Why Your Skin Is Starving
Like most women, you’ve probably been fed the big FAT lie.
Since the 1970s, mainstream medicine and the government have been preaching about the evils of fats. They couldn’t be more wrong.
As an anti-aging doctor, one of the first things I do for my patients is make sure they’re eating a primal diet.
And that means eating healthy foods that are high in fat – like grass-fed beef, salmon, butter, coconut, avocados, nuts and seeds.
When my patients start to add good fats to their diet, something unexpected happens to them. They suddenly have tons more energy. At the same time, they stop having cravings and start to lose weight.
But the biggest surprise for most of them is how much younger their skin looks.
Their skin feels less dry. It looks firmer and smoother. And it has fewer lines and wrinkles.
I’ve seen the same effects in traditional cultures in Peru, Brazil and Africa. Saturated fats and tropical oils are a major part of their diet. Middle-aged women look like they’re in their 20s.
And studies confirm what I’ve observed.
- In Japan, researchers examined the faces of 716 women. Those who ate more fat had much better skin elasticity. Women who ate more saturated fats also had fewer wrinkles.1
- A French study examined almost 3,000 people. Those eating more fat had a much lower risk of skin damage from the sun.2
- And U.S. researchers examined skin aging in 4,025 women. Those who ate more of just one healthy fat had a lower risk of developing dry, wrinkled, or sagging skin.3
That’s why I encourage my patients to eat more healthy fats for their skin. Great choices are avocados, coconut and almonds.
But you can also apply these healthy fats directly to your skin for even better results.
Today, I’ll explain why these fats have such a powerful anti-aging impact. And I’ll show you how you can use these fats at home as part of your beauty routine.
You see, the oils in fatty foods work three ways to protect your skin and keep it looking young and supple.
- The outer layer of your skin is partly made of fats called sebum. This outside layer acts as a protective barrier called the “acid mantle.” The mantle’s slightly acidic pH protects your skin from environmental dangers, like toxins, viruses, bacteria and other threats.
- This fatty sebum maintains the structure of your skin’s keratin. That’s the protein that helps your skin hold moisture. Fats on the outer skin layer keep the acid mantle water-tight, so moisture won’t escape. That means your skin stays hydrated, firm and smooth.
- Fats make up the membrane around each skin cell. And each one of your skin cells is surrounded by two layers of fat. It’s called the phospholipid bilayer. When this fatty wall is strong, it gives the cell a solid structure and integrity to seal fluids inside. The double layer of fat helps prevent skin cells from drying out and making you look wrinkled. This is the key to plump, young-looking skin.
The problem is that as you age, your body produces less of its own natural oils. On top of that, most commercial soaps and cleansers strip away much of your fatty sebum.
They also reverse your skin’s natural pH so the acid mantle is no longer mildly acidic. As your acid mantle breaks down, toxins attack your skin. Without enough fat, keratin weakens and loses moisture. And skin cells start to collapse leaving you with dull, old-looking skin.
But applying healthy fats directly to your skin strengthens the acid mantle and the skin cell barrier. It protects skin from the elements and accelerates its natural healing and repair.
Here are three oils you can start using today to rejuvenate your skin…
Coconut oil contains a unique kind of fat called medium chain fatty acids (or medium-chain triglycerides — MCTs). These MCTs increase your acid mantle and keep your keratin proteins intact for better moisture. One study showed that MCTs significantly increased skin hydration compared to drugs and other mixtures.4
Coconut oil also penetrates your outer skin layer and is easily absorbed by your skin cells. It’s been proven in clinical studies to mimic the skin’s natural repair mechanisms.5
MCT fatty acids also gently dissolve dead skin cells. That’s why coconut oil gives you a fresher, more even complexion. At the same time, coconut oil protects against overexposure to the sun.
In the last few years, coconut oil has become a staple in health food stores. But some oils on the market are refined, bleached and deodorized with chemicals. Look for unrefined virgin coconut oil instead. Smooth it on your face as a moisturizer after cleansing. Or apply it after sun exposure.
Another, powerful anti-aging oil comes from the sweet almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis).
Sweet almond oil is naturally rich in the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. This protects your skin from oxidative damage that can break down the collagen layer of your skin.
Sweet almond oil also rich in the amino acids needed to repair damage and it rebuilds the collagen layer. That can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It absorbs quickly into your skin and doesn’t feel oily. I recommend using it to soften and moisturize skin after a bath.
But make sure you use sweet almond oil, which has been proven safe for topical application. But if you have severe allergies to almonds you should also avoid the oil.
I also recommend Avocado oil (Persea Gratissima oil). This contains highly bioavailable forms of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect skin against the aging effects of the sun.6
Studies show avocado oil also increases the strength and density of collagen to repair skin damage.7 That can help increase elasticity.
Avocado oil even helps protect your telomeres. You know by now that telomeres are your aging countdown clock. Each time your cells divide, telomeres get shorter. As they tick down they tell your cells to act older. And you start developing the signs and symptoms of old age.
One thing that speeds up the shortening of your telomeres is homocysteine. Studies show that high homocysteine levels in your blood can triple the speed at which your telomeres shorten.8 That means more signs of aging like lines, wrinkles and sags in your face.
Avocado oil helps neutralize homocysteine, which cuts off your supply of telomerase. That’s the enzyme your body needs to rebuild telomeres. In other words, homocysteine ages you fast. It shortens your telomeres and then it blocks the enzyme you need to repair the damage.
But avocado oil helps because it contains high levels of folate (vitamin B9). And studies show people with the highest folate levels have longer telomeres.9
Avocado oil is very thick so I recommend using it at night. Or you could mix it with another lighter oil to use during the day.
I’ve just combined these three oils — coconut, sweet almond and avocado — in a new one-of-a-kind facial mask. So stay tuned and I’ll tell you more about it very soon!
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Nagata C et al. “Association of dietary fat, vegetables and antioxidant micronutrients with skin ageing in Japanese women.” Br J Nutr. 2010;103(10):1493-8.
2. Latreille J et al. “Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids intake and risk of skin photoaging.” PLoS One. 2012;7(9):e44490.
3. Maeve C Cosgrove et al. “Dietary nutrient intakes and skin-aging appearance among middle-aged American women.” Am J Clin Nutr October 2007 vol. 86 no. 4 1225-123.
4. Wiedersberg, S., Leopold, C.S., Guy, R.H., “Effects of various vehicles on skin hydration in vivo,” Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. Jan. 2009;22 (3):128-30
5. Nevin, K.G., Rajamohan, T., “Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats,” Skin Pharmacol. Physiol. June 2010;23(6):290-7.
6. Puizina N. “Skin aging.” Acta Dermatoven APA. 2008;17:47–55.
7. de Oliveira AP et al. “Effect of semisolid formulation of persea americana mill (avocado) oil on wound healing in rats.” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013:472382.
8. Richards J, et. al. “Homocysteine levels and leukocyte telomere length.” Atherosclerosis. 2008;200(2):271-7.
9. Paul L et al, “Telomere length in peripheral blood mononuclear cells is associated with folate status in men.” J Nutr. 2009;139(7):1273-8.