Anti-aging and beauty products are everywhere nowadays. From creams to roll-ons and face masks, there are plenty of products and services competing for your money in the market for skincare.
But the best way to look after your skin is through a biohacking approach.
How do you biohacking your skin? The best way is an approach based on nutrition, using food and supplements, including caffeine, carotenoids, collagen, glutathione, polyphenols, and vitamin C, combined with treatments such as cryotherapy, microneedling and stem cell therapy.
Read on to see in detail exactly how and why you can biohack your skin with vitamins, minerals, and nutrition. You’ll also see how you can use other treatments to make your skin look and feel much better.
The vitamins and minerals
Rarely ever seen as a skincare product, coffee, and caffeine contained within it has actually been shown in a 2013 study to help with various skin issues.
This includes but is not limited to: boosting circulation, reducing inflammation, repairing DNA, soothing sun damage as well as redness which occurs due to irritation.
Furthermore, coffee contains a large number of polyphenols (also on the list of minerals which help with skincare) read on to discover how polyphenols can help your skin and why their presence in coffee is a positive.
Present in coffee, (some) chocolate, various herbs, and especially dark green and purple vegetables – polyphenols have been shown to help with the “various biochemical processes induced or mediated by solar UV radiation”.
In other words, polyphenols show “significant” anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-DNA damaging effects – all this, according to a review done in 2010 on polyphenols and their effects on the skin.
The review concluded that “routine consumption or topical treatment of these polyphenols may provide efficient protection against the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation in humans.”
Polyphenols work by scavenging free radicals, preventing them from being able to damage cells. They also protect against ‘photoaging’, this includes the appearance of sunspots and wrinkles.
Furthermore, they increase circulation which helps skin to look healthy and radiant.
As can be assumed from their name, carotenoids are found in carrots along with other vegetables such as sweet potatoes and squash, they can also be found in salmon – orange is the key color here.
On the topic of color, carotenoids are actually the mineral responsible for the pigments of bright yellow, orange, and red vegetables. In vegetables, they protect against free radicals, for humans the same also.
A 2011 review into the role of carotenoids in human skin found backed this up, stating that “Carotenoids are known to be powerful antioxidant substances playing an essential role in the reactions of neutralization of free radicals.”.
The review concluded that higher concentrations of carotenoids in the skin often was linked to a healthier, “free of stress” lifestyle. Whereas, low concentrations of carotenoid in the skin was linked to the opposite – “an unhealthy lifestyle, as well as nutrition, illness, and smoking.”
Present in every cell in your body, collagen plays a key role in your body, not just for your ligaments and fingernails but also your skin.
It can be found in homemade bone broth, tougher cuts of meat which are cooked at low temperatures for a long amount of time or organ meats.
Increasing the presence of and the production of collagen in your body can help to reduce wrinkles and prevent your skin from sagging as you age.
Aging leads to a natural reduction in collagen production. Hence why, for most older people, skin sags and wrinkles appear.
Supplements for collagen provide exactly what the body needs in order to produce more and help increase skin elasticity, hydration and prevent skin aging alongside the healing of wounds. As concluded in a 2019 review on oral collagen supplementation.
More prominently linked with acne, reduced levels of the antioxidant glutathione were seen in those with acne compared to those without.
Glutathione is produced in the body and can be increased by consuming whey protein or glutathione supplements which help to provide your body with what is needed in order to produce the mineral.
A 2017 study concluded that glutathione can also provide “various beneficial effects on skin properties” such as increasing skin elasticity and potentially providing “antiaging” effects.
Collagen cannot be produced in the body without Vitamin C and therefore it is vital that you consume the correct amount in order to keep your skin looking its best. Vitamin C can be found in lemons, limes, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.
On top of being vital to collagen production, Vitamin C helps to reduce skin inflammation, and protect against free radicals which are one of the main causes of skin aging.
A 2017 review and study into ‘The Roles of Vitamin C in Skin Health’ stated that “normal skin contains high concentrations of vitamin C, which supports important and well-known functions, stimulating collagen synthesis and assisting in antioxidant protection against UV-induced photodamage”
Furthermore, the study concluded that Vitamin C can help with a multitude of skin-related issues including: “protection against UV irradiation”, “signs of aging in human skin can be ameliorated through the provision of vitamin C” and “the provision of vitamin C to the skin greatly assists wound healing and minimizes raised scar formation.”
Other methods of biohacking your skin
Your diet plays a key role in almost every aspect of your being, including your skin. However, improving or adding to your diet is not the only way to improve the appearance and health of your skin. Other methods such as the following can also be useful.
Closely linked to your diet but not the same, supplementation is taking or adding powders or pills to your daily routine or meal in order to consume the optimal amount of various minerals.
Some of the aforementioned minerals can be supplemented (Vitamin C, collagen and glutathione).
However, for skincare ‘anti-aging’ supplements such as Nicotinamide Riboside, Fisetin, D-Ribose, zinc, copper and Vitamins A, D and K can all help to provide anti-inflammatory and, more importantly, antioxidant properties to keep your skin from aging.
And CBD is also beneficial if you suffer from acne – there’s a whole article on this if you’d like to know more.
Often used in the sporting world, cryotherapy, or cold therapy, is used to reduce inflammation and aid in circulation.
Access to a cryo chamber is not a necessity, at home if you set your shower to the coldest temperature and stay under it for 5 minutes the effects will be similar.
Some people also recommend rubbing ice cubes on the skin of your neck and face before going to sleep to provide the same benefits.
Otherwise known as collagen induction therapy, microneedling involves a dermaroller which uses small needles to pierce and prick the skin.
These pricks generate new collagen, making skin tissue firmer and smoother.
The process can also be done at home with home rollers, however, dermatologists suggest that the DIY version is nowhere near as effective or long-lasting.
Expensive to say the least, stem cell therapy can range from $20,000 all the way up to $100,000.
The therapy is expensive due to the benefits that it is said to provide.
From anti-aging of the skin to better heart health and cognitive results as well as the promise of a longer and better life, it’s no wonder it is an expensive procedure.
Your diet plays a key role in many aspects of your life. Your skin and complexion are one of these aspects.
There are various minerals and vitamins you can include in your diet or supplement in order to optimize the way your body works to improve and maintain skin health.
If changing or adding to your diet is not your preferred option, other methods such as the ones listed above are available however they come with risks, costs and other difficulties which dietary additions simply do not.