Americans young and old are often concerned with slowing the aging process-and perhaps nowhere on the body is that concern more focused than on the skin.Skin is the body’s largest organ, its “first-line defense” against disease and one of the most obvious aspects of a person’s appearance. Yet every day, the skin is assaulted by pollutants in the air and damaging rays emitted by the sun as well as artificial light. Over time, this onslaught compromises the cell functioning of the skin and robs it of the natural hydration so important to health and beauty.
Scientific evidence and medical opinion point to the need for a new type of beauty regimen-one that not only takes care of the skin from the outside in through topical preparations, but also from the inside out, through the diet.
A growing body of research suggests that the nutrient lutein, long recognized for its role in promoting eye health, also provides considerable skin health benefits. Lutein, found in dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale and collard greens) as well as egg yolks, is also available as a dietary supplement.
Taken on a daily basis, lutein supplements may help to support the skin’s natural antioxidant defenses against the long-term damaging effects of sun and artificial light exposure. Lutein may also improve skin hydration and help reduce the appearance of premature aging, as suggested in new clinical research.
“Exposure to light is perhaps the most serious threat to healthy skin,” says Holly Showalter, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Research and Development, Kemin Health, which makes the natural FloraGLO® Lutein ingredient used in hundreds of different supplement brands around the world. “The damaging effects of ultraviolet rays from the sunlight are well known,” she points out.
Less well known, according to Dr. Showalter, is the fact that sunscreen offers no protection against the potentially damaging effects of high-energy, visible blue light. Blue light is emitted by the sun, as well as indoor lighting sources such as fluorescent and halogen light.
“Lutein absorbs blue light, in effect filtering it before it can damage the skin,” notes Dr. Showalter. “In addition, scientific studies indicate that lutein may help bolster the skin’s natural antioxidant defense system, enabling it to combat the damaging effects of many types of environmental exposure.”