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Collagen is that decisive protein that determines the skin’s physiology, maintains the skin’s structure and integrity. With regard to aging, collagen decrease with the passage of time hence there is a need for natural ways to boost collagen production in the skin for a firm, smooth and strong skin.
Try and feel the cheeks of a baby, you would notice how smooth and firm it is. The protein responsible for that is none other than collagen and elastin. There are different types of collagen in our body but the most abundant is type I collagen which is found primarily in the skin. It represents about 80-90% of the skin’s collagen.
As we age, Collagen starts to decrease in its function which is completely normal. However, some factors accelerate the decline of collagen in the skin, thereby making the skin lose its structure. But before we venture into what habits break down collagen, it is important to know where collagen protein is found so we can tackle how to increase collagen levels efficiently.
What Part Of The Skin Is Collagen Found?
There are 3 different layers of the skin; Epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. Collagen is found in the dermal layer which is also known as the second layer of the skin. Within the dermal layer, you will find 2 other proteins (elastin and hyaluronic acid). This trio makes the skin supple, smooth and elastic.
Collagen gives the skin its firmness and strength, elastin gives the skin its elasticity while hyaluronic acid maintains the skin’s moisture giving it a fuller, firmer and youthful appearance.
But as we age, you will notice the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles which is totally normal. However, when we expose our skin to excessive oxidative stress, you would notice the appearance of deep wrinkles, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation which mostly appears around the face, chest and external surface of the arms.
Habits that breakdown collagen
The skin is the first line of defence protecting us from viruses, bacteria and even UV light. But once we start over-exposing our skin to excessive UV light, the defence mechanism of the skin breaks down which starts the break collagen protein and disrupt the bond between elastin and hyaluronic acid. This eventually leads to deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and even skin cancer.
Diet are important to life but once you start eating food that is high in sugar, fat or not well processed, it starts to affect your skin. This is where glycation comes in; when the sugar level is so high, it starts to break down collagen and other important protein making you look older. In order to increase your collagen levels for healthier skin, reduce your intake of diets that contain soft drinks, cakes/pastries, margarine, butter, red meat and full-fat milk.
Other than poor diet, other lifestyle habits such as cigarette smoking, air pollution if you are living in the city, lack of sleep, excessive alcohol consumption, and repetitive muscle movement. All these contribute to 87% of skin aging that breaks down collagen in the skin.
5 Natural Ways To Boost Collagen Production
There are many natural ways to boost collagen production in your skin thus preventing excessive and premature dermal aging. The first part of the facial muscle to show early signs of aging is the skin around the eye because the skin layer is thinner than the rest of the facial muscle. But with the help of antioxidants found in topical creams and supplements, this can be reversed. I would suggest you read proven ways to reduce under-eye dark circles. This will help you to know the best approach to treating under-eye wrinkles.
Other relevant approaches to stimulate collagen production in the skin are:
1. Avoid Over-Exposure To The Sun
UV light as you may have known is one of the main culprits of premature aging. It increases the generation of free radicals that increases the enzyme that breaks down collagen and elastin. It is also one of the major causes of uneven skin tone and skin cancer.
Essentially, you would want to avoid exposure to the sun around the peak period (10 am -4 pm), wear clothes that cover your skin, sunglasses and hats that are able to block UV radiation.
2. Wear Sunscreens
As if avoiding the sun is not enough, you also need to protect your skin at all costs. Make sure you wear sunscreens anytime you are going out. Not just any type of sunscreen, wear sunscreens that block both UVA and UVB light. UVA contributes to skin wrinkles and aging while UVB contributes to sunburn. So you want to block both from affecting your skin.
Here are my favourite sunscreens:
Amazing lightweight oil-free sunscreen that is perfect for those with oily skin, acne-prone skin and sensitive skin. The key ingredients are niacinamide, lactic acid, vitamin E. It contains a lot of goodies that help reduce skin aging.
This sunscreen will instantly make your skin glow when applied. Perfect for all skin types. Perfect before your make-up
Comes in a high SPF and water-resistance sunscreen. Actually one of the best in the market.
3. Eat And Apply Anti-Oxidants
Before you think of applying antioxidants, you should start eating them first. This will ensure maximum protection inside and outside. Eat foods such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, kale, spinach, and red cabbage.
In addition to that, you also need to apply antioxidants just before your sunscreens. This will help sunscreens to work properly.
Best Anti-oxidants so far:
It is a non-comedogenic serum that is perfect for sensitive skin types. You can either combine it with your moisturizer or use it alone.
This serum is on the high side meaning expensive because it contains ingredients that have been well proven to reduce the signs of aging and increase collagen levels. It contains Phloretin, vitamin C, and Ferulic Acid for enhanced protection against free radicals, infrared radiation and air pollution
If you are looking for affordable vitamin C serum that gets the job done, then this is it. Mad Hippie Vitamin C Serum got rave reviews on Amazon and it is known for being cruelty-free.
4. Apply Retinoids
After using your vitamin C Serum in the afternoon, Retinol should be used in the evening. Retinoids are another anti-aging serum that increases the skin’s collagen level. Retinoids have been shown to inhibit the enzyme that breaks down collagen thereby increasing collagen content in the skin. If you are just starting to incorporate retinol into your skincare routine, make sure to read The Beginner’s Guide To Retinol before getting started because it has lots of side effects. When retinol is used properly, you would get its many wonderful effects but when used wrong, it could damage the skin’s barrier.
I love this product. It is lightweight, affordable and can be used under the eye to reduce dark circles.
A budget-friendly product that works well with oily, combination and normal skin types. It works well to reduce wrinkles and uneven skin tone.
If you are just trying out retinol for the first time, this is your go-to retinol serum. It is also great for sensitive skin
5. Collagen Supplements
Taking collagen supplements helps improve skin health and beauty benefits. Most collagen supplements are a mixture of proline, glycine and hydroxyproline. Collagen supplements also help increase hyaluronic acid in the dermal layer, making the skin look supple and smooth. One of my favourite collagen supplements is Vital Protein Collagen Peptides
Bonus Point – Drink Green Tea
Drinking Green Tea is highly beneficial for the skin. Green tea contains a high amount of polyphenols that have both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This research was carried out when scientists discovered that green tea consumers in China and Japan have a low incidence of skin cancer and they age slowly too.
Collagen is an integral protein that is necessary for normal body functions, especially in the skin. Therefore it is important to protect our skin from UV light as much as we possibly can. I hope this guide is helpful in your quest to find natural ways to boost collagen production in your skin.
Comment down below if there are other steps you are taking to increase your collagen levels.