The Barnes & Noble Review
Not confined -- despite its title -- to fending off those pesky wrinkles, this is a guide to maintaining a healthy, supple, and glowing complexion at any age, without plastic surgery. Dr. Perricone, a renowned dermatologist, instructs readers on reaping the benefits of antioxidants and cosmeceuticals, as well as the lasting effects of sound nutrition.
The book asserts that much of what we consider the natural effects of aging on the skin is actually quite avoidable. The lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and loss of firmness and moisture that accrue over the years are not the result of the body's aging process; they are in fact the result of exposure to free radicals released by contact with the sun, chemicals, stress, cosmetics, and other forms of maltreatment. The explanation of the damage caused by free radicals and the ways in which antioxidants counterbalance this damage is truly eye-opening. In addition to the skin-saving techniques imparted by the book, readers will come away with a clear understanding of the science of aging, especially as it relates to their skin.
To help patients, and now readers, combat the ravages of free radicals, Dr. Perricone has formulated a program that incorporates antioxidants found in vegetables and topical antioxidant treatments he has termed cosmeceuticals, like vitamin C ester, DMAE, and alpha lipoic acid. These cosmeceuticals -- a cross between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals -- allow antioxidants to be absorbed readily by the skin, which uses them to stabilize free radicals. The book presents numerous stories of patients who turned to cosmeceuticals instead of facelifts, to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program. These stories are a highlight of the book, as they provide compelling examples of the power of antioxidants to repair not only the skin but also the self-esteem of users of all ages.
The premise of the book is that treating your skin well -- from the inside as well as the outside -- ought to be an imperative part of anyone's health and beauty regimen. By nourishing our bodies with antioxidant-rich foods and protecting our skin from the sun and other exterior hazards, we can all enjoy luminous skin well into our golden years. And if it's too late for such precautionary measures, there's always The Wrinkle Cure to help. (Karen Burns)
Read an ExcerptChapter 7
An Instant Anti-Aging Face-Lift
Go ahead. Sink your teeth into a delectable chocolate-fudge brownie. Plunge into a cool stream on a hot day. Pamper yourself with a long, sensuous massage. All three experiences promise one fantastic payoff--instant gratification. A surge of pleasure and satisfaction floods your senses seconds after you indulge yourself.
You can give your skin the same kind of quick satisfaction. In just about the time it takes you to finish a sinful dessert, DMAE complex can produce a visible and gratifying improvement. If you've shied away from so-called treatments because the very word conjures up visions of spending days carefully applying this and dipping in that until you finally see results, DMAE will change your mind. It's quick, it's easy, and it works.
DMAE is a great little acronym that's easier to say than the tongue twister dimethylaminoethanol. Mixed in a cocktail with other nutrients, combined with an antioxidant base, and applied topically, DMAE can quickly and dramatically improve the appearance of sagging skin. As an added bonus, DMAE boosts the effects of other antioxidants, resulting in increased smoothness, brightness, and line reduction.
What, exactly, is DMAE? Unlike the antioxidants I've discussed so far, DMAE is an antioxidant membrane stabilizer. Because of its unique structure, DMAE actually intersperses and becomes part of the cell plasma membrane. When this occurs, the membrane is more able to resist stress and therefore is stabilized. DMAE also gives some protection from free radicals--probably by preventing the other portions of the cell membrane from being attacked by free radicals--and therefore can act as an antioxidant. Thus, DMAE is an antioxidant membrane stabilizer. It prevents breakdown of the cell plasma membrane and the resulting production of arachidonic acid and a bunch of pro-inflammatory mediators. When mixed with other amino acids and nutrients, it has a dramatic firming effect on skin.
How DMAE Helps
One of the best places to find DMAE is in fish--nature's brain food. DMAE will increase the chemicals in the central nervous system that help us to think clearly. Millions of people take DMAE capsules simply to increase cognitive function.
Although DMAE has a very impressive record as a successful defense against aging, it is not traditionally thought of as an antioxidant. Conventional thinking aside, however, DMAE acts as an antioxidant because it helps stabilize cell membranes, protecting them from free-radical damage by helping cells to expel waste and hold on to valuable nutrients.
When this unusual nutrient complex is applied topically, not only does it work quickly--within minutes of application; it also continues to firm the skin over time. And it couldn't be safer. It's considered a food-grade substance, so you could actually eat it without doing yourself any harm, although I don't recommend that you try.
Putting DMAE to the Test
When I put DMAE to the test as part of a clinical study, I could clearly see a difference. Experimenting with 17 selected patients, I applied the DMAE lotion to half the face and neck of each patient and then waited 20 to 30 minutes. A dermatologist and cosmetic expert were then asked if they could tell the difference between the treated and untreated sides of the faces. The improvement in the treated skin could be seen clearly. The treated sides showed an increase in skin tone, producing tighter, more youthful-looking faces. The effect lasted for approximately 24 hours.
Later I determined that long-term use of DMAE could help to permanently increase the firmness of the skin. When I tested DMAE lotion on my patients for long periods of time, my patients and I saw incredible results. The first thing my patients reported was that they achieved a leaner look because the muscle tone in their faces improved. One female patient in her forties told me that several people she met asked what kind of diet she had been on. They thought she had lost thirty pounds. Her photographs told the same story: her face definitely looked firmer and more defined.
With prolonged use, some patients have even noticed that the tip of their noses got a bit of a lift owing to the increased muscle tone that DMAE brought about in their foreheads. Believe me, there is nothing that gives a face a more youthful look than raising the sagging tip of the nose.
Several study subjects brought another finding to my attention: their noses actually seemed thinner after repeated use of the DMAE lotion. One of the most exciting changes, however, occurred when we measured DMAE's effects on study participants' necks and jawlines. After only one application of the treatment, skin tone in the neck visibly improved. Within a few weeks of use, the jawline became more defined.
The most dramatic effect, however, was the natural lift that DMAE produced in the eyelids. All study participants reported a tighter, more toned appearance in the skin around the eyes after just a few days of use.
Beauty from the Inside Out
The Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Don't panic! This chapter is not about losing weight. As a matter of fact, by the time you finish reading the next few pages, you'll no longer agonize about every calorie you consume; you'll celebrate the fact that you can fight the effects of aging with every meal. Even if you decide that you're not ready to try antioxidant-based creams or lotions, you can enjoy the benefits of increased antioxidant protection for your skin through your diet. The key is eating nutrition-packed, antioxidant-rich foods.
If you're the type of person who rushes over to the nearest department store anxious to try the latest skin-smoothing miracle cream, then it's time you started getting just as excited about your trips to the grocery store. Get started in the produce aisle. Picking and choosing is easy--just about every luscious, brightly colored fruit or vegetable that draws your eye can work wonders for your skin, so try one or two new foods each week. Next stop--the fresh fish and poultry counters. Eating high-quality protein will make your skin glow and give you healthier hair than ever, since your hair is 97 percent protein and needs a protein-rich diet to grow and thrive. But forgo the red meat because it is a pro-inflammatory food. Last, stroll over to the beverage aisle and fill your cart with mineral or spring water. Water is the one thing your entire body needs to perform the metabolic processes that keep you alive and keep your skin looking clear, bright, and beautiful. The inexpensive and relatively easy process of gradually adding these powerful foods to your diet will begin to take a few years off your appearance in no time.
In the next few pages, I will show you how to make your diet one of the most important parts of your skin care regimen. You can enhance the effects of my topical antioxidant program with a nutrition plan that promotes overall health. The best diet for good health and gorgeous skin is one made up of the freshest possible fruits and vegetables, combined with low-fat sources of protein, complex carbohydrates, and clean water. Also, remember that you'll never look your absolute best unless you eat right, get plenty of rest, and get at least a moderate amount of exercise.
The Quick Face Fix
What should you eat before a big event? Fish, fish, and more fish.
When my patients tell me they need to look absolutely fabulous for a big night, I recommend a topical dose of DMAE complex (of course) and suggest that they concentrate on eating certain foods for 48 hours before a special occasion. You can actually produce a healthier, smoother complexion with what you eat. The idea is to load up on plenty of non-insulin-promoting high-antioxidant foods, while hydrating your skin.
Here are some meal suggestions:
¥ Fresh fruit salad, with lots of berries
¥ Egg white omelet
¥ Hot or cold mixed vegetable medley: broccoli; green, red, and yellow bell peppers; cauliflower; and green beans. Season the vegetables with the fresh herbs of your choice. Cook with olive oil.
¥ 4 to 6 ounces of freshly broiled salmon
¥ A salad of leafy greens, with a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice
¥ Fresh melon such as cantaloupe or honeydew for dessert. WARNING: Do not eat your cantaloupe before your protein (fish). The protein slows the absorption of sugars from the cantaloupe into the bloodstream, so that it does not cause a spike in your blood sugar.
These foods are primarily non-insulin-promoting and rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Also drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day.