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Skin disorders, including pre-mature aging

Introduction

Dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin that produces scaling, flaking, thickening, colour changes, and, often, itching. Many cases of dermatitis are as a result of allergies. This type of condition is called allergic or contact dermatitis. It may be caused by contact with perfumes, cosmetics, rubber, medicated creams and ointments, plants such as poison ivy, and/or metals or metal alloys such as gold, silver, and nickel found in jewellery or zippers. Some people with dermatitis are sensitive to sunlight. Whatever the irritant, if the skin remains in constant contact with it, the dermatitis is likely to spread and become more severe. Stress, especially chronic tension, can cause or exacerbate dermatitis.

Atopic dermatitis is a hereditary form of the condition that usually becomes apparent in infancy. It typically appears on the face, in the bends of the elbows, and behind the knees. Often, other family members have a history of allergies or asthma. Nummular ('coin-shaped') dermatitis is a chronic condition in which round lesions appear on the limbs. It may be caused by being allergic to nickel and is often associated with dry skin. Dermatitis herpetiformis is a very itchy type of dermatitis associated with intestinal and immune disorders. This form of dermatitis may be triggered by the consumption of dairy products and/ or gluten.

Eczema is a term sometimes used interchangeably with dermatitis, although some authorities define it as a specific type of dermatitis distinguished by the presence of fluid-filled blisters that weep, ooze, and crust over. Seborrhea is a form of dermatitis that most commonly affects the scalp and/ or face.

Ageing and the skin

Historically it was believed that a pale, even skin implied a fragile and refined quality that is associated with femininity, beauty, innocence, and the implication of a higher social status and wealth. For many this is made possible by the latest technological advances in science that affect the cosmetics industry. Innovations, such as nanotechnology, amongst others, could be beneficial to skin protection and anti-ageing.

  • Environmental pollution, poor nutrition, and excess stress can result in the dehydration and premature ageing of the skin.
  • UV radiation is for example responsible for up to 80% of the visible signs of premature ageing, with exposure causing skin damage like pigmentation, inflammation, wrinkles and the loss of elasticity and moisture.

Normal, smooth, and hydrated skin contains adequate elastin fibres (non-cross linked soluble collagen) that enable the skin to be flexible and elastic. These elastin fibres are found in the connective tissue of the skin.

  • When the skin becomes dehydrated, an excess of cross-linked insoluble collagen forms, which causes the skin to take on a wrinkled appearance. The surface skin also becomes thinner and is prone to damage.
  • In order to rebalance the skin and replenish it with adequate non-cross linked soluble collagen, the skin cells require an adequate supply of about twenty amino acids. These can be supplied to the cells either from within the bodily system, or externally from an appropriate preparation that contains these nutrients for the skin.

As old age approaches, the rate of epidermal cell replacement slows, the skin thins, and its susceptibility to bruises and other types of injury increases.

  • All of the lubricating substances produced by the skin glands that make young skin so soft start to become deficient. As a result, the skin becomes dry and itchy. However, those with naturally oily skin seem to postpone this dryness until later in life.
  • Elastic fibers begin to clump and degenerate, and collagen fibers become fewer and stiffer as they link together. These alterations of dermal fibers are hastened by prolonged exposure to the sun and wind.
  • The hypo-dermal fat layer diminishes, leading to the intolerance to cold so common in elderly people.
  • The decreasing elasticity of the skin, along with the loss of subcutaneous tissue, inevitably leads to wrinkling.

Free radicals

Free radicals are increasingly recognised as being responsible for tissue and organ damage, which could lead to the functional disturbances associated with chronic degenerative disease like arthritis, heart disease and cancer, and for accelerated ageing. The total free radical load (oxidative stress) therefore contributes significantly to the development of many chronic diseases. This assumes particular importance in the aged.

  • One of the signs of increased free radical activity in the aged is the accumulation of ageing pigments often seen on the face and hands of the elderly. The significance of these visible deposits of pigments (lipofuscin) is that similar deposits also occur elsewhere, for example the brain and nerves, where they may cause much more serious damage and contribute towards the ageing process.
  • Once they have formed as a result of free radical activity in the tissue, these pigments are very difficult to remove, presumably due to irreversible tissue damage. But they appear to be readily preventable by ensuring adequate antioxidant activity in the tissues.

How does the body cope?

Antioxidants are considered to be one of the cornerstones in halting the aging process and preventing a variety of age-related diseases.

  • Antioxidants scavenge different free radicals in either a watery or a fat environment. There are also antioxidants that work directly and those that work indirectly.
  • Direct antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, neutralize free radicals.
  • In this process, a direct antioxidant binds to a free radical, rendering it harmless and protecting cells from damage.
  • Once the direct antioxidant reacts with a free radical, the antioxidant is destroyed and cannot be effective again (some can however be regenerated).

Indirect antioxidants like selenium work like catalysts.

  • They do not neutralize free radicals directly, but rather boost the body's own antioxidant defense systems. This group of antioxidants neutralizes free radicals over a period of time. They continue to be effective even after the indirect antioxidants have left the body.

Fortunately the body also has antioxidant enzymes assisting in scavenging free radicals.

Cellfood® as a free radical scavenger

In a clinical trial on athletes at a well known South African University (2001), 35 drops of Cellfood® increased the oxygen uptake by 5%, and the ferritin levels by 31%, amongst others.

Cellfood® SKINCARE

The absorption of nutrients by the skin is determined by the permeability of the skin, the formulation of the nutrients, and the transdermal carrier or transporter. Particle size, pH balance, and bio-electrical charge determine the absorption rate of the product by the cells. Cellfood® SKINCARE complies with all three criteria. The actives, and their respective functions, are:

  • Aloe Vera juice - commonly known as a skin healer, moisturizer, and softener. Effective on burns of all types, good for cuts, insect stings, bruises, acne and blemishes, welts, poison ivy, skin ulcers, and eczema
  • Cellfood® - over-and-above its normal functions, it also acts as a transdermal carrier/transporter, facilitating the delivery of the spectrum of skin care nutrients to the cells of the skin
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Chamomile - has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Polysaccharide gum - assists with the process of making a solution into a gel
  • Fossilized organics - additional source of minerals

In conclusion

Good nutrition, a balanced active lifestyle and nutritional antioxidant supplements like Cellfood® could assist in delaying pre-mature aging of the skin from the inside. Limiting the impact of environmental factors by means of facial creams, moisturizers, and Cellfood® SKINCARE could achieve the same from the outside.

References

Balch J.F. and Balch P.A. 1997. Prescription for nutritional healing. Avery.


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