We all know the impact the sun can have on maintaining a youthful-looking complexion, but there are many other environmental and lifestyle factors you might not be aware of that can impact your skin. Pollutants, climate and diet can all accelerate skin breakdown and damage. We chatted with Bend Beauty founder Marc St. Onge about how our environment impacts our skin health. —Vita Daily
Hi Marc! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I’m a Halifax-based entrepreneur, and over the past 20 years I’ve focused all my energy as an innovator in wellness, food, and sustainability. Right now, I split my time between several companies including Bend Beauty, which is pioneering new science and concepts in the ingestible beauty category. It feels like every morning I wake up and think about how to shift the world. Since all change starts from within, I make efforts to maintain a daily practice of wellness including meditation, eating healthy local foods and spending time by the ocean. At Bend we are trying to help people create a beautiful life so this is regular thought for me.
What makes Bend Beauty unique?
I started Bend Beauty five years ago, however the research and development phase started 10 years ago. At that time I felt strongly that we’d see in the future a significant convergence of health care and skin care. The skin is our largest organ and based on its physiology it’s clear that an inside-out approach is equally as important to topicals—only treating it topically leaves a big gap. This is what sets us apart from other beauty brands: we have a very different approach, one where we use leading-edge research and innovation to deliver highly effective skin-care treatments from the inside out.
In what ways (good and bad) does the environment impact our skin?
Perhaps the greatest benefit from natural environments is they help us to lower levels of stress hormones. This has a direct benefit for skin health. But, it’s critical to take the proper steps to protect your skin if you’ll be exposed to direct sunlight. Spending time in the sun increases your risk of sunburn, skin cancer and expedites early skin aging. Pollution in the air, toxins in our home cleaners or even the topical products were putting on our skin can also have harmful effects. Research now is suggesting that even blue light emitted from devices like smartphones and laptops generate free-radical stress in our skin, similar to how they create eye strain. If you want great skin (I know you’ve heard this before) try to have a balanced diet, limit alcohol and sugar, manage your stress and think carefully about what you’re exposing your body to.
How can ingestible beauty products, such as those made by Bend, help prevent skin breakdown, damage and more?
Our foundational Anti-Aging Formula delivers six active ingredients that work in synergy to optimize skin health and longevity. Those are: EPA, DHA, GLA, vitamin D, lutein and zeaxanthin. These ingredients combined provide benefits including significant protection against UV-induced sun burns, all while improving skin hydration, elasticity and firmness. Our Marine Collagen + Co-Factors features a high-purity sustainable collagen from fish skin, combined with two important co-factors involved in the formation of new collagen: vitamin C and the mineral silicon. This process improves collagen strength, function and makes it more resistant to damage. Or, in non-science speak, makes your skin look naturally firmer and fuller.
Are ingestibles more effective, differently effective or a good complement to topical skin treatments that combat the negative impacts of environmental factors like pollutants, climate and diet?
I would say all of the above! The skin is made of many layers and it’s clear that to treat the “whole” skin you need topicals and ingestibles. And while topicals and ingestibles tag team against pollutants and climate (such as UV rays) the best defense against dietary factors would be exclusive to ingestibles. Bend Beauty’s products aren’t meant to be a replacement for topical sunscreens or face cleansers, so I feel confident in saying ingestibles and topical skin treatments go hand in hand.
Going into fall, what are your top tips to keep our skin glowing?
- Change your body washes and cleansers from foam to cream. As the weather gets colder your skin can dry out if you keep stripping away the natural moisture.
- Build your skin back up. Summer environmental exposure can leave your skin damaged and depleted the, so take Bend’s Anti-Aging Formula to help renew and repair your skin from the sun and heat.
- Consider your diet. We often go from lighter meals with more veggies (and vitamins!) in the summer months to a heartier and heavier diet in the fall. Make sure you’re still incorporating foods high in antioxidants into your meal plans. Fall is all about colour so eat more carotenoid-rich veggies that are yellow, red and orange.
- Buy a humidifier and change the filters in your home. Adding some hydration into the air around you and improving the air quality can help make the transition from warm to cooler weather more bearable on your skin.
- Vitamin D levels are highest in the summer but start to decline in the fall, so ensure you are get-ting at least 1000iu of vitamin D daily!