Astaxanthin - a strange but beautiful name for a wonderful carotenoid and one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. Astaxanthin is found largely in marine life such as red marine algae, Krill and wild caught Salmon. Who wouldn’t be excited by the compound that gives flamingos their magnificent colour and helps protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays..?
What makes Astaxanthin a ‘super antioxidant’?
It is 6000 times more powerful than Vitamin C
It is 800 times more effective Co Enzyme Q10
It is 500 times stronger than Vitamin E
It 500 times more potent than the catechins found in green tea
A number of scientific studies (links below) have shown Astaxanthin to benefit health in many ways, including:
Reducing the appearance of wrinkles and age spots
Improve endurance and exercise recovery
Improve skin and reduce sun damage
Reduce the signs of ageing
A human clinical study by Japanese scientists found that 6mg per day of oral supplementation improved subjects’ skin wrinkles, age spot size, skin elasticity, moisture content and firmness in 8 weeks.
Another human trial researching the ability of Astaxanthin to mop up free radicals in athletes, showed an oral supplement of 4mg of Astaxanthin greatly improved recovery time, as it prevented a rise of free radicals in the body (a natural side effect of exercise), which can hamper the body’s recovery time.
Will it make me go pink?
No, it won’t! Unless you consumed tons of it daily like a flamingo, your skin would stay the colour it is meant to be. It just might look smoother, more even toned and springier – not too bad for a little-known carotenoid compound, eh?
Some lovely science for a good old geek out:
You’ve probably heard the term ‘acid mantle’ in various articles about skin care, but understanding what it is and how to protect it are integral to having beautiful, smooth and radiant skin.
So what is the acid mantle…
The acid mantle, or hydro lipid film, is a fine film on the surface of your skin with a slightly acidic pH of between 4.5 and 6.2 and it forms a protective barrier against viruses, bacteria and other toxins. It secretes a mixture of fatty acids, oils, amino acids, lactic acid and natural moisturising factor - your skin's own moisturiser. Topical products, especially harsh cleansers, sun, air conditioners, antibiotics and dust can very easily disrupt this protective film and leave your skin irritated, open to infection and red.
How do you keep it healthy…
Oil-cleansing. Instead of harsh and stripping foaming cleansers, switching to a natural oil based cleanser, which will feed the hydro-lipid layer and keep it intact. This is definitely worth baring in mind even for acne-prone oily skins, as sometimes acne can be a result of an impaired acid mantle.
Limit exfoliation. Even a mild abrasive action such as rubbing a hot flannel over your face can disrupt or worsen a damaged acid mantle. If your skin is red, inflamed, stings and feels dry post-wash, stop with the exfoliation and let your skin recover. The idea of 'squeaky clean' skin is something to let go of if you want a healthy acid mantle.
Essential Fatty Acids. EFA rich serums, oils and hyaluronic acid are key ingredients for repairing the function of the skin. They are anti-inflammatory, very moisturising due to high lipid content and offer protective benefits. As well as topical application, eating EFA found in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds is a great benefit.
Sun block. Again! Protect what you’ve cared for with a quality sun block that has broad band UVA and UVB protection.
Diet. Again too! Nourish your body from within with a varied and balanced diet full of fresh, brightly coloured vegetables, low GI fruits such as berries, oily fish, nuts, seeds and a daily dose of quality supplements including collagen peptides, co enzyme Q10 and magnesium.
Prep your skin and body for summer with these simple and effective tips...
An obvious one that we all really know, but what you take inside your body shows up on the outside… So for glowing skin you need to think about a diet that is packed with:
If you’ve never body brushed, give it a go, it is a sure fire way to feel rejuvenated and awake first thing in the morning pre-shower. Not only is it enlivening, but the benefits go beyond helping to shed dead skin cells and encourage cell renewal. As well as smoother and brighter skin, you can expect improved blood circulation and better lymphatic drainage, which is by-word for a mini detox. Use a natural fibre brush and start at the legs brushing up towards the heart in long strokes and in clock-wise circles on the torso and up the arms. Mio Skincare do a lovely one for £14.50 at Look Fantastic.
Ever heard the saying ‘summer bodies are made in the winter’? Well there is some wisdom in that, but it’s never too late to start and anything you do exercise wise is of benefit to your body and skin as it increases circulation and moves lymph around the body, assisting natural detox. Increased blood flow means better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the skin, which essentially means you feed your face with all the good stuff you’ve been eating… We are big fans of lower impact high intensity spin classes (so no potential skin drag bouncing up and down on a hard surface!), try your legs at Psycle, Boom Cycle and The Pack at Virgin Active.
Epsom Salt Bath (magnesium)
Another old classic still done today for a reason; magnesium is a key mineral that activates over 300 enzyme reactions in the body, is crucial to muscle contraction, blood circulation, energy, nutrient metabolism and cell formation. It’s also worth noting that modern life means we are all generally deficient in magnesium. A magnesium salt bath is great for repairing and maintaining healthy skin barrier function, which is your first line of defence against environmental aggressors. Pour two-cups of quality Epsom salts into warm water and soak for at least 20 minutes. Drink plenty of water during and after.
Fake it don’t bake it
Sun is responsible for around 80% of skin ageing, so it’s worth popping on a quality sun block all year round. Especially during the summer months, even on cloudy days, you’ll need a high factor spf with UVA and UVB filters. We love Ultrasun Face SPF 50 (£26) and La Roche-Posay Anthelios AOX Daily SPF 50 (£16.50). For fake tan, you can’t far wrong with Madame La La’s range of beautiful streak free mouse (in two shades for £30).
If you didn’t already know, South Korea is one of the most innovative and exciting markets for skincare and skin product development. This is simply because Koreans of all ages and genders value the importance of healthy, smooth and beautiful skin.
Of course as with any great skincare regime, in Korea they look not only at what they put on their skin, but also what they put in their bodies. Here’s a round up of the best Korean foods to give you glowing skin…
Kimchi is fermented cabbage, chilli, garlic and spices, which is packed with good bacteria (probiotic lactic acid). Eating fermented foods like kimchi is a great strategy to optimise gut health, which in turn helps to counteract inflammation and control disease-causing bacteria,, eliminate toxins, reduce the risk of allergies, benefit mood, and improve skin health. You can make your own pretty easily too! Here’s a fantastic recipe that we often make at Vitness HQ.
2. Pig Trotters
Or Jokbal is a dish of boiled pig’s feet slowly cooked in rice wine, ginger, garlic and onions. Of course pig’s feet are no longer on many menus in the UK despite making somewhat of a resurgence in trendy eateries in London. This is a shame from a nutritional point of view as they are packed with collagen, which is great for smooth, youthful skin and excellent for staving off wrinkles. If pig’s feet are not going on your dinner menu anytime soon, an easier way to get your collagen fix is of course to drink a daily Vitness.
3. Seaweed Soup
Miyeok guk is a broth made with (you guessed it…) seaweed! Miyeok is also known as Wakame and the broth is traditionally made with garlic, fish sauce, fermented soy, sesame oil and sometimes mussels. Rich in vitamins and minerals, Miyeok has been shown in studies to help regulate hormones, which anyone who’s suffered with acne or dry skin due to fluctuating hormones will appreciate, is great for your skin. Scientific studies have also shown the component fucoxanthin contained in Miyeok to be good for promoting fat burning and controlling diabetes. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to plump skin from the inside out.
A fermented paste made from soybeans and brine, doenjang is rich in flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, phytoestrogens, essential amino acids and healthy fatty acids. As it’s rich in plant antioxidants, it can help protect against skin damage caused by environmental aggressors such as sun, pollution and poor diets. It can be easily added to soups, stews and sauces for your flavonoid and phytoestrogen boost.
A fermented rice wine that is packed with vitamins and minerals, this is an alcoholic drink with added benefits. Amino acids lysine and methionine help keep the skin firm and vitamins B2 and B3 help skin stay soft and smooth as well as promoting healthy hair and nails.
Since we a good few months of winter still to go (I know, sorry!), you still need to be proactive about protecting your skin from the harsh and potentially drying effects of the season. Below are a few quick ways to keep the dryness at bay…
In winter is can be tough to drink the recommended 2 litres a day of water, but since we are made up of around 65% water, it’s essential to keep your body hydrated. Dehydration can show itself in dry skin (due to lack of blood volume), headaches, muscle cramps and slower bodily functions. You can reach your daily quota with herbal teas, fruit infused waters, Vitness (packed with collagen which will help plump the skin) and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Moisturise from within!
Collagen supplementation is great for dehydrated skin and numerous scientific studies and clinical research has shown that marine collagen ingestion measurably increases the moisture levels of the skin. Hyaluronic acid, with its ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in water, is responsible for keeping skin hydrated and plump from the inside out. Supplementation in clinical trials has shown a positive effect on dry skin (see below for the science on both collagen and HA). Omega-3 fats are known to reduce inflammation and can help alleviate dry skin. Fish oil, flax seed and walnut are all great sources of omega-3.
Cool down your shower!
Hot water in the shower or bath, as tempting as it is in the cooler months, is terrible for skin. Not only does it strip valuable moisture form the skin, it also causes vasodilation, which makes conditions such as sensitive skin, rosacea and irritation worse. As you age, your skin loses the ability to shrink the capillaries as quickly, and this can result in broken capillaries on the surface of the skin and constant flushing. Turn the heat dial down and keep showers and baths shorter to minimise damage. Moisturise your face and body immediately after showing or bathing to lock in moisture.
Know your serums!
Since serum is more concentrated than a cream or lotion, it is a more effective delivery system of moisture and functional ingredients and results appear quicker. Hyaluronic Acid rich serums are great for dry skin with trans-epidermal moisture loss, and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E are great for defending skin against free radicals, stress and boosting collagen.
The emphasis here is on the word gentle. Once a week, try a cleansing balm removed with a soft muslin cloth to remove dry, flaky patches without causing irritation. Just for extra emphasis, be very gentle, too much scrubbing, rubbing and messing around just disrupts the skin’s protective acid mantle.
The science bit for those of you who love a geek out:
Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin hydration and wrinkles:
Ingested Hyaluronan moisturizes dry skin: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4110621/
Skin is the largest organ in your body and is the biggest reflector of your health… get your skin clear, radiant and glowing with these easy tips…
We are extremely excited to launch Vitness in Revital Health stores this month! Revital have a great 25-year strong ethos centred around helping their customers achieve healthy habits on a day-to-day basis. With stores across London, in Cambridge, Windsor and Stratford-upon-Avon, you're never far from finding the perfect health solution at Revital. Pop in to a Revital near you to grab a tasty collagen-rich Vitness and protect your skin from the harsh winter weather.
We are very proud to announce Vitness will launch in Planet Organic this month. Planet Organic opened its doors in 1995 and has since offered the best and widest range of organic, natural and health foods available. Founder Renee Elliott’s dream was to promote health in the community and to bring a sense of discovery and adventure into food shopping, something certainly achieved at Planet Organic.
Revitalising post-summer skin & energising your body is easy, grab a Vitness with your lunch for a collagen and nutrient boost.
If you're looking for an energising and refreshing boost, Vitness is the answer. The Vitness Beauty Vitamin range is the perfect range for you if you're looking to up your collagen intake, improve your skins suppleness and revitalise your body - keep reading to discover their 3 different and unique flavours...
When I was contacted by the lovely people at Vitness asking if I'd like to try their unique collagen beauty vitamin drinks, I just couldn't refuse. Over the past couple of months I have been upping my game on the health front and have been very open to trying new and innovative products that aid the wellbeing of my body, overall health and skin too. Vitness naturally boosts the production of collagen, heals the skin, fights free radicals and damage caused by UV, reduces wrinkles and fights premature ageing too - which is perfect for me as I approach my 20s.
The Beauty Vitamin drink comes in a variety of three different flavours, flavours that excite and revive your pallet - Cucumber and Melon, Rhubarb and Rose & Elderflower and Chilli.
After prolonged use of these fabulously refreshing drinks, your skins texture, elasticity and appearance will be improved, your body will feel more energised than usual and premature ageing will be prevented.
Vitness Beauty Vitamin drinks are stocked in high end stores and fitness clubs such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Equinox.