Chatting in Chattanooga

  • JD Harper

Beautiful Complexions: More Than Skin Deep

Grateful to still be making my way down life’s road, I do not begrudge growing older. It is a privilege not everyone will get to experience. However, the longer I travel this road, the more I notice those pesky signs of growing older. Long ago, the battle to keep the gray at bay was surrendered. And though I see the increasing number and the deepening of wrinkles on my face, I am happy to report not all “see” them the way I do. Frequently complimented on my skin, I cannot lie, it makes me feel good, but probably not for the reason you think. See for me, every time I receive a compliment on the appearance of my skin, it’s further affirmation that I am living a healthy life and achieving my goal of growing older versus aging. Did you know that some in the fields of science and medicine are now starting to look at “aging” as a disease process rather than a condition of being human? Some are theorizing that aging and its associated aliments are the side effects of living a life without a dedicated regard to optimal health. Interesting, eh?

My line-up for skin health includes: diet, exercise and topicals. Ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” For me, there’s a whole lot of truth in this colloquialism. The skin is our body’s largest organ and is known as the Integumentary system. It’s the only system of the eleven that compromise the human body that the world sees readily. Clean fuel in (fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat, minimal refined sugar and processed foods) means a clean system that functions efficiently. I eat clean as much as possible and drink lots and lots of water every day. Adequate water consumption has been shown to plump up the skin thus allowing the pores and wrinkles to get “filled in.” Plus, a variety of structures in the skin that support collagen (the building block of the skin) requires water to work effectively. But remember, hydrated skin only minimizes the appearance of aging skin by making the skin look plumper. On a microscopic level, the wrinkles are still there. That’s why you want to keep your skin hydrated. Give your skin a steady flow of water daily, and it will reward you so very nicely. Experts recommend drinking 8-10 8-ounce servings daily, spread through out the day versus guzzling them all at once. Your body can absorb only so much water per hour otherwise you will urinate it out before it can make its way through the body to your skin.

Odds are you have heard of the impressive benefits of regular physical fitness, but did you know that the dewy sheen on your cheeks may not be solely due to the sweat dripping off your forehead? Researchers have discovered that frequent exercisers over the age of 40 had skin that was more supple and elastic and approximated the skin of people in their 20’s and 30’s. The study theorized that exercise creates body substances that help slow aging in the skin possibly by turning off the aging process in your chromosomes. Telomeres, which are the caps on the ends of our chromosomes shorten as we get older, a process which is associated with aging effects whereas longer telomeres are associated with longevity. Research has shown a link between regular exercise and the lengthening of telomeres, suggesting it can slow down aging and help you live longer. Yay, exercise, it does a body good!

Finally in my skin care tool bag, I use a variety of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and retinol products. When we are young, our skin cells turn over approximately every 27 days, but as we age this process slows down leading to a build up of dead skin cells resulting in a flat, ashy, dull complexion. With age, we need products that will aide in the cell turnover rate to replenish the “bright” complexion of our youth.

AHA’s are a group of natural acids found in foods that do just that: they exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin to reveal fresher, smoother, more hydrated and firmer skin. The different kinds of AHA’s (citric acid found in citrus fruits, glycolic acid found in sugar cane, lactic acid found in sour milk/tomato juice, malic acid in apples and tartatic acid found in grapes) are often used in conjunction with each other to formulate different skincare products.

Retinol is another name for Vitamin A in its pure form. It has an impressive impact on the skin’s surface by helping to restore a more youthful look and feel. It works by speeding up the rate of skin cell turnover, decreasing the rate of collagen breakdown and stimulating the production of new collagen.

I use the Neoteric Cosmetics Alpha line for my topical skin care products, specifically their Essential Renewal Cream for day use, Enhanced Wrinkle Repair Cream for night use and Essential Facial Moisturizer for the times my skin is irritated.


Have I found the Fountain of Youth, probably not, but I like to think that I have found it with what I call my “Trifecta of skincare”: diet, exercise and topicals.

Un-retouched photo: no foundation make-up: blush and highlightening powder under eyes only

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*Not a paid promoter for Alpha Skin Care products.

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