Thursday, March 21, 2013

Resveratrol Provides Anti-Aging Benefits

A breaking study shows that indulging in red wine and dark chocolate may actually make you look younger. Resveratrol, a natural plant compound found in grapes and cocoa, has long been known to combat the effects of obesity, diabetes and even certain cancers. However, scientists have now confirmed that resveratrol also provides anti-aging benefits.

The study, which was published earlier this month in Science, shows that resveratrol stimulates a group of enzymes known as sirtuin, which can trigger proteins that rejuvenate cells. The new study, led by David Sinclair of the Harvard Medical School, found that resveratrol influences sirtuin directly, although in a more complicated way than previously thought. He found that resveratrol works by modifying the shape of the sirtuin proteins in the cell, activating them to speed up the cell’s energy production centers known as mitochondria.
In an article by CBS News, Sinclair commented, “We’re finding that aging isn’t the irreversible affliction that we thought it was. Some of us could live to 150, but we won’t get there without more research.”
Researchers have also figured out which gene allows resveratrol to produce the sirtuin and believe that some drugs in the future may be able to provide the same anti-aging benefits as well. Pharmaceutical companies have already invested millions of dollars in research to study resveratrol in an attempt to find the secret against aging and disease.
Since these drugs aren’t available yet, what’s the best source of resveratrol? You can’t go wrong eating foods rich in the compound such as the following:
·         Grape skins and seeds
·         Grapes and grape juice, particularly red grapes
·         Red wine and dealcoholized red wine
·         Blueberries
·         Nuts and peanuts
And if you have a sweet tooth, don’t forget about dark chocolate. Levels of resveratrol found in cocoa and dark chocolate are second to red wine among known sources of resveratrol. Just remember to moderate portion sizes since chocolate can be high in calories.
Who knew anti-aging could taste so sweet?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Scientists Look for Ways to Measure the Age of Your Skin

Every day we look in the mirror and see that wrinkle or fine line that we wish would just disappear. We stare back at our reflection and wonder why we hadn’t done things differently in our youth. We long to go back in time and apply sunscreen with SPF 30 instead of tanning oil. While that might have helped, we know that aging is a natural process.

There are two distinct types of aging — intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic aging is caused by genetics. This is typically known as the natural aging process, or chronological aging. It is continuous and usually begins in our mid-20s. Around this age, collagen production slows down, elastin because less elastic and dead skin cells prevent quick turnover of new skin cells because they don’t shed as quickly as they once did.. The good news, though, is that while aging begins early in life, the signs may not be visible for several years. These indicators include fine lines and wrinkles, thin or translucent skin, loss of underlying fat, and hollow cheeks and dry skin. How quickly these signs appear merely depends on genetics.

Extrinsic aging is caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to sun, smoking, air pollution and other external factors affecting our skin. The most detrimental of these factors is exposure to radiation from sunlight and, because of this, extrinsic aging is sometimes called photoaging.

While we know the causes of aging, scientists are now beginning to find standardized ways to measure the damage that aging causes to the skin.

A study published in Optical Society of America’s open-access journal, Biomedical Optics Express, described how a group of Taiwanese scientists used a special microscope to peer under the skin’s surface to measure age-related changes in the size of skin cells. Researchers believe this process will help measure the effectiveness of ‘anti-aging’ skin products.

The researchers studied 52 subjects from ages 19 to 79 years old using a technique known as harmonic generation microscopy (HGM). This technique has previously been used to study developing embryos. It works by sending a concentrated beam of photons into a material and studying the “harmonics” or vibrations of the protons. These harmonics can show different structures at very high resolution. As a result, the researchers were able to produce a high-resolution map of the tissue that revealed the structures within the skin cells.  

In an article in Medical News Today, distinguished professor at National Taiwan University and chief director of the university's Molecular Imaging Center Chi-Kuang Sun stated, “No one has ever seen through a person's skin to determine his or her age from their skin. Our finding serves as a potential index for skin age." 

Using HGM to create an index will help doctors determine the true age of the skin and serve as a tool to evaluate and monitor the overall health of the skin.

With researchers peering into the past through our skin, it makes us wonder if our younger selves would have taken advantage if they had a crystal ball to see the future. What if your 20-year-old self could have seen the damage and aging as it was happening?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

An Acne Treatment You May Not Know About

According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, adult acne affects 40 to 50 million people in the U.S., and that number is growing. It is not uncommon for teens to experience acne, but acne can be particularly frustrating and embarrassing for adults. About 20 percent of women and 30 percent of men ages 20 to 60 years old have acne, according to the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

Greenville Dermatology offers one of the leading treatments for adult acne – aminolevulinic acid (ALA) combined with a light therapy. While many people may not have heard of ALA, this compound was discovered more than a decade ago and is now considered a first-line treatment. ALA is produced naturally in our bodies and has a photo-sensitizing effect, which means that it makes the skin more sensitive to light.

During ALA application at Greenville Dermatology, ALA is applied to the patient’s skin and absorbed by hair follicles and oil glands. The treated skin is then exposed to a light, which kills bacteria in the pores and shrinks the oil glands that produce sebum, an oily substance that clogs pores and attracts bacteria – in other words, the primary cause of acne. The light is significantly more effective in treating acne when the skin has been sensitized to the light through the application of the cream containing ALA. While the ALA treatment shrinks the cells that produce oil, it does so without damaging any surrounding cells.
Adult acne can be difficult to treat because there are so many causes. Treatment with ALA is perfect for patients whose skin produces too much sebum, resulting in clogged pores and inflammation. Another main cause is an imbalance of hormones, which is why women often have breakouts during menstruation, pregnancy and the various stages of menopause.

While ALA is one of the most effective treatments against acne, it is not currently covered by insurance. However, it is an affordable treatment and we invite you to come in today to discuss your options. For more information, call us at 864-242-5872.