The outermost layer of your skin is self-renewing.
Without the function of self-renewal, the skin’s ability to tirelessly protect us from the outside world would be compromised.
Let’s just say it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
Your skin would be like a much loved but now worn-out quilt with threadbare spots, tiny holes and all manner of threads unravelling. What was once a source of comfort and warmth no longer does the job.
Unlike the quilt we loved so much in our childhood, your skin continues to self-renew.
Of course, all this self-renewal goes on without a peep—no need for a self-help guru here.
Nope, your skin knows itself only too well and what’s required to stay the course—tirelessly providing a protective barrier between you and your world and regulating variations in your body’s temperature, detecting heat, cold, touch and pain.
Despite the actions of this quiet achiever, time, lifestyle, and environmental stress slow down the skin’s ability to self-renew.
Once you reach your forties, what was once a speedy twenty-eight days of skin cell renewal can take as long as forty-five days, resulting in dull, sallow and slightly wrinkled skin.
When skin cells slow down and outwardly look less than glorious, for most of us, it can feel like an urgent hurry up to the finish line to buff and polish the skin back to life. When all the skin really needs is a gentle nudge and a little coaxing.
Sometimes it’s better to be the tortoise because, when it comes to your skin, slow and steady, as they say, always win the race.
So nudging the skin’s ability to self-renew is an excellent idea, and the rewards will be many—you can find more on the topic in my article on skin cellular renewal.
Let’s go beyond self-renewal.
So, the self-renewal I’m talking about takes place in the epidermis, the uppermost layer of the skin.
But there’s a whole world of activity going on just below in the dermal layer.
- Fibroblast cells build your skin’s scaffolding with proteins, collagen and elastin.
- Mucopolysaccharide, known as hyaluronic acid, cushions your skin and gives it a lovely bounce of volume.
- Melanocytes produce the protective pigment melanin when the skin detects sun exposure.
- Langerhans, the cells of immunity, are ever vigilant, watching out for marauding invaders.
Yep, it’s busy down there in the dermal layer.
All these activities are powered by the hundreds of thousands of mitochondria within your cells.
Energising your skin from within.
Your mitochondria are charged up by the molecule Adenosine Triphosphate or ATP, converting nutrients from the air you breathe and the food you eat into energy.
Of course, it’s a lot more complex than a simple conversion of food into energy, but it must be said it’s a marvel to behold, and without the wonders of the mitochondria, well, we would cease to be.
One way to gently wake up and energise all layers of your skin is with Red LED Light therapy.
If you’ve ever visited a skin or beauty clinic for a skin rejuvenating treatment, the therapist probably popped you under the soothing glow of Red or Blue LED Light.
They may have mentioned, as you settled in for the glow, that LED Light activates collagen. Oh good, you thought as you braced yourself for the intensity of the light.
Let’s look a the science: What’s really going on?
Well, Red Light and Near Infrared LED Light therapy activates skin cells, but more importantly, LED Light activates your mitochondria, and that’s an excellent thing.
Mitochondria are organelles found within every cell in your body, including the cells of your skin. They are an energetic powerhouse responsible for giving your cells the energy to do all the things they need to do.
Mitochondrial enzymes then enter the race to speed up the process of producing ATP, giving your cells energy to power up, including those in the skin, such as your fibroblast cells responsible for collagen and elastin production.
Just as they do in every other cell in your body, the mitochondria are busy converting oxygen, food and water into life-giving energy molecules within your skin cells and activating all the activities needed for healthy, resilient and youthful-looking skin.
And as you emerge from the LED Light, other than the all-encompassing power of the light-emitting diodes, you don’t feel a thing. In fact, it’s quite comforting.
Pretty cool, right?
LED Light can enhance cellular activities and energy performance and activate mitochondria to produce more ATP to reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, and improve the energy performance of the mitochondria inside the cell.
LED Light is the catalyst for improved cell survival, increased proliferation and migration, and new protein (collagen and elastin) synthesis.
Skin ageing results from a loss of cellular function, which external factors can further accelerate.
Mitochondria have essential roles in skin function, and mitochondrial damage has been found to accumulate with ageing skin cells, solar light and pollution.
Increasingly, evidence suggests mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are key features in all ageing tissues, including the skin.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is linked to the formation of wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and decreased wound healing. The loss of barrier function during skin ageing increases susceptibility to infection and affects wound healing (Source).
It’s exciting to think that LED Light therapy can have such a positive effect on the skin.
We all deserve a helping hand.
Naturally, if there’s a way to help our mitochondria cells, then why not?
What about the foods we eat? Does it matter? Yes, indeed, it does and improving your dietary nutrition is an important place to start.
Even though your mitochondria convert the food you eat into glucose, it’s not as simple as energy in, energy out. A bag of jellybeans will not do.
Your mitochondria need a supply of antioxidants and essential nutrients to remain viable and avoid dysfunction.
A diet rich in all the colours of the vegetable rainbow will mean you’re getting a constant supply of antioxidants to protect the mitochondria from oxidative stress.
Among all the antioxidants you’ll get from your colourful diet, Alpha-lipoic acid and Co-enzyme Q10 will be the most important to your mitochondria to support and protect the number of mitochondria in your cells.
It’s a team effort, and the more mitochondria we have to ensure energy transfer, the better.
Nutrients to protect your Mitochondria.
Alpha-lipoic acid assists in improving mitochondrial function. Alpha-lipoic acid is naturally found in spinach, broccoli, potatoes, yeast, tomatoes, carrots, beets, rice bran, and red meat, especially organ meat.
Co-Enzyme Q10 is made by the body and utilised by your mitochondria. However, as the body does not store it, getting a daily supply is essential if you want a robust mitochondria network.
The best natural sources are organ meats, meat, fatty fish, green vegetables, strawberries, legumes, nuts, and seeds, or if you think your diet might be lacking, support your body with a high-quality Co-Enzyme Q10 supplement.
Vitamins in good supply will be essential to your mitochondria, particularly vitamins E, C, and B vitamins. A healthy, unprocessed, and balanced diet loaded with vegetables, low-sugar fruits and healthy proteins will provide your mitochondria with the support they need.
Healthy fats and a good supply of Omega 3 are essential to the health of your mitochondria; you can source omega three from fatty fish, flaxseed, hemp oil or algal oil from marine algae.
Watch your stress levels.
It can be challenging to avoid stress in our modern lives, but try and find a way, not just because you’ll feel better but because too much stress depletes the hormone melatonin, which induces sleep and is a potent antioxidant inside mitochondria.
If insomnia is a problem or finding ways to unwind seems something other people manage but not you, then this article on Getting the sleep you need and ways to destress in the modern world we inhabit could be helpful to you.
And now you?
Are you ready to energise your skin? If you found this article helpful, why not share it. Or, if you’ve got questions, you can reach me here.
See you next time,