In our dealings with clients and their skin concerns, we often see skins that are sluggish, sallow, sick looking, devitalised who would like their skin to have a radiance. Many clients face stress, pollution, UV rays, air conditioning and other aggressions and we see their skins pay the price for it
- Dull complexion
- Lack of tone and energy
- Slow to heal
- Congestion and toxicity
One of the ways touted to restore radiance to such skins is to oxygenate the skin by means of various modalities.
For humans, oxygen is the breath of life. But depending on the chemical company it keeps, oxygen has the potential to be one of the most oxidative substances the skin can come into contact with, with intense free radical generating ability.
In this article, I will explain how the cellular repiration system works, so you can better understand what will work and why when it comes to treatment options.
Oxidant-induced DNA damage
In the Dec. 6 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Rajindar S. Sohal and Sanjiv Agarwal of Southern Methodist University in Dallas correlate a housefly's lifetime accumulation of oxidant-induced DNA damage with life span.
Whether DNA's oxidation occurred as a result of physical activity, exposure to ionising radiation, or breathing in pure oxygen instead of normal air, the result was the same: The higher the buildup of oxidized DNA, the less time a fly lived.
Moreover, the two researchers observed, the rate of DNA oxidation - and, presumably, aging - accelerated with time. Sohal now believes that this traces to something his group has observed in a series of earlier studies: The effectiveness of the animal's antioxidant defenses declines over time - while internal generation of damaging, free-radicaloxidants per unit of physical activity, radiation, or respiration increases with age.
Because mammals are susceptible to the same oxidative changes witnessed in flies, he points out, many biologists are coming to suspect that a similar relationship between oxidation and aging may play out in humans.
So, rather than thinking of adding oxygen to help a skin breathe we need to think of the cells and processes of how our cells get their energy.
Cells breathe, or to be more precise consume oxygen. This respiration is essential for their life and development all living cells need and use oxygen. The process occurs mainly in intracellular organelles:mitochondria.
The Mitochondria are often compared to Power plants, since their major task is the production of energy, and the following processes occur there:
Oxygen required for cell metabolism is used for development and reproduction, and contributes to the rejuvenation of the different cells of the skin.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the basic source of energy, is synthesized from nutrients and energy
The main component of active mitochondrial substances is formed from proteins called cytochromes. Cytochromes are the catalysts of biological reactions of the metabolic and respiratory cycle in mitochondria.
The Krebs cycle:
The final step in the degradation of food that will respond to the majority of cellular needs.
The Respiratory chain:
This is the step of oxygen consumption that enables the synthesis of ATP, the chemical link between cellular activities supplying energy and those consuming energy.
Among all respiratory phenomena, the KREBS CYCLE and the RESPIRATORY CHAIN fulfill predominant functions; they have enabled life to domesticate oxygen and develop.
The majority of cellular ATP is synthesised in the course of cellular respiration. This synthesis occurs via enzymatic transformations of extra-cellular and intra-cellular nutrients. ATP is a tri-phosphate molecule (bearing 3 phosphate groups) and can release energy when the high energy phosphate bonds are broken. ATP is therefore an energy transporter.
Energy is used in a cellular form for:
- The biosynthesis of molecules
- Cell movement
- Transport across cell membranes
- Production of heat / maintenance of body temperature.
- Only energy in the form of ATP can be used instantly, and be transported into the cell. ATP is a complement to carbohydrates (medium term energy storage) and lipids (long term energy storage)
PRODUCTION OF ATP FROM FOOD AND OXYGEN CELLULAR RESPIRATION.
The term respiration designates oxidative processes that involve the consumption of oxygen and the formation of carbon dioxide and water. It encompasses all biological phenomena in the production of energy from catabolism of sugars, lipids and proteins. Cellular respiration involves the following steps:
The initial step is the degradation of the molecules in our food; carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into elements that can penetrate cells.
Degradation of fatty acids amino acids and glucose into a common molecule: Acetyl coenzyme A. This degradation occurs in the cytoplasm of the cells.
Acetyl CoA enters the KREBS cycle, where it is broken down into CO2 and Hydrogen atoms.
Hydrogen atoms are split into protons (H+) and energy rich electrons (e-). Electrons are transported along the respiratory chain by cytochromes all the way to oxygen (02) to form water. As electrons move along the chain, they progressively lose their energy that is stored in the form of ATP.
So the skin consumes energy to maintain its functions (such as protection, cell renewal..)
However, skin cells can only consume energy if the cell wall is permeable and strong, as cells will not even be able to absorb the various initial elements in the respiration cycle if the cell wall is compromised.
So, to revitalize a sluggish skin, first port of call must be to increase cellular health at DNA level (Vitamin A and peptides) Strengthen cell walls (EFAs and Vitamin A & C) and prevent oxidative changes (Antioxidants)
The client needs to take some responsibility for her wellbeing and gentle exercise to flush the lymphatic system and strengthen cardiovascular system will be invaluable.
It is your profession obligation to your client to ensure his/her skin is functioning at optimal capacity at all times, and to do that-in your professional skin analysis you must look further into the skin presentation than sallow, sluggish, devitalized etc and look at cellular health and give some of the responsibility back to your client to address play/lifestyle.
Michelle Woodyard is an ITEC & NaSA qualified professional therapist/educator with over 15 years experience. With eight of those years as a business owner, Michelle intimately understands what level of expertise is required to keep ahead of the competition. Since moving in to roles as a technical representative and educator (and currently GM) for leading skin care companies, Michelle, the eternal scholar has grown both her own knowledge and that of her clients. I love the industry, am excited to see all the changes occurring and to be involved with many inspiring salon owners and staff
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