Collagen – Key to Slowing Down Signs of Aging
A couple of months ago, my mother decided to invest in company X’s topical collagen. And when I say invest, I mean she went big. They advised to take one vial of oral collagen a day and she opted to take 2… to the tune of $500/month. Her rationale? She would spend that much on other procedures that were much more invasive at the dermatologist. Fast forward 4 months and $2000 later and her side by side showed…. little difference in her skin elasticity.
It was a bummer to say the least. She had hoped for a “miracle in a bottle” – as we have all been led to believe for so long by crazy marketing campaigns. But it just was not the case this time (or any time before that).
But it got me thinking, especially being in the skin care industry myself – what do we do about collagen? Is there a quick way to boost collagen levels or do we have to just settle with the fact that we are getting older and as a result, our skin will show that age?
In short – YES we are all getting older and YES, our skin will start to show its age. Collagen production levels will decrease as we age and skin will not naturally be as taut and plump as it was in our 20’s, when we took being young for granted.
But as always, there is good news. And we all need some good news these days.
FIRST THINGS FIRST: What is collagen?
Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body. It is found everywhere – muscles, tendons, bones, organs…. skin. But when most people talk about collagen, they think of the skin first and foremost. That’s because collagen is what keeps our skin moist, helps skin cells repair and regenerate and keeps our skin plump and wrinkle free. As we get older, natural collagen production within the body goes down, resulting in a lost of skin elasticity, sagging and, you’ve got it – wrinkles.
NEXT UP: Can we increase our collagen levels?
YES! We can help collagen levels a number of ways – diet, supplements and lifestyle.
Vitamin C: We have preached about the benefits of Vitamin C before and can’t/won’t stop now. Since our bodies do not produce Vitamin C, it is important that we supplement. It has been shown that Vitamin C greatly helps protect the skin and helps the production of collagen. Including a vitamin C serum into your daily skincare routine is highly recommended to stave off signs of aging AS well as your daily ingested supplement.
Hyaluronic Acid: Hyaluronic Acid is a sugar found naturally in our skin that holds water and helps keep it hydrated and plump. It holds 1000 times it’s on weight in water next to the skin. And just like collagen, the body’s natural production of it fades with time.
Much like Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid can be applied externally or ingested as a supplement. Most people have heard about it through skincare lines promoting it but you can also boost hyaluronic acid in your body by eating foods that are rich in amino acids like soy, root vegetables and beans. If you can change up your diet to include more antioxidant rich foods AND apply it externally, your skin will thank you.
Aloe Vera Gel: This *might* be something you have never heard before. It hasn’t made its way into mainstream skincare yet but surely it will soon. Up until recently, Aloe Vera has been popular in the skincare world to help heal sunburns and rashes. But a recent study showed that when people took oral Aloe Vera supplements, their body’s natural production of collagen and hyaluronic acid nearly doubled. If that doesn’t have you rushing out to buy Aloe vera supplements, I don’t know what will!
Diet: A diet rich in antioxidants will benefit your body in a number of ways. It can help stave off major diseases like heart disease and certain cancers. When cells in your body oxidize, they become damaged. Antioxidants kill free radicals in the body and help fight off that oxidation of cells. Antioxidants won’t necessarily increase collagen production but it will help the collagen that is present in the body do its job more effectively. If you want to increase antioxidants in your diet, here is a list of the top 20 antioxidant rich foods, according to the USDA:
1. small red beans 2. wild blueberries 3. red kidney beans 4. pinto beans 5. cultivated blueberries 6. cranberries 7. artichokes 8. blackberries 9. prunes 10.raspberries 11.strawberries 12.red delicious apples 13.Granny Smith apples 14.pecans 15.sweet cherries 16.black plums 17.russet potatoes 18.black beans 19.plums 20.gala apples
Avoid Skin Damage: When skin cells get damaged from lifestyle, environment etc, they will die off, which result in lower collagen levels. Therefore, it is important for you to keep your skin as healthy as possible. USE SUNSCREEN! Wear a hat and long sleeves when out in the sun. Wash, exfoliate and moisturize your face on a daily basis. By keeping your skin healthy, your collagen levels will not be damaged.
Ok so this was a long one but hopefully informative. We are all growing older so it is important to do as much as you can NOW to protect your skin.
If you have any questions for us, about this or really anything related to skincare… we are here to help!