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Beauty from the inside: does it really work?

corresponding

ALESSANDRA MARINI

Institut für Umweltmedizinische Forschung (IUF), Leibniz Research Ctr for Envtl Medicine at the Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Auf’m Hennekamp 50, Düsseldorf, D-40225, Germany

Abstract

Skin function and healthy appearance depend on a sufficient supply of essential nutrients. The skin is increasingly exposed to environmental pollutants and UV rays thus increasing its risk for photo- oxidative damage. To protect the skin against these risks, topical sunscreens are administrated together with nutriceuticals and nutricosmetics. It has been shown that diet-based anti-aging strategies are most effective when directed against extrinsic skin aging. Intervention studies show promise in protecting against pollutant and solar-induced effects and indicate that it is possible to manipulate and delay skin aging and to improve skin conditions through supplementation with selected nutritional supplements. The relationship between nutrition and skin is of interest to researchers and clinicians worldwide. New insights into the biological effects of orally consumed active molecules on skin function have stimulated a continuously growing interest in the development of nutritional supplements and functional food products to benefit human skin. This article provides a brief overview of some of the healthy and protective substances used as functional food.


INTRODUCTION

The human organism depends on an adequate energy supply provided by major dietary components including proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. In addition, minor constituents such as vitamins, minerals and specific fatty acids are required in a healthy diet as well (1). The relationship between nutrition and skin has become a “hot” topic” that is of interest for researchers and clinicians worldwide (current overview in 2). Aging is associated with progressive skin changes that are strongly influenced by environmental factors, as life-time UV exposure. The rising costs of photodamage have led to increased efforts to develop better methods of prevention. It has already been shown that nutrition-based anti-skin-aging strategies are most effective if they are directed against extrinsic skin aging (1, 3). As the exterior barrier of the body skin is in direct contact with the environment. Among all environmental factors, UV radiation is most important for extrinsic skin aging (4). Other factors include infrared radiation (IR), exposure to tobacco smoke and exposure to traffic-related airborne particulate matter (5). The changes in personal lifes ...




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