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Toxin Busting – an Anti-Ageing Strategy.

February 17, 2009

When it comes to your skin ageing gracefully, three factors come  to mind.

1) Genetics

2) Sun Damage

3) Avoiding the build up of toxins.

We can’t do much about genetics at this stage and sun damage is worthy of a separate entry so here we will concentrate on the toxic free A, B, C!

So what are toxins when related to the skin?

Skin toxins are things called “Free Radicals”, these are sometimes created when chemicals break down.  Toxins can form during  combustion (burning)- think about exhaust fumes from vehicles, charred meat on a barbeque etc. Secondly toxins can form with the help of  radiation e.g: UV from sunlight or appliances in the home and office. Free radicals can also be produced in some chemical reactions  when chemicals are mixed together –  we could talk about nitrosamines here but that too is worth a separate account.

We come into contact with these little reactive chemicals every day and most of the time we can brush them off and get on with our lives – our skin is a strong defense against the outside world. However, repeated exposure to toxins can make our skin look and feel tired, getting  older slows down our bodies ability to react to toxins and unhealthy lifestyles add to the burden. Therefore having some pro-active measures in place is a good strategy.

How can I protect my skin from these toxins?

Getting enough sleep, drinking a lot of water and eating good food will ensure that you are healthy and fit on the inside. Your body has natural coping mechanisms to fight off most things but activities such as smoking, drinking  and sun bathing all take their toll. If you are tired, run down, toxin exposed or just in need to a boost we recommend that you look out for the following ingredients.

The Toxic Free A, B, C

A – This is for Vitamin A (usually found on an ingredients listing as Retinol or retinyl palmitate.

Also for Acai – See our article on this wonder fruit by following the link!

Retinol has been found to help protect the skin from free radical damage (toxins).  When applied to the skin it breaks down to form  retinoic Acid. It is the Retanoic Acid which can then pass into the epidermis (top layer of skin) and protect the skin  from the inside by encouraging cell regeneration (re-growth).  Retinol, when applied to the skin also increases skin thickness making it more resilient to toxin attack.  For serious skin conditions retinoic acid can be prescribed by a dermatologist, in this form it can be quite irritating and leave the skin quite reddened. Retinoic acid is around 1000 times more potent than retinol which is why it must be prescribed. It can also be toxic in large quantities and can affect the liver. On the other hand Retinyl Palmitate is often used in every day cosmetics as a source of retinol. While retinyl palmitate still has some biological activity it is only1/ 1000th as effective as Retinoic acid and only 1/100th as effective as Retinol.  On the plus side it is more stable, easier to manufacture with and cheaper to buy.

Retinol is quite a sensitive ingredient. It is difficult to make a stable and effective cream or lotion containing retinol so these products are likely to be quite costly.  Things to look out for are:

1) Packaging – retinol does not like the light so an effective  retinol cream needs to be in a light resistant pack – not in clear plastic or glass.

2) Avoid the Air – retinol also breaks down in the air so packaging must be air tight to ensure your retinol makes it to your face!

3) Temperature – Retinol will also break down with heat so keep your product out of sunlight and don’t buy product that has been stored on a shop windowsill!

4) pH – Retinol is very sensitive to pH (balance between acid and alkali). It needs to be kept at around pH 5 -6.

REMEMBER: Retinyl Palmitate has less restrictions and is cheaper than retinol BUT it is also less biologically active!

B) Bisabolol and Blueberries!

Bisabolol is a great ingredient that is found in nature but is most often synthetically produced (for price and demand reasons). It is one of the active ingredients in Chamomile (matricaria recutita) and has excellent anti-irritant and anti bacterial properties.  One of the unfortunate consequenses in ageing is often dry and more sensitive skin. Looking out for products containing Bisabolol (or Chamomile) will help to soothe and calm the skin, making the skin look and feel fresher.

Blueberries are a great anti-ageing super food. They are a great source of anti-oxidants and include Vitamin C and E in abundance. Eat some today and feel the toxins dissolve away!

C- Vitamin C –  Found in cosmetics as Ascorbic Acid or Sodium Ascorbate and Ascorbyl Palmitate.

Vitamin C has also been shown in many scientific studies to assist in skin repair. It is essential for the production of collagen, a protein that holds the skin together.  Vitamin C also works as an anti-oxidant to mop up toxins from free radicals. However, Vitamin C is also hard to work with and it is easily broken down when exposed to the air or water. You also need a lot of Vitamin C to get any benefit at all.

So, what should you look for when buying products containing Vitamin C?

There are product ranges that have vitamin C in an anhydrous formulation base (without water).  These products are also sold in aluminium tubes to prevent the breakdown of vitamin C by the air.  An example of a brand in this category would be Ultraceuticals. Dr Heuber, a dermatologist and creator of Ultraceuticals,  published his research into the affect of anhydrous Vitamin C on collagen synthesis in 2006. Otherwise many skin care manufacturers buy in their vitamin C in a pre-stabilized form. The Vitamin C may be encapsulated to prevent it breaking down or it may be stabilized by the presence of other anti-oxidants.

Vitamin C may also be present as Sodium Ascorbate. In this form the vitamin C is probably there as part of a preservative blend or for balancing a products pH.

Ascorbyl Palmitate is the fat soluble form of Vitamin C and is often used in skincare. It is a more stable form of vitamin C and is therefore easier to work with and get into a formulation (or recipe).  Being fat soluble it can travel into the skin through the lipid membrane (fatty skin material). The ascorbyl palmitate is broken down along the way releasing the vitamin C benefits where it is most needed.  This ingredient has been proved to be effective against inflamation and is therefore a great ingredient to use on ageing skin.

Here at Realize Beauty we believe that while ageing is a natural process that should be celebrated you may want to minimize the effects of ageing on your skin.  Look out for these anti-oxidant gems, get plenty of rest and avoid stress. Celebrate life!

5 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2009 1:15 pm

    You should also try out Light Therapy! There is a new technology called Facial Secret that is a unit you can buy for home use. It helps with aging, acne, sun damage, scars, and other skin imperfections. It is noninvasive and only takes 5-10 minutes a day!

    You can get more information at

    • RealizeBeautyEd permalink
      February 18, 2009 1:23 pm

      Hi Amanda!
      This does look interesting and I have heard of light therapy before but haven’t looked into it personally. I will pass the link on to our panel for some feedback.
      I see that you can buy this online which is great for our readers who are all over the world.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.


  1. Topics about Health, Food and Well being » Archive » Toxin Busting - an Anti-Ageing Strategy.
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