Collagen is a kind of protein produced by your body, which is required to hold the skin together – keeping it looking younger and providing it with firmness and elasticity. When you’re young, your skin remains plump and firm as it constantly produces collagen, which enables the skin to regenerate itself
Natural collagen exists with in your skin as a structural support. However as you age, the collagen production slows leading to its depletion and moreover the existing collagen gets damaged due to the Sun exposure and bad skin habits – meaning breakdown of collagen in the dermal layer of your skin. As you lose collagen during course of the aging process, your skin gets thinner and with the result wrinkles begin to set in [source: New Zealand Dermatological Society]. Also when collagen breaks down, your skin becomes weaker and this causes sagging of the skin as well.
Now you know that collagen production is the key factor when it comes to keeping your skin looking young, plump and wrinkle-free. So, your aim should be to preserve the collagen and rather boost its production.
How To Stimulate Collagen To Keep Your Skin Looking Younger?
The anti aging industry is a vast business. Many of us strive to look younger, which makes us fall pray easily to the marketing gimmicks of these big companies to convince us that their cream with collagen will do the magic.
Most of these anti-wrinkle creams containing collagen and elastin won’t do much at all because of the fact that that these two ingredients are structurally too dense to easily enter our skin. Both of these elements need to go through extensive processing to make them absorbable, otherwise they remain on surface of your skin, doing nothing. Moreover, anti aging facial creams contain chemicals, which may actually age you instead of reversing aging.
Here are some harmless ways to help you enhance collagen in your skin:
1. Collagen And Vitamin C Intake: As per the Linus Pauling Institute vitamin C is found in high concentrations in upper layers of the skin. According to a study published in the American Journal of Nutrition, the women participants over 40 having the highest amount of vitamin C in their diet were less likely to develop wrinkles than those who consumed lower levels. Vitamin C, also called as Ascorbic acid, is crucial for collagen synthesis (without it amino acids can’t be linked to form the protein) and so plays an essential role in formation of collagen.
Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, tomatoes, red pepper, bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables like broccoli and sprouts, oranges and kiwi fruit.
Topical application of vitamin C is believed to promote collagen repair and production. Look out for products that have L-Ascorbic acid, ascorbyl palmitate or ascorbyl phosphate listed on their label.
2. Quit Smoking: Smoking produces enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which damage and decrease the production of collagen in your skin, resulting in wrinkles and the tell-tale sagging. According to a study published in the “British Journal of Dermatology” in 2002, it was observed that smokers had an 18 and 22 percent decrease in types I and III collagen, respectively, compared to nonsmokers.
3. Be Sun Safe: Sun exposure is one of the main causes for speeding up collagen loss. The harmful UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin and can breakdown the collagen support structures and elastin deep inside. Apply an at-least SPF15 broad- spectrum sunscreen lotion (one that protects against UVA and UVB rays) generously onto your skin 30 minutes before going outside.
4. Reduce Your Sweet Intake: Eating too much sweet can ruin your beauty. It leads to premature ageing of the skin by a process called glycation. This also causes excess sugar in the blood to fasten itself to lipids, nucleic acids and proteins (particularly the collagen) to produce “advanced glycation end products” or AGEs, which quicken the ageing process and so make your skin loose and wrinkled.
5. Exfoliate: The process of exfoliation involves removing the top, dead layer of your skin. It also speeds up the natural renewal of new elastin and collagen, thereby helps providing your skin with a more youthful appearance. The best way to exfoliate is with chemical exfoliants such as glycolic acid and lactic acid. They dissolve the glue-like stuff that fastens dead skin to the surface rather than sloughing it off like what scrubs do, and provide a more even result, making your skin look healthier and more glowing.
For those who prefer being natural, here are the homemade chemical exfoliant recipes.
6. Include Antioxidants In Your Skincare Routine: Antioxidants work overtime to safeguard your skin from free radicals that can otherwise make your skin age faster. They are actually damaged skin cells. They are devoid of an electron, so termed as free radicals (whereas healthy cells have two electrons, the damaged cells have only one).
Free radicals tend to hook up healthy skin cells and intrinsically suck out the electrons they lack, leaving healthy skin cells damaged. This process also leads to onset of an enzyme in the skin that wrecks collagen. Antioxidants help by defusing the free radicals so that they are unable to prey on the healthy skin cells.
Devour on green tea – it has antioxidants called catechins – and eat foods high in lutein, an antioxidant found in green leafy veg like spinach. Also look out for creams and serums containing antioxidants.
7. Reach For Proteins: Your muscle mass as well as the collagen and elastin contained in your skin comprised of proteins. Include one or two servings of healthy protein in your daily diet to help fuel production of collagen and elastin. Tofu, nuts, seeds, milk and cottage cheese are rich sources of proteins.
Moreover, as we age we reach menopause stage that causes drops in oestrogen levels. Oestrogen is an essential requirement for forming healthy collagen, lack of which can make your skin wrinkly.
Plenty of foods contain plant oestrogens (phytoestrogens), which can help reduce the impact of lost oestrogen. Include hummus, nuts, soy and pinto beans into your every-day diet to take care of this factor.
8. Try Retinoids / Retinol: Retinoids cut back such constituents in the skin, which can damage collagen due to sun exposure and also stimulate receptors in the skin that boost production of the collagen. Retinoid creams have been proven to help increase collagen production. They are only available on prescription.
Natural Beauty Tip: As retinoids are the most potent anti-aging ingredient available, so they can be used on almost every skin type. But, they can be very irksome. Thus, it’s recommended to begin slowly with a non-prescription cream that contains retinol. Retinol is the less-aggressive form of prescription-strength tretinoin and is also supported by scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. For best results use retinoids and retinols at night as they are photo-inactivated, meaning direct sunlight will break them down and make them less effective.
9. Massage Your Face And Skin: Massaging your face every day will help promote production of the collagen, give your skin a more chubby look and help vitalize the lymph glands to firm up and tighten your skin.
Although you can’t stop aging, the above things you can do to promote new collagen synthesis for keeping your skin taught and firm and protect your body’s largest organ – the skin.