A. Yes, Michelle, this is very true! Not only do the foods we eat provide our bodies with essential vitamins and nutrients for optimal health, but certain summertime favorites can actually help increase the collagen in our skin helping us look younger. As we age, we lose collagen which leads to sagging and wrinkled skin. Think of the collagen in your skin like the toy you played with growing up, the Slinky®. When we are young our collagen is tight and compact like a Slinky before it takes off, but as we age the collagen begins to break down like a stretched-out Slinky. Besides age, our collagen also deteriorates due to sun damage, smoke, pollution and free radicals (or toxins) in the environment.
The good news is we can replace some of the lost collagen and tighten it back up to help turn back the clock. In addition to stimulating new collagen through the use of prescription-strength Retin-A, medical chemical peels and dermal fillers, you can also try some of these delicious summertime fruits and vegetables to give your skin a boost.
- Watermelon: Watermelon contains some of the highest amounts of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene helps fight off the free radicals in the environment that are trying to break down the collagen in your skin. Gobble up the watermelon before the free radicals gobble up your collagen.
- Tomatoes: Like, watermelon, tomatoes are also full of lycopene. To get the most benefit, the tomatoes should be cooked.
- Spinach: Who doesn’t love a big salad in the summer? Spinach is loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for healthy skin. Also, much like topical vitamin C, it acts as an antioxidant to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays and environmental damage.
- Carrots: Carrots are a summer garden staple, which is great news for your skin as they are full of vitamin A. Vitamin A is another great antioxidant that repairs your skin and protects it as well. Just like tomatoes, if you cook your carrots you will reap even more benefits from the orange vegetable.
- Blueberries: Fruits are all full of antioxidants, but just one cup of blueberries has more than 10 times the USDA’s daily recommended amount of antioxidants.
As you can see, Michelle, there is some truth to the old adage “you are what you eat.” Enjoy all the fresh colorful fruits and vegetables and watch your skin glow this summer. If you have any questions about your skin care routine, be sure to talk with a medical professional.
Jennifer Kauffman is a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner, practicing in Warsaw and Ft. Wayne. She is a sought after speaker at medical conferences such as the American Academy of Plastic Surgeons. Jennifer is a member of American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and Coalition of Advance Practice Nurses of Indiana. She received her Nursing and Nurse Practitioner degrees from Goshen College, and Indiana Wesleyan University. Jennifer is a Clinical Instructor nationally to physicians and nurses on sclerotherapy.
Do you have a question for Jennifer, about this article or another cosmetic skin care issue? Please call Vein Institute & Medical Spa at 574-267-1900 to have your questions answered and considered for future columns. Questions can also be submitted online at www.veinmedicalspa.com