Hello my people, (a la Eddie Murphy in Coming to America),
How have y'all been? We all know there has been a lot going on for a while now all over this country, some good and others quite frankly have been disgusting, but one valuable lesson I think we learned is that as Nigerians have a voice and when used in unison for good can effect real change so way to go people..Power to the people!!
So, continuing my last post from waaay back in March... yes I know..biko free me!! These entrepreneur streets were not built for the faint of heart and one can get swept up in the day to day, not leaving time or zeal for fun things like our chats, which sucks but it just is what it is.
We already talked about the skin's structure, functions and components, Melanin etc. so we are now delving into: Collagen, which is the hard, insoluble, fibrous protein that makes up a third of the total protein in our bodies which acts as supporting structures to anchor cells to each other and occurs throughout the body particularly in the bones, connective tissues and gives strength and elasticity to the skin. Collagen production, inevitably, naturally reduces with age, ain't nothing you can do abourrit! There are however, other factors which can accelerate its decline to weaken joint cartilage and the skin's structural integrity, thereby increasing the formation of wrinkles e.g. smoking, menopause, high sugar consumption, genetic changes, exposure to UV rays and auto immune diseases
Elastin is another protein naturally produces in the body which is formed of peptides, fibroblasts, and amino acids that coils and recoils like a spring within the elastic fibers of connective tissue and it accounts for the elasticity of structures like the skin, blood vessels, heart, lungs, intestines, tendons, and ligaments. Its main function is to provide flexibility and elasticity to the cells and connective tissue which is what allows the skin to stretch and go back to its normal position, an ability that allows us convey emotions through expressions and move around freely in our own skin; so every time you make a funny face, frown or wake up with pillow lines on your face, thankfully it is not permanent and your face can go back to its usual state or that your smooth youthful complexion you slay with? You may want to thank God for elastin.
Elastin which in comparison to collagen is not as plentiful in the skin, also has production decreases rapidly after birth, practically stopping by the end of puberty and is practically a minimal trickle being produced in the middle ages. When you consider its critical skin function to provide softness and elasticity by forming a three-dimensional network between the skin's collagen fibers, the odds do seem to be stacked against our skin staying at sweet 16 levels forever! There is good news however, so thine shall not fret as elastin is also one of the longest lasting structures in the human body and does not hit its half point until we are around 74 years old... praise the Lord!! Do not however, take that for granted and assume that translates to it being indestructible or immune to degradation, nope! It is, very much so at that, and the rub is, once its damaged it is much harder to heal.
While internal factors associated with genetics and aging can cause early elastin degradation, external factors, such as pollution or sun exposure, are the main culprits behind premature degradation of healthy elastin and decreased production, many years possibly even decades before we even make it into our seventies.
Its a lot, yes I know, if you are anything like me (slightly paranoid) you are going over all your past/present skincare and lifestyle decisions and are possibly staring in the mirror right now to see if you can spot the wrinkles, sagging etc or if you can even somehow do some mind voodoo to check your collagen and elastin levels..lol. Don't worry, its not all doom and gloom, there is hope to have fresh, glowing, smooth, healthy skin in your future if the right steps are taken ASAP and I'm not suggesting botox, fillers, face lifts etc Naa! I'm proposing less invasive, much cheaper, more sustainable, non toxic natural alternatives that with consistency can stave off the premature aging and even shave off a few years from your skin.
Your choice of the right base oil(s) for your blend is not to be taken lightly as not all carrier oils or butters like essential oils or other botanicals are created equal, especially when it comes to your face blend. The rest of the body is more forgiving and can tolerate butters and heavier oils or refined oils, but for the face light, always choose deeply moisturizing, easily absorbent preferably with a comedogenic rating of between 0-1 for oily skin types, 0-2 can be tolerated by other types or even up to 3 in special cases for severely dehydrated, dry skin so as not to clog the pores and create another issue e.g. acne, pimples, blackheads etc.
The best version of most of these oils is those that are cold pressed, virgin, unrefined which means it is in its pure natural state, impurities, scent whether sweet or otherwise, untouched by human hand just like nature intended and full of all the nutrients and benefits attributed to it.
Carrier oils are also a natural source of tocopherols, tocotrienols, lutein, phytosterol beta-sitosterol, Vitamins A, B, C, E & K , Omega-3, Omega-6 essential fatty acids and other nutrients like Ellagic Acid which can be found in Strawberry Seed Oil and Blackberry Seed Oil; a powerful antioxidant that not only helps expel toxins, it also fights its own battles, efficiently might I add against free radicals.
Gamma Lineloic Acid (G.L.A) is another amazing nutrient, is found in high contents in Blackcurrant Seed Oil.
Silica, Vitamin C and Phenylalanine, an amino acid that slows down melanin transfer to keep skin tone even which Cucumber Seed Oil is rich in and Muskmelon Seed Oil which contains Potassium, and is high Vitamin C and Beta Carotene can help effectively eliminate free radicals.
Thee right oil blend can help increase collagen and elastin production which helps slow down the aging process and even reverse some of the signs of aging, choose what is best for your skin type and your particular issue and don't forget, if you are allergic to a plant, avoid any derivatives including essential and carrier oils extracted from it so its best to avoid that and opt for a suitable substitute.
The proper skincare regimen just means what is right and works best for you and includes the right soap or facial wash, a gentle non drying, foam cleanser is a great choice. Its also a great idea is to prep your skin for moisturizing with a gentle toner, as a naturalista somebody with aging, combination to normal, sensitive skin (depends on the day, my skin does the most) I use one or a blend of hydrosols e.g. Cistus, Vetiver or Yarrow as a toner or our Immortelle Blossom Toner before moisturizing or as a facial mist during the day to keep it hydrated especially when i have make up or as a natural primer among other things.
Always remember, skincare in general and particularly when using 100% natural products is a marathon and not a sprint so there will be no overnight miracles or 7/14/21 day miracle cures..no ma'am, it takes time, consistency, dedication and high quality, pure products to get it done right. Plus, what works for Ngozi may not work for Yinka but it may work for Hauwa, so find your groove, keep it simple and stick to what works for you, all that experimenting with the latest fad in products can spell disaster for your skin.
Other lifestyle changes that will help boost collagen and elastin all over the body include: Facial massages can help boost collagen and strengthen muscle memory and can be easily done by creating an upwards movement when applying products to your skin. Add lots of foods rich in Vitamin C and Sulphur which supports collagen formation like beans, cabbage, garlic, brocolli, spinach, kiwis etc. Strawberries, Blackberries, Raspberries, Pomegranates, Pecans, Walnuts and Cranberries are great sources of Ellagic Acid.
Also, put the cigarette down, say goodbye to sugar, drink more water and adopt a more plant based diet, avoid the sun as much as possible and never leave home without sunblocking (I'm creating my own words now..legendary!) the heck out of every part of your skin that is exposed and don't forget to re apply every 2-3 hours, its sunblock not juju!!
We'll continue next post, plus that great news I promised last post was postponed, but keep your eyes peeled for the next newsletter, it will be waving to you from the second you open it lol. So, if you haven't subscribed to our newsletter yet, the time to do so may be right about now so you don't miss out on the good stuff.
Anyways, I've got to go, things to do, naps to take, TV to watch...you know, the Sunday life!
We only have one body, when we treat it well it returns the favor. Be good to yourself and others.