Could it be the key to a youthful complexion?
While it may be linked to various health problems, cholesterol is something of a revelation in the beauty world. It’s essential for producing vitamin D in your body, for forming bile salts which aid the absorption of fat in the digestive tract and for creating hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen, cortisol and testosterone – and it could also hold the secret to anti-ageing. This lipid is already present in our skin, as Dr Pedro Catala, founder of TWELVE Beauty (twelvebeauty.com) explains. “Cholesterol is a natural component of the hydrolipidic film in the upper layers of the epidermis. It has a structural function as it is part of the cell membranes.” However, every time you wash your face or exfoliate, you strip it of its natural cholesterol, which could lead to moisture seeping out and irritants getting in.
So, should you start using topical products containing cholesterol to replenish your levels? “As an ingredient in cosmetics, it’s very helpful in addressing delicate, sensitive and dry skin,” says Dr Catala. “Cholesterol helps to keep the skin barrier healthy – if it’s fragile, you will have a tendency towards drier, duller skin and therefore more wrinkles and sagging.” Replace these essential fats and restore your skin barriers by introducing products containing cholesterol into your beauty regime.
“From the age of 50, the levels of natural cholesterol decrease dramatically, so I recommend that you start to use a cholesterol containing product from the age of 40 upwards,” advises Dr Catala. However, it’s vital to check where the ingredients come from. If the label says ‘cholesterol’, it will usually mean that it’s of animal origin. “The main vegetarian source of cholesterol is squalane. Most of the time, you cannot be sure of the origin, so it’s always important to contact the manufacturer who will be able to tell you precisely what it’s derived from.”
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