90 per cent of human collagen is of types 1, 2 and 3. Gram for gram, collagen is stronger than steel. You can rebuild your skin taking supplements.
Elastin is another connective tissue protein found in skin. As its name suggests, elastin gives skin its elasticity; indeed, its properties are often compared to those of elastic bands: it allows skin to resume its original shape after being stretched, pinched or poked. You can try bone broth diet to erase wrinkles and improve skin structure.
c) Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid belongs to a group of compounds known as glycosaminoglycans, and also forms part of the skin’s framework. It is essentially a very large sugar molecule with a gel-like consistency. Hyaluronic acid has a unique capacity to bind over 1,000 times its own weight in water. Its purpose in skin is to keep it soft, plump and hydrated. Hyaluronic acid is a popular constituent in skincare due to its moisturizing properties; it can also be injected into, or under, the skin in the form of dermal fillers.
The process of getting older outwardly can be seen in the skin before any other organ of the body. Changes are visible to us and to those around us and growing old cannot be hidden, unlike many other medical issues. We are living longer than ever before and, for some people, the natural changes associated with skin ageing can be seen as undesirable or even unhealthy. The anti-ageing market continues to grow in lockstep with this, often in response to (but also frequently driving) exactly these kinds of concerns.
The science behind skin ageing
As skin ages, there is a reduction in both the number and size of skin cells. It functions less effectively as a protective barrier, temperature regulation is less efficient and there is a decline in the production of sweat, sebum (oil) and vitamin D. The skin itself becomes increasingly thin over time due to a steady reduction in collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid (it is commonly quoted that collagen production in the skin falls by 1 per cent each year after the age of twenty).
Cells turn over less quickly and wound healing is relatively impaired. To the external observer, these changes become apparent as dry skin, fine lines, deep furrows and wrinkles.
Skin starts to sag as it loses its support and textural changes appear. Broken blood vessels, thread veins and uneven skin pigmentation become more prominent. Frighteningly, some of these changes can set in as early as your late twenties or early thirties. Aesthetics aside, ageing also affects the skin’s immune response and certain skin cancers become more common as we get older.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN AGEING?
Skin ageing occurs for a variety of reasons; some of these are under our control (extrinsic factors) whilst others are not (intrinsic factors). We call them intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. Let’s look at these in more detail.
Intrinsic, or ‘chronological’, skin ageing is inevitable and, with our current understanding, cannot be prevented in practice; it happens to all of us and is largely genetically determined. If your parents aged well, the chances are good that you will also. We have learned much about the mechanisms of ageing in recent years and a number of underlying causes have been hypothesized. These include:
a) Telomere shortening
Our DNA is tightly packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. Telomeres are specialized regions found at the ends of chromosomes and are analogous to the plastic tips found at the ends of shoelaces. Telomeres prevent the ends of the chromosomes fraying or sticking to one another. Each time a cell divides, its telomeres get shorter, and when they get too short, the cell is no longer able to divide; it consequently becomes inactive or dies.
This process of telomere shortening has been linked to skin ageing as well as certain human diseases. Although there is a lot of ongoing research in this area, we don’t yet understand telomeres well enough to develop a safe cure for telomere shortening.
b) Mitochondrial damage
Mitochondria are the tiny ‘powerhouses’ inside human cells, converting oxygen and nutrients into the chemical energy that powers them. Energy production generates free radicals, harmful molecules which have the ability to damage the cell itself over time and if allowed to accumulate. The processes by which mitochondria generate energy, therefore, also have the ability to damage it, rendering cells past their ‘sell-by’ date.
c) Hormonal changes
Hormonal changes, particularly in women, are also thought to contribute to intrinsic skin ageing. Women are more vulnerable to hormonally induced ageing than men due to the more complex hormonal patterns that occur not just over the course of their monthly cycles, but also during their lifetime as a whole. After the menopause, levels of the hormone oestrogen decline. This has been linked to a loss of skin elasticity, reduced hydration and reduced water-binding capacity. Skin changes are noticeably significant after the menopause.
Now, extrinsic factors are the ones we have the ability to control or change. Extrinsic ageing occurs against the background of intrinsic ageing. And whilst I love basking in the summer heat, UVA and UVB rays in sunlight are the biggest culprits implicated in the skin’s extrinsic ageing process. Sunlight also contains other wavelengths of light, including infrared-A and high-energy visible light, and recent data suggests that these may also have a lesser role to play. So, if you want to keep your youthful good looks, sun protection is an absolute must.
To put all this into perspective, the effects of sunlight are thought to contribute a whopping 80 to 90 per cent of the visible signs associated with ageing. These include wrinkles, pigmentation, sunspots and reduced skin elasticity. Compare the skin on your buttocks or upper inner forearms to the skin on your face or hands. The latter are subject to chronic sun exposure and are much more likely than the former two sites to show, with age, features such as wrinkles or pigmentation. Scientific research on sets of identical twins confirms that the twin with more sun exposure shows features of skin ageing much earlier.
As they are genetically identical, we can be confident that the difference was due to the environmental factor: the sun exposure. So let’s look at ultraviolet light in a bit more detail, seeing as it’s the cause of many of our ageing woes. UVA is the predominant ray and the ratio of UVA to UVB rays is on average 20:1.
This may come as a surprise, but UVA has the ability to penetrate clouds and window glass, causing damage to the skin. This is something to think about if you spend a lot of time driving or near windows. The proportion of UVA reaching the earth’s surface is relatively constant throughout the year, but due to environmental factors such as cloud cover, the proportion of UVB reaching the earth’s surface peaks in the summer months. In the UK, due to our latitude, there is very little UVB in the winter months.
The different types of UV light interact with our skin at different depths. UVB rays, with a shorter wavelength than UVA, mostly penetrate the upper skin layers or epidermis; it is UVB that primarily causes skin reddening and sunburn. UVA rays have the ability to penetrate the skin more deeply, affecting the lower dermal layers, but do not significantly contribute to redness and sunburn. UVA has long been considered both the ageing and tanning ray. An easy way to remember this is UV A for ageing; UV B for burning . Both ultimately damage your skin, and so not too surprisingly we need protection against both.
HOW DOES UV LIGHT FROM THE SUN CAUSE SKIN AGEING?
UV light causes damage to the skin via a number of molecular mechanisms. We still have a lot to learn in this field but research is providing more answers and therefore driving our skincare choices. About 50 per cent of UV damage is from its causing the formation of free radicals, which are harmful to skin cells. The rest of the damage is from UV light causing direct cell injury and DNA damage. UV light has been shown to activate enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases; these break down collagen and damage the skin’s support structure, making it sag or deepening wrinkles.
These enzymes also have the ability to prevent new collagen production. What you will see in the mirror as a result of these processes is sagging, wrinkles and thin, inelastic skin – the kinds of things we typically associate with ageing. Research also suggests that UV light causes accumulation of a protein known as progerin. This can limit the lifespan of skin cells and their ability to regenerate; the skin is therefore less effective in protecting us. None of this spells good news for our skin.
However, it is within our control to limit the amount of UV light to which our skin is exposed. Preventing damage is often more cost-effective than treatments trying to reverse the visible signs of ageing. If we think about it in these terms, why spend thousands of pounds undergoing invasive procedures to correct skin damage when you could spend under £20 on sunscreen to prevent the damage in the first place? In this day and age, focus should always be on preventative healthcare where possible. There are factors other than sunshine that also contribute to external ageing to a lesser degree. These include smoking, diet and pollution. Collectively, these non-genetic, environmental factors are sometimes referred to as the ‘exposome’.
SKIN OF COLOUR
There are some important differences in skin of colour or ethnic skin. The pigment melanin, which gives our skin its colour, is present in higher quantities in those with dark skin. Melanin absorbs UV light and has the ability to block free radical damage. Darker skin is therefore relatively more protected from sun damage and ageing. Research suggests that black skin has a natural sun protection factor (SPF) of 13.4 compared to white skin, which is about 3.4.
Skin of colour develops problems with pigmentation more readily than white skin types. Inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis can often leave dark staining in the skin that can persist for months. This is known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The onset of wrinkles, skin laxity and sagging is less common in dark skin when compared to an age-equivalent individual with white skin. Despite this, even dark skin types are vulnerable to sun damage, just not to the same degree. Prolonged, cumulative sun exposure, however, will still lead to the signs we associate with ageing skin so those with dark skin types should also be practising preventative measures.
Bone broth, long regarded as a natural medicine, contains proteins and minerals essential for everything from beating the common cold to speeding recovery from injuries. In fact, a 2010 study conducted at the University of Mosul College of Medicine found that bone broth, with its complex combination of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, significantly improved the speed and quality of healing bones. Broth is also packed with minerals and amino acids that fuel your body to rebuild stronger cells, thus boosting immunity.
So it turns out your grandma wasn’t so far off base when she encouraged you to eat a nice big bowl of chicken soup to cure everything that ailed you, from the flu to a broken arm. She recognized bone broth for the miracle worker that it is. Only recently have the rest of us begun to fully embrace this ancient remedy as a cure for modern ailments.
Bone broth’s health benefits are both immediate and long term. Because it’s packed with protein, it serves as the ultimate energy drink and post-workout recovery beverage for weekend warriors and pro athletes alike. As the foundation of a healthy lifestyle, broth has been shown to reduce inflammation—an underlying cause of some of the most prevalent diseases of the twenty-first century, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
Bone broth’s high doses of collagen also make it more powerful than any antiaging product or beauty cream, promoting younger-looking skin, healthier hair, stronger bones and nails, and smoother joints. Some doctors and nutritionists are even prescribing bone broth to patients afflicted with mental conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, depression, schizophrenia, and autism. This is because more research is emerging to support the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS), a theory that suggests our brain functions depend heavily on the digestive system and its health.
Read More: The Basics of the Bone Broth Diet
WHY IT IS CALLED THE NEW MULTIVITAMIN
Have you ever read the ingredients list on the back of your multivitamin bottle? Then you’re probably already familiar with a lot of the words you’re about to see. Bone broth is a veritable food-based multivitamin that’s loaded with good things your body craves. Here are just a few:
Glycosaminoglycans are described by Dr. Cate Shanahan in her book Deep Nutrition as “very special molecules that keep our joints healthy.” Three of these compounds are prevalent in bone broth.
Glucosamine is widely used as a supplement to treat arthritis and help patients recover from injuries and surgery.
Hyaluronic Acid is naturally present in the human body, but studies have shown we can benefit from it as a supplement to treat osteoarthritis and mouth sores and toheal wounds and burns.
Chondroitin Sulfate can significantly reduce arthritic pain and increase joint mobility for people suffering from arthritis, according to a 2003 task force report by the European League Against Rheumatism. It’s sold in dietary supplements, and is approved and regulated as a symptomatic slow-acting drug for osteoarthritis in Europe and elsewhere.
Electrolytes are electrically charged particles that keep our bodies functioning normally and play a key role in keeping us hydrated by balancing the water inside and outside of our cells. Electrolytes are abundant in broth.
Calcium , the most plentiful mineral found in the human body, is one of the electrolytes also abundant in bone broth. Most of us know that calcium helps our bodies build stronger bones and teeth, but it also aids in clotting blood, sending and receiving nerve signals, supporting muscle function, releasing hormones, and maintaining a normal heartbeat.
Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It also strengthens our bones, helps our nerves and muscles to function normally, boosts the immune system, and keeps our hearts beating steadily, all while aiding in energy production. Magnesium also helps regulate our blood sugar levels. Ongoing studies are also investigating whether magnesium can help prevent and manage high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other disorders.
Phosphorus , a building block for our bones and teeth, also aids in kidney function, muscle contractions, steadying the heartbeat, and nerve signaling. This powerful electrolyte plays a role in using and storing carbohydrates and fats, and for making the protein essential to grow, build, and repair cells. Phosphorus is especially helpful in developing our connective tissues.
Silicon , not to be confused with silicone , the group of materials that resemble plastic, is a mineral often used as a supplement to help strengthen weak bones, treat heart disease, and support the cardiovascular system. A 2013 article published in the International Journal of Endocrinology cited studies that found consuming foods rich in silicon can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, particularly for postmenopausal women. It’s also helpful in healing skin and sprains and in treating digestive disorders.
Collagen , the most abundant protein in our bodies, is often referred to as the “glue” that holds us together. It is most commonly found in the skin, bones, arteries, and connective tissues, providing structural support and a degree of elasticity that makes our bodies incredibly resilient. Collagen is what makes our skin strong and elastic, and is vital in replacing dead skin cells. It’s especially helpful in healing wounds more quickly and revitalizing the skin. Studies have even shown that ingesting the collagen found in bone broth can reduce the harmful effects of sun exposure. You can also take is as a supplements as it has got many benefits.
Gelatin is the food term people use for collagen. It is the most visible indicator of the nutrients you will extract from animal bones and cartilage when making bone broth. Most of us are familiar with Jell-O, and properly prepared bone broth should gel similarly when cooled. Gelatin is a well-known treatment for brittle nails, among other things.
Amino Acids , the twenty-two compounds vital to proper functioning, are often referred to as the building blocks of life. Many of the proteins found in bone broth actually turn into these amino acids when we’re digesting them. Bone broth is rich in two especially important amino acids.
All of these nutrients are locked in the bones, tendons, and cartilage of animals until the slow-cooking process liberates them. By simmering the bones, joints, and feet of healthy, pasture-raised animals in water for hours, or days, you are creating an extract of collagen, bone, skin, marrow, and fat—the very essence of our being—that the body can use immediately and efficiently.
Adding vegetables and herbs to your bone broth only enhances its nutritional benefits. And including an acid such as vinegar or wine helps to extract nutrients, particularly the minerals, from the bones. The result is a delicious way to get our daily dose of vitamins—and then some. You can follow this recipe. These vitamins can aid virtually every organ and function of your body, from nourishing your skin to supporting your metabolic system.
In this article, I’m going to give you a quick overview of the Bone Broth Diet. I promise I’ll get to that in a minute. However, before we talk about what you’ll do on this diet, I want to talk about three things I don’t want you to do. That’s because I know how many times diets have failed you in the past—and I want you to know that this one is different.
Charlie, a former college soccer player, came to me because at 30, he was getting a beer belly. After two failed diets, he figured he’d just learn to learn to live with it. But his wife saw me on TV and insisted that he come to see me. “So tell me what to count,” Charlie said right off the bat. “What?” I asked. He sighed. “Just tell me what to count. You know—calories, carbs, fat grams, whatever. I’ll do it.” I laughed. “Nothing. You’re not going to count anything. You’re just going to eat.” He looked bewildered. And he said, “No, really. What am I supposed to count?”
I’m guessing that, like Charlie, you equate dieting with counting calories, grams of fat, or carbs or with endlessly weighing out tiny portions on a scale. (Some of my patients’ former doctors even ordered them to take their scales to restaurants.) What’s more, I’m betting that you also equate dieting with eating dry, tasteless food. And finally, I’m sure you equate dieting with being desperately hungry and not being able to eat. If so, here’s how my diet is different.
- I don’t want you to count calories.
- I don’t want you to count grams of fat.
- I don’t want you to count carbs (you’ll control them naturally).
- I don’t want you to force yourself to eat idiotic, tasteless “diet” foods like dry toast, egg-white omelets, and fat-free yogurt. Instead, I want you to eat real food.
- I don’t want you to ever, ever say, “I’m starving, but I can’t eat right now.”
- Okay? No counting. No tasteless diet food. And even more important: no starving. One of the worst things about ill-conceived approaches like low-calorie and low-fat diets is that they drive people into desperate hunger—and that absolutely guarantees failure.
On this diet, you’ll have five or six meals of bone broth on your mini-fast days. On nonfasting days, you’ll have three full meals plus two snacks. And if you get hungry anyway, there are “extras” you can grab. So promise yourself right now: “If I get really hungry, I will eat.” Good. And now I have just one more thing I want you to say to yourself. And that is: “If I do cheat and eat something that’s not on my diet, I won’t hate myself and feel like I’m a loser. I’ll just move on to the next moment in my life and start the diet over.”
Why am I stressing this? For two reasons. First, stuff happens. Believe me, I know this firsthand. If you carefully plan your 3-week diet and then things go wrong—you total your car, lose out on a promotion, or go through a breakup—then it’s possible that you’re going to give in to the temptation to console yourself with pizza or a carton of ice cream. And I totally get that, because I’ve been there. If this happens, beating yourself up afterward won’t make anything better.
Here’s what I want you to understand: Stress hormones are made from fat and sugar. So when you stress more, guess what your body naturally craves—sugar and fat. Of course, eating crappy food will just cause you more stress . . . and that stress will tempt you to overeat again and again. There’s another good reason to avoid beating yourself up if you eat a candy bar or drink a soda. One big key to why this diet works is that it cuts out sugar and sugary carbs. But here’s the thing: If you have a sweet tooth, there’s a good chance you’re actually addicted to these foods.
If that’s the case, it might take you a few tries to wean yourself. And you know what I have to say about that? It’s perfectly fine. Think of sugary foods as that bad lover you keep going back to. Eventually, you’ll break free.
I have confidence in you. If you give in to temptation and break your diet because you had a bad day or the Sugar Demon got to you, here’s what I want you to do: Simply realize that you’re a beautifully imperfect human being, and sometimes you’re going to screw up. And guess what: That’s perfectly fine, as long as you don’t stay stuck in your screwup. So just say next , move on to the next moment in your life, and start your 3-week clock over again.
So okay. There are your ground rules: No counting. No eating tasteless nonfood or starving. No beating yourself up if you slip up. Now let’s get down to the basics.
IS THE BONE BROTH DIET RIGHT FOR YOU?
The Bone Broth Diet is an extraordinarily safe and healthy diet. In fact, I believe it’s the healthiest diet on the planet. My patients love what it does for their waistlines, their skin, and their well-being. However, here’s one situation in which I don’t recommend this diet: if you’re pregnant. Millions of pregnant women do fast on religious holidays, and there’s no evidence that it’s harmful—but until we’re absolutely sure it’s fine, don’t do it. In addition, if any of these conditions apply to you, check with your doctor before starting the diet. Diabetes.
The Bone Broth Diet is an outstanding choice for people with diabetes, and I’ve used variations of it to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome in many patients. (Metabolic syndrome, a precursor to diabetes, is a group of symptoms including large waist size, elevated blood glucose levels, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol levels.) However, because this diet can swiftly lower your blood sugar levels, your doctor will need to monitor you very closely if you’re diabetic to make sure you don’t experience dangerous hypoglycemia. S
tart this diet only if your doctor is on board and agrees to carefully supervise you. Other chronic health problems. The Bone Broth Diet frequently reduces or even eliminates symptoms of autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, and many other conditions. Just make sure to get the nod from your doctor if you have any chronic health problems like these. Also, ask your doctor if mini-fasting will affect your medications, if you’re taking any. An eating disorder.
If you have any history of an eating disorder such as bulimia, anorexia nervosa, or orthexia, make sure your doctor says that it’s okay for you to follow this or any other diet plan. An acute illness or injury. One of the reasons fasting works so well is that it challenges your body. But if you’re already being challenged by an infection or injury, this isn’t the time to add more stress. Finally, while this diet can be beneficial for overweight children, be sure to get a doctor’s permission before putting any child under the age of 18 on it.
HOW LONG WILL YOU WANT TO STAY ON THE BONE BROTH DIET?
The Bone Broth Diet is basically a 3-week program for taking off weight fast. That’s why I’m giving you 3 weeks’ worth of recipes and meal plans. However, you can stay on this diet as long as you want. I have patients who’ve lost more than 100 pounds by staying on it for months. If you want to stick with it longer than 3 weeks, you can rotate back through the recipes and menu plans I’ve outlined, or you can get creative and make up your own recipes.
After 21 days, you’ll know which foods to eat and which to avoid, so it’ll be easy to get adventurous in the kitchen. My advice is to initially commit to the Bone Broth Diet for 3 weeks. At the outset of the diet, weigh yourself and take your measurements.
If you’re excited about your results but you want to shed still more weight, then stick with the diet longer. Once you’re happy with what the scale says, you can use my maintenance program to keep the weight off and keep your skin looking young.
If you’re following the 3-week plan and you do have a “beautifully imperfect” moment at any point, simply start your 3-week clock again. This diet is so easy and so rewarding that spending a little extra time on it won’t seem like punishment. I pretty much live on this diet, and I never feel deprived. Now, one final note. More than 90 percent of people start losing weight right away on this diet. Typically, they lose at least 15 pounds in 3 weeks.
Every once in a while, however, it takes a little longer. So if you hit or even pass the 2-week mark and the inches aren’t falling off as fast as you’d like, hang in there. As my next story shows, the payoff can be huge.
WHAT RESULTS CAN YOU EXPECT ON THE BONE BROTH DIET?
In my experience, patients lose anywhere from 10 to 15 pounds when they spend 3 weeks on the diet. However, that’s anecdotal evidence—even though I’ve seen the same results in hundreds of people. So to confirm my own findings, I set up three independent trials run by different clinicians in three different cities: Detroit, Los Angeles, and New York City. The participants in the trials stayed on the diet for 21 days, and here is what the data showed.
- Participants lost up to 15 pounds and up to 4 inches in their measurements.
- Their wrinkles and “double chins” diminished, their skin tone evened out, and their acne healed.
- They felt healthier. Two participants no longer required insulin after the diet, one was able to radically decrease her insulin dose, and one person’s shingles cleared up.
- They slept better.
- They felt better emotionally. As one participant put it, “I feel happy again.”
WHY DOES THE BONE BROTH DIET ERASE WRINKLES?
Most diets actually wreck your skin. That’s because they pull water, healthy fats, and other nutrients out of your skin cells, weakening and aging these cells. But on this diet, at the same time you’re losing weight, you’ll be losing wrinkles and getting your “glow” back. Does that sound too good to be true? If so, it’s because you’ve been conditioned to think that the only way to erase wrinkles is from the outside in—with injections, creams, or surgery. But that’s not correct. In reality, the best way to erase wrinkles permanently is to do it from the inside out. You can reconsider this for your skincare.
Think of your skin cells as healthy, bouncy balls. As you age, they start to lose their bounce and get tired and flabby. As a result, your skin matrix becomes weak, rapidly accelerating the formation of wrinkles. At the same time, if you’re eating a diet high in inflammatory grains and sugar and deficient in healthy fats and other key nutrients, your skin gets dry, flaky, rough, and sick—and dry, sick skin wrinkles quickly and deeply.
When you drink bone broth, you’ll mainline the building blocks of collagen straight to your cells, “reinflating” them. It’s better than Botox because it lasts. Remember, Botox’s job is to paralyze the muscles to prevent wrinkles. It doesn’t and never will build or replace collagen. On the Bone Broth Diet, you’ll build strong and resilient skin cell walls with healthy fats, and you’ll reverse inflammation with anti-inflammatory foods. Plus, you’ll load your body with nutrients that protect against photoaging (for instance, the potent anthocyanins in berries).
If you want evidence of how powerful the wrinkle-blasting effects of food are, I’m proof. I’m 50 years old, I’ve never had surgery or used Botox or expensive face creams, and I always get compliments on my skin. I don’t say this to try to impress you, but to impress upon you that you can have beautiful skin at any age. It all happens with food.
Reconsider What You Know About Skincare- May Be Its WrongReconsider What You Know About Skincare- May Be Its Wrong
Our skin Ageing has two categories which is intrinsic and extrinsic ageing. For centuries, humans have been searching for the exact formulation of ingredients that will erase the signs of ageing from their faces. Today, that pursuit has hit record proportions, with British people spending lot of money on anti-ageing skincare products alone) Yet, ask these individuals if they’re happy with the results they’re getting from these products and you’re certain to get a lukewarm response. In fact, of those who use anti-ageing products, only 3 percent claim to have used them because they found them effective?
This statistic comes as no surprise to me. Throughout my nearly twenty years in practice as a plastic and cosmetic surgeon, countless patients—both women and men—have told me stories of spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on products that promised to deliver a youthful appearance but did little more than smell good. Despite this, the number one question I’m asked remains, “What product do you recommend I use to remove wrinkles?’ As consumers, we continue to hold out hope that the fountain of youth really can be found in a jar.
Motivated by a consumer willingness to spend dollar after dollar on skincare that promises to turn back the hands of time, cosmetic companies have sent their product development teams into overdrive. The result: Thousands of products are launched each year featuring “revolutionary” new ingredients or “miracle” formulations and accompanied by marketing campaigns that feature scientific claims and flawless models. Who can blame people for being convinced?
When my patients tell me about the disappointing products they’ve used, they inevitably defend their purchase by referring to the science that backed the products’ claims. You know what they’re talking about: “clinically proven to reduce wrinkles in seven days,” or “after four weeks, 90 percent reported that fine lines had faded away.” While many companies do cite justifiable, independent research to back product ingredients, of concern are the organizations that tout biased findings. We need to be certain that the claims are founded on “good science’ and are, thus, valid.
While commonly accepted myths are prevalent in many consumer industries, they run particularly rampant in the skincare category. Given the emotion that accompanies the desire to improve one’s appearance, marketers have been able to convince consumers of many factors that, at face value, don’t make much sense. It’s as though the trendy product design and incredible before and after photos erode one’s better judgment.
Some of my favorite skincare myths are outlined below. You’ll also find the facts that debunk them.
PRODUCTS CONTAINING COLLAGEN AND/OR ELASTIN CAN REJUVENATE SKIN CELLS
Countless advertisements in recent years exclaim a product’s use of collagen and/or elastin. These are major structural proteins in our skin that are often advertised to have magical qualities when applied topically. However, the reality is that, when added to a product, collagen or elastin has absolutely no benefit to the skin whatsoever. At most, they may make the product consistency “feel” more silky and smooth.
Collagen and elastin are proteins found in our skin and in that of all animals. These proteins comprise the structure of the dermal layer of the skin. However, collagen and elastin cannot be absorbed into the skin because their moleculer size is too large, a step that would be essential if they were to do any good whatsoever. What’s more, if you take them out of a human or animal source, the proteins are dead. Therefore, even if the skin could absorb them, they’re completely inactive and would not provide any benefit. The only collagen or elastin our bodies can use is that created by our own cells and tissues. That from another human or animal source is completely useless.
Say for a moment, however, that collagen and elastin did have some beneficial properties when applied topically to the skin. It would then be important to note the type of collagen or elastin that is used. Most collagen and elastin found on ingredient lists is referred to as “soluble collagen” or “hydrolyzed elastin.” This means the manufacturer has actually cut the molecule into tiny pieces. Therefore, even if they were beneficial, you aren’t getting true collagen or elastin in these products—only pieces of these proteins.
The only benefit of using collagen and elastin in skincare products is the improvement it brings to the consistency of the product. In other words, they make the product feel nice on skin.
PRODUCTS CONTAINING OXYGEN ENSURE YOUTHFUL-LOOKING SKIN
Given that oxygen is essential to life, its usage on our skin must be beneficial, right? Wrong.
Simply put, we need approximately 23% oxygen in the air we breathe to live. Anything more than that may be converted into 03, otherwise known as oxidants or free radicals. This fact alone demonstrates that oxygen in skincare products isn’t beneficial. However, let’s go a step further and look at a few additional realities. First, humans cannot absorb oxygen through the skin; it is only absorbed through the lungs. From an evolutionary standpoint, if our skin could absorb oxygen, our lungs wouldn’t have developed.
Second —and here’s the real catch—oxygen cannot even be put into a skincare product because it’s a gas. It simply won’t mix with the product’s other added ingredients. Even if it could be contained in a product formulation, it would release into the atmosphere rather than penetrate the skin when applied, due to its gaseous state. Therefore, any marketing that claims a product contains pure oxygen is little more than false advertising.
FACIAL SKLN REQUIRES MULTIPLE MOISTURIZERS
It is a common misconception that skin needs numerous, separate moisturizers for different areas of the face. The skin does need a good moisturizer, the type of which is dependent upon skin type. For instance, oily skin requires a moisturizer with less oil-based humectants, while very dry skin needs a moisturizer with heavier humectants. However, there is no absolute need to buy separate moisturizers for different parts of your face.
SEPARATE EYE CREAM IS ESSENTIAL
The skin around the eyes is thinner and has fewer oil glands. Therefore, it does require extra care. However, use of a hydrating moisturizer works just fine if carefully applied around the eyes. Skin is skin, so what works on the rest of your face works in this area, as well. If trying, specifically, to improve the appearance of fine lines, puffiness, and dark circles, then a separate eye product such as a serum or gel-formulated product with extra emollients may be considered.
THE CONCEPT OF “GENTLE EXFOLIATION,”
There is no such thing as “gentle exfoliation.” By its nature, exfoliation requires force or strong acid to remove dead and damaged skin cells. Only by being aggressive with exfoliation will it give the desired effect of collagen stimulation and dermal rejuvenation. Although rubbing the skin with “granules” or “microspheres” may give a temporary polished feel to the skin, it will not provide the necessary force to slough dead skin cells and boost collagen production.
PRODUCTS THAT ARE “DERMATOLOGIST RECOMMENDED” OR “DERMATOLOGIST TESTED” ARE PROVEN TO WORK
Phrases like “dermatologist recommended” or “dermatologist tested” simply mean that as few as one dermatologist has tried the product or used it on a patient with no negative results. It is in no way valid proof of a product’s performance.
MEN AND WOMEN REQUIRE DIFFERENT SKINCARE PRODUCTS
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of skincare products formulated specifically for men. Remember the tenant that “skin is skin?” The same rule applies here. Of course, individuals have different concerns and, thus, require differing approaches to skincare. But these differences cannot simply be divided down gender lines.
Given the recent growth of the male personal care market, it’s no wonder that companies are putting out skincare lines targeted specifically to this audience. However, the only difference between these products and other skincare lines is the fragrance and the look of the bottles. After all, few men want a “cute” bottle on their bathroom shelf!
EXPENSIVE SKENCARE PRODUCTS FROM ESTABLISHED BRANDS ARE THE MOST EFFECTIVE
This is exactly the marketers of these products wants you to think. In reality, this statement is far from true. These brands, most of which invest far more in marketing than in product research and development, gain their “well known” reputation through aggressive advertising campaigns.
WATER-BASED SKI–WARE PRODUCTS KEEP YOUR SKIN HYDRATED
This is, in my opinion, one of the biggest myths within the skincare industry. Water-based skincare products don’t hydrate because the skin cannot absorb water. The presence of water simply dilutes the active ingredients that are contained within the product.
Motivated by my patients’ obvious frustration and confusion about skincare, in 1996 I embarked on a yearlong quest to find the best skincare line. I wanted to give my patients a strong recommendation when they asked what products to use pre- and post-procedure and for ongoing maintenance of their skin.
My background certainly was helpful in this endeavor. A significant part of my surgical training was spent working with burns and exploring elements that impact wound healing. In fact, I conducted research on the growth factors involved in skin repair at a cellular level. Additionally, I was aided by an expert knowledge of organic chemistry, biology, and pharmacology.
Given that my surgical mentor, Dr. Martin Robson, past chair of the American Board of Plastic Surgery, was recognized worldwide for his research on the benefits of aloe in healing, I was influenced to utilize high-grade aloe in my surgical practice. After all, I saw firsthand how the application of aloe to skin flaps in surgery has a remarkable ability to prevent tissue damage and accelerate healing. Robson’s work encouraged me to pursue my own research into potential applications for aloe within a clinical environment and, thus, I’ve authored numerous studies proving its benefits in conditions ranging from frostbite and burns to diabetes.
These experiences, including the results I’ve seen in my own practice, have continually convinced me that aloe vera is a powerhouse ingredient for use in sensible skincare. Aloe vera has immense and manifold benefits to the skin, and its effectiveness has been proven not only in the laboratory but in human studies, as well. Because of this, I became particularly interested in developing a line of skincare products that could properly use aloe’s valuable properties.
The research project was eye opening, at minimum. I was surprised to find that nearly every skincare brand I encountered—whether physician-dispensed or over-the-counter, drugstore or department store, organic or conventional—utilized a base of water. When aloe was utilized, it was in minute quantities and of inadequate quality to generate results. I began to realize that product formulations were often more marketing than science.
Most formulations I reviewed had little hope of ever accomplishing the results for which they were intended, and I was left feeling disenchanted. In good faith, I couldn’t recommend any single brand to my patients. What’s more, I realized it was essential that consumers become educated about the basic needs of their skin to prevent the continued frustration they were encountering. With that, I’ve spent the past ten years providing this knowledge to each of my patients, and it’s that knowledge that I share with you.
While I now formulate skincare products utilizing a base of pharmaceutical-grade aloe and ingredients proven by unbiased science to benefit the skin, it is important I note that, beyond my brand, many good skincare products do exist. However, rather than blindly trusting a single brand, buying a bundled regimen, or placing hope in a product that makes big promises, it’s important to review each formulation independently to determine if it will work for your skin. Through the pages of this book, I will give you the skills you need to become an empowered consumer of skincare.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic Ageing- Discover the DifferenceIntrinsic and Extrinsic Ageing- Discover the Difference
Scientists divide skin Ageing into two categories — intrinsic and extrinsic ageing in our skin structure. Intrinsic Ageing includes the age-related changes that you cannot control. These originate predominantly in genetic factors and unfold over time at a predetermined pace. Extrinsic Ageing, on the other hand, is caused by factors that you can control. As you will learn throughout this book, you can do numerous things to avoid or even reverse the damage wrought by extrinsic Ageing.
What is Intrinsic Ageing
When you think of intrinsic Ageing, think heredity. The processes of intrinsic Ageing are the same for each individual, but your genetic legacy dictates the rate at which they unfold. The way your parents’ skin aged will give you good clues to how your own skin will age. If one or both of your parents enjoyed youthful skin to an advanced age, you may well be fortunate enough to have inherited the same characteristics.
One of the most dramatic changes in a woman’s appearance takes place in the years surrounding menopause. The drop in estrogen levels associated with menopause is well known to weaken the bones and increase a woman’s risk of contracting osteoporosis. However, reduced estrogen affects the health of the skin as well, causing a substantial loss of collagen, an important protein that makes up most of the skin’s supportive structure. The result is the proliferation of wrinkles and sagging skin often seen in postmenopausal women.
Although the visible signs of Ageing are apparent in the furrows, sags, and wrinkles of an older face, the processes of Ageing actually originate at a microscopic level, i.e., on the level of each individual cell. Skin Ageing is the result of a cumulative loss of numerous functions at the cellular level, which decreases the cells’ capacity to perform the metabolic and regenerating activities that uphold the health of the skin.
What is Extrinsic Ageing
Extrinsic Ageing is a far more powerful factor in the Ageing process than the time-related decay in biological functions associated with intrinsic Ageing. Fortunately, most of the factors that induce extrinsic Ageing are largely avoidable.
Excessive Sun Exposure
Of all the influences that cause premature Ageing, no single one is as important as sunlight. In our time and age, damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun is without a doubt the leading cause of skin Ageing. In fact, researchers estimate that skin damage induced by the ultraviolet rays of the sun is responsible for up to 8o percent of the skin’s Ageing.
One of the main reasons that sunlight is so harmful to the skin is that ultraviolet (UV) radiation triggers free radicals production in the skin. Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron and hence are in a state of chemical disequilibrium. To restore their balance, they turn into little molecular-sized “Pacmans,” gobbling up electrons from surrounding molecules and, in the process, wreaking havoc at the cellular level of the body.
Free radical damage is serious business. Excess free radical production is thought to increase the risk of numerous chronic diseases, including such leading killers as heart disease, stroke, and cancer. When free radicals are produced in excess in the skin, they attack the collagen in the skin, causing it to lose its resilience and strength and accelerating the appearance of wrinkles.
Most of the sun damage that induces premature Ageing typically happens in the early part of our lives, but the results don’t show up until years later. For many people, early-life sun damage is a ticking time bomb that is set off once they enter their late thirties or forties. Fortunately, as we see in later chapters, there are many ways not only to protect yourself against further sun damage, but to actually reverse the damage the sun might already have wrought on your skin.
The term “smoker’s face” was coined to characterize the maze of creases, crinkles, and deep grooves, and the dull, lifeless complexion one often sees on the faces of longtime smokers. If you don’t care that much about how you age, go ahead — smoke to your heart’s content! Apart from spending long hours in the sun, there is no better way to make sure your skin ages prematurely.
The list of the ways in which smoking affects the skin is long, but it can be summed up in one word: choking. Smoking decreases the flow of oxygen to the skin by as much as 3o percent. Cigarette smoke causes the fine blood vessels in the dermis to constrict, cutting off the nutrient supply the skin needs for constant self-regeneration and blocking the removal of waste products. As a result, the skin’s natural functions are compromised, and the skin begins to look gray and dull.
Smoking also triggers free radical production in the body, upsetting the delicate balance of bodily tissues and organs and causing similar damage to the skin as UV radiation. In fact, the combination of excessive sun exposure and smoking is a deadly cocktail for your skin and a surefire way to induce premature Ageing.
Airborne toxic waste products affect the skin in much the same way as cigarette smoke. Air pollutants restrict the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the skin and, in addition, trigger excess free radical production. Free radicals are always present in the body; they are a byproduct of normal metabolic activity, and the body has a series of built-in mechanisms for neutralizing them before they go on a rampage in the cellular environment. However, external influences, such as sunlight, smoke, and industrial pollution, can tip the balance of free radicals in the body and cause them to increase beyond the body’s capacity to inactivate them.
The effect of free radical damage on the skin and how to counteract it is one of the newest and most exciting areas of research in dermatology today. When it comes to manageing the Ageing process, understanding free radicals and how to neutralize them is a key step. In later chapters, we show you how to control or even reverse free radical damage.
Wear and Tear
Wear and tear is another source of extrinsic Ageing. The expression lines that emerge when you smile, frown, or lift your eyebrows create a constant mechanical challenge to the skin tissue in those areas. Over time, this shows up in your face as smile lines around your mouth and eyes, vertical furrows between your brows, or horizontal lines on your forehead. Similarly, if you sleep on your side with your face against a pillow year after year, the pressure of the skin against the pillow will cause creases that eventually become permanent. Such lines are less likely to emerge if you sleep on your back.
Your skin can also be damaged if you are exposed to excessive heat or cold. If you live in a place where the winters are harsh and cold, your skin will be challenged not only by the cold temperature, but also by the dry air common during the winter. In addition, people who spend a lot of time around the heat emitted from furnaces, stoves, or ovens, such as bakers or cooks, often suffer from premature ageing of the skin.
Excessive use of harsh soaps, detergent-based cleansers, or cosmetic products that are too strong for your skin is another source of extrinsic Ageing. Such products may cause irritation or inflammation of the top layer of the skin, damageing it and accelerating its deterioration.
Numerous elements of your daily routine exert a powerful influence on the appearance of your skin, including your eating habits, how much alcohol you consume, how much sleep you get, the degree of stress to which you are exposed, and the amount and type of exercise you engage in. Poor lifestyle habits affect the whole body and, as a consequence the skin as well, where they typically show up as a dull, sallow, uneven, and prematurely wrinkled complexion.
Healthy habits, on the other hand, can increase your well-being, prevent the onset of disease, and slow the progression of Ageing in your body as well as your skin. In later chapters, you learn how to introduce some simple daily behaviors that have the potential to do more for your skin than almost anything else you can do.