Are topical treatments alone enough when it comes to safeguarding skin against the signs of ageing? According to research scientist and Lumity creator Sara Palmer Hussey PhD, no. “The older we get, the more important it becomes to give the body extra targeted support in counteracting the damage of daily living and, to prevent that damage from accumulating and developing into signs of ageing such as wrinkles and low energy, but also degenerative diseases too.”
What form should that extra support come in? We asked Dr Hussey for an insight into her research to find out more about her tried and tested method for tackling anti-ageing with a multi-faceted approach, and to successfully feed skin from the inside out.
GTG: What are the main causes of ageing and what can be done to reverse them?
SPH: The 9 causes of ageing are oxidative stress, cellular debris, telomere shortening, cellular energy decline, inflammation, insulin resistance, glycation, hormonal decline and DNA damage. Most of the anti-ageing market has focused almost exclusively until now on oxidative stress, exalting only the importance of antioxidants in neutralising this cause of ageing and consequently leaving all the other causes of ageing unaddressed and free to continue advancing the ageing process in the body.
The 9 causes of ageing are different processes that simultaneously contribute to creating the signs of ageing we all desire to hold at bay, namely wrinkles, grey hair, low energy levels, poor immune resilience, poor sleep, low stamina, etc…
All 9 causes of ageing contribute to ageing in different ways, but they all represent the same tendency that shifts the body from a period of youthful efficiency, (in which the body is able to successfully defend against and repair the daily wear and tear that is a normal by-product of being alive), to a point of sub-optimum functionality. This is where daily damage starts to accumulate at a rate which outstrips the body’s ability to defend and repair and which results in the signs we have come to recognise as ageing.
By studying the ways in which the body defends and repairs itself during the period of youthful efficiency, we can formulate targeted nutritional support that can boost these processes and slowly nudge the body back towards a better balance between damage/ageing and repair/protection/regeneration.
GTG: How can what we put on the inside, best boost the outside?
SPH: The skin is the body’s largest organ and its condition is determined greatly by the body’s general state of health. Poor internal health shows up quickly on the skin. External aggressors, such as sun exposure, environmental pollutants and harsh skincare products can damage and weaken the skin from the outside in, but, as the skin grows from the inside out, the most powerful boost we can provide for our skin is from the inside out through diet and supplementation, as well as rest/sleep and exercise.
The three main threats to the skin are glycation, oxidative damage and inflammation, which break down and damage the skin’s structure, functionality and condition. We can provide effective ingredients that help neutralise these threats, allowing the skin to remain youthful, healthy, elastic and radiant.
This is a unique perspective formed by a great awe and respect for the body’s incredible ability to heal itself when it is given the right support – the body is far more complex and infinitely more intelligent than any scientist, so rather than seeking to correct perceived flaws (e.g. wrinkles) without taking into account every aspect involved, we should study the mechanisms the body already has in place to counteract damage and choose the most effective team of nutrients to support the body’s tendency towards health.
It is also essential to work with the body’s circadian rhythm and so, two separate supplements with different approaches are necessary that empower the very different modes of functioning between day and night. This will both boost the efficiency of the energetically active mode of the day cycle and harness to the full, the deep repair mode of the body’s sleep cycle.
GTG: To what extent can superficial skincare products alone reverse the signs of ageing?
SPH: Topical treatments alone cannot reverse the signs of ageing significantly if inner health is not optimised. Topically, treatments can improve to some extent the skin’s ability to retain moisture and, therefore, to appear plump, supple and hydrated – this minimises the appearance of wrinkles, but does not eradicate them.
As mentioned above, the condition of the skin is determined firstly by inner health and its ability to counteract the 9 causes of ageing – glycation, inflammation and oxidative damage being the main threats. In order to minimise these threats, protection and repair is needed.
We are all aware of the damage that excess sun exposure can cause, but I think we underestimate the harm that some toxic ingredients in skincare products can wreak not only to the skin but, if able to penetrate, to internal tissues too. Furthermore, some skincare products and treatments, while not inherently toxic, are certainly far too aggressive and harsh on the skin and ultimately greatly weaken the skin’s defences and can accelerate ageing.
Nutrients provided internally through diet and supplementation, and externally through gentle, nourishing, natural skincare can provide the right building blocks to protect, heal and renew the skin, thus helping it to retain its health and youth for as long as possible.
GTG: Is there actually proof that we can reverse the above factors and improve the look of skin? How long does it take to see a difference?
SPH: Certain nutrients have been proven clinically to improve the condition of the skin in terms of hydration levels, transepidermal water loss, skin density/collagen structure and elasticity. Lumity has been shown to improve all these skin health markers by up to 22% and is the only supplement on the market that addresses all 9 causes of ageing.
Lumity consumers have experienced improvements in the tone and quality of their skin in the first few weeks of taking Lumity. However, the most noticeable improvements usually occur after 4-6 weeks as the skin completes its renewal turnover.