Collagen - The building blocks of a healthy skin
I am sure that as a skincare enthusiast you have surely heard about collagen and its importance for maintaining a healthy and youthful skin. However, do you actually know what collagen is exactly, what it does to your skin and how to get more of it? Well… that is why we are here for. Let dig a little deeper!
Collagen is the most prevalent protein in our body responsible for structural support in connective tissues in different body parts including the tendons and muscles. Collagen also plays a crucial role in our skin as a structural protein that gives the skin its strength and shape, keeps the skin hydrated and helps maintain its elasticity. However, as our body ages the process of naturally producing collagen slows down, ultimately, leading to a sagging, dry and inelastic skin as well as for the formation of wrinkles. Other factors that may reduce the production of collagen, include among others, smoking and sun exposure. The drop in collagen production may start around the early 20's and continue to lower with aging.
How can you retain the level of collagen in the body?
There are several ways that may help retain more collagen in your body. Here are some things you can do:
- Add certain items to your diet - The process of making collagen requires specific building blocks. You’ll need the right amino acids (e.g., proline, lysine and glycine) to structure the collagen molecules. Vitamin C is also critical in creating pro-collagen (the precursor to the collagen molecule). These vitamins and minerals can be sourced from the following foods:
- Bone broth, chicken and fish for obtaining the right amino acids. If you are a vegetarian, add more eggs or beans to your diet.
- Citrus fruits as well as kiwi, berries and mango that are rich with Vitamin C.
- Emphasize antioxidants in your regime - antioxidants help reduce inflammation and contribute to the better production of collagen.
- Supplement your diet with antioxidant foods such as leafy greens and berries. (for more information on vitamins and minerals please refer to the blog "Vitamins and Minerals essential for maintaining a healthy skin", April 16th, 2020)
- Apply face serums or moisturizers that contain antioxidants and vitamin A in your skincare routine.
- Add collagen supplements to your diet - As collagen is considered a large molecule, it is very difficult for the skin to absorb it. Therefore, there’s very little evidence of the benefits of topically applying collagen on the skin as a cream or a serum form. A more effective way would be by consuming the collagen as a supplement. These supplements are usually hydrolyzed, meaning that they contain collagen that was broken down to increase the body's ability to absorb it.
To summarize, collagen is an important component for skin firmness and youthful look, and the older we get, the less of it the body produces. While it’s not easy to add the entire collagen molecule to the skin via diet or skincare products, it’s still possible to help the body make more of it. Seek to consume more foods that contain the building blocks of collagen, and avoid damaging activities like excessive sun exposure and smoking.
* This Blog was written to provide general information only and should not be seen as a replacement for a professional medical consultation. It is highly recommended to always consult your healthcare provider prior to trying a new treatment or a product.