Healthy skin needs collagen to look great. The more protein in your skin, the better it looks. If you want plumper, firmer, youthful skin, it’s important to make sure you have enough collagen. Today, we will provide easy lifestyle tips to increase collagen for skin that is healthy and radiant.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the building block of healthy skin. A network of collagen fibers is what keeps skin strong and supple. Think of it like scaffolding for your skin. Collagen is an essential protein that keeps you looking great.
It’s easy to spot skin that lacks collagen. When you look in the mirror and think “Oh, what’s happened to me?”, that’s a telltale sign. Sagging skin, fine lines and wrinkles develop when skin doesn’t have enough collagen.
Collagen and aging
It’s no wonder that aging skin is a problem as we get older. Collagen production slows with age. Ultimately, the collagen starts to degenerate and breaks down, leaving you with aging skin, lines and wrinkles.
That’s why it is important to make healthy lifestyle choices that support collagen production, especially as you get older. The tips in this article will help you do exactly that.
Inside skin cells, there are fibroblasts that produce collagen. If you aren’t quite so healthy, are feeling stressed or not getting enough sleep, that all takes a toll on collagen production. Not only is the amount of collagen produced by skin decreased, but the quality of the collagen isn’t as good. Skin starts to sag and look tired, leading to an aged appearance. If you have signs of skin aging, today’s advice will help turn that around.
Tips for boosting collagen
Smart lifestyle choices support collagen production. Here are some easy ways to get started.
Eat dietary collagen
Increasing collagen for better skin starts with a healthy diet. Whole foods are an excellent way to up your natural collagen intake. A collagen-rich diet focused on lean protein like chicken, turkey and fish can help. High-fiber foods like dark leafy greens, beans and prunes and are a good source as well. Collagen itself is a type of protein fiber.
Fatty acids and rich oils can aid the skin cell membrane to help with collagen to make skin nice and healthy as well. Think olive oil, salmon and nuts.
Quinoa, bone broth, lentils, dark-colored vegetables, berries and citrus fruits are also good choices.
Collagen supplements are another way to improve collagen. Powder collagen is tasteless and odorless, so it’s perfect for adding to beverages or smoothies. Hydrolyzed collagen is best. If you struggle with adding collagen to your diet, ingestible collagen supplements are an easy way to support collagen production.
Spices can improve collagen levels, too. Turmeric is one of the best. It’s an anti-inflammatory that can make a big difference in the skin cells by reducing inflammation. That allows the fibroblasts inside skin cells to focus on making collagen, rather than fighting inflammation.
Antioxidant-rich foods have a similar effect. Blueberries and dark-colored fruits and vegetables are very high in antioxidants. These work by reducing the effect of environmental stressors and skin pollution so that it stays healthy and produces collagen normally.
A day in the sun may give your skin a glow, but it’s what is going on under the surface that we are concerned about. Sun exacerbates skin aging by causing collagen breakdown.
UV rays are proven to disfigure collagen structures in the skin. If you look under a microscope at the skin of someone with a lot of sun exposure, the collagen fibers look like a tangled mess. It’s no wonder sun worshippers have premature wrinkles and rough, thick skin.
Reducing your time in the sun can prevent damaging collagen and keep skin looking healthy and youthful. Daily sunscreen (SPF 30+) is a must. You can get the proper SPF in sunscreen, tinted moisturizers with sunscreen, daily face lotion with SPF and even foundation with sunscreen built in.
Drinking alcohol breaks down collagen. It can also reduce the quality of your sleep, which is vital for normal collagen production. If you must imbibe, drink red wine in moderation. Red wine has antioxidants in it, which are good for skin. An occasional glass of red wine won’t hurt.
Smoking and collagen
Smoking hurts your collagen production. The chemicals in cigarettes are bad for you. It is not part of a healthy lifestyle. Being less healthy in general slows collagen production since your skin isn’t functioning optimally.
Switching to nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help, but the goal is to remove nicotine from your system altogether eventually. Staying away from all the chemicals in cigarettes can go a long way toward better skin and collagen production.
Everyone loves a cup of coffee in the morning. However, caffeine can deplete the collagen pathways that help make skin nice and healthy. This can accelerate aging skin, causing lines and wrinkles to form.
If you need caffeine, tea is a better choice. Green tea and black tea contain antioxidants that improve skin health. Try to stick to one cup a day.
Drinking caffeine at night can cause you to stay up late as well. Getting enough sleep is a key component of healthy, glowing skin.
Kick sugary foods
Sugary foods affect skin cells. Eating sugar and high-glycemic foods that convert to sugar in your body can inadvertently lead to skin aging. That’s because sugary foods produce free radicals in the skin and body. While the skin is busy fighting off those nasty free radicals, it has less time and energy left to make collagen. This is exactly what we don’t want to happen.
Refined sugar, such as in soda and baked goods, is the worst offender. A sweet treat on occasion is fine. But sugar works its way into your diet in sneaky ways. For example, a fruit smoothie may seem like a healthy choice, but some fruits like mango have a ton of natural sugar. While fruit sugar (fructose) is better than the refined sugar in cupcakes, it still leads to free radicals in the body and skin.
Bread, pasta, rice and carbs may be sugar free, but they are high-glycemic index foods. That means the carbohydrates convert to sugar (glucose) in your body. The result is similar to eating sugar directly. So you may want to limit eating carbs, too.
De-stress for better skin
If you have a huge amount of stress in your life, such as changing careers, a break up, death of a loved one or some other shock, you may look older practically overnight. When the body is under constant stress, a stress hormone known as cortisol comes into play. This is bad news for collagen production.
Stress can also cause you to make poor lifestyle choices that limit collagen in skin. It’s easy to turn to sugar, caffeine and cigarettes when you are feeling down. But research shows that eating well, exercise, meditation and healthy lifestyle choices provide stress relief in a healthy way that also supports beautiful skin.
Yoga, going for a walk, redecorating your bedroom, calling a friend or taking a relaxing bubble bath can ease your mind. Changing up your daily routine is also a good way to de-stress. Even just taking a different route to work, going to the park or stopping at a new coffee shop can boost your mood.
When you are happy, healthy skin will follow.
Get a good night’s sleep
A bad night of sleep can zap your skin fast. Meanwhile, a good night of sleep can keep cortisol levels in check. Cortisol is a stress hormone that is known to decrease collagen and elastin production. Cortisol is skin’s enemy. You can fight it by improving sleep quality.
A calm, restful night of sleep can aid amino acids and glycine, which are components of the protein that makes up collagen. Aim for eight hours a night, and your skin will thank you. You will wake with fresh, rejuvenated skin. What better way to start the day?
Exercise to improve collagen
Working out is not only good for building muscles and lean bodies, but it’s great for the skin as well. Exercise boosts collagen levels through growth hormones, says dermal nurse Lea Barclay of Specialist Skin Solutions. It also improves circulation, which helps to flush toxins from the skin.
If your skin is in a rut, clinical skincare treatments are fabulous for a quick pick-me-up. Anti-aging skin treatments and facials instantly make you look better. Not only that, but they feed your skin with all the healthy, healing skincare ingredients that revitalize skin from within.
Lea loves vitamin A for its age-defying benefits. A nice hydrating mask with collagen peptides or collagen peptide cream at the clinic will also promote a youthful complexion.
Clinical skincare treatments are about more than just good looks, though. Advanced cosmetic treatments at Specialist Skin Solutions can actually make skin healthier. Regular skin maintenance is an important part of radiant, glowing skin.
Collagen = Beautiful Skin
You can refresh, rejuvenate and revive skin by making a few lifestyle changes. As you can see, it’s really easy to boost collagen once you know what you are doing. “Collagen loves clean living,” Lea says.