The Building Blocks of Skin: Key Things To Know About Collagen and Aging
Let’s talk about collagen!
In recent years, there’s been no shortage of skincare products and treatments on the market claiming to produce and/or protect the skin’s collagen stores, and with good reason. Collagen is a fundamental element in the overall health and appearance of your skin.
With this in mind, today we’re taking a closer look at collagen – more specifically, what it is, how it works, and what you can do to support healthy collagen levels for a lifetime. Here’s the scoop:
So, first things first, what is collagen? In technical terms, collagen is a fibrous connective tissue produced naturally by the body as part of the skin’s support structure.
According to experts it makes up about 70 percent of the skin’s deep dermis layer and is the most abundant protein found in the body. In addition to giving the skin strength and a supple, firm texture, collagen is also responsible for repair processes, including wound healing in the event of an injury.
In the early years of life, collagen is what keeps the skin baby smooth, bouncy, and wrinkle-free. However, as we age, production of new collagen begins to slow, and existing collagen stores can start to become damaged or depleted, creating changes to the skin’s texture and appearance. This decline is estimated to begin sometime around age 20, and can additionally intensify around the time that women experience menopause.
Keeping Up With Collagen: Three Ways to Support Healthy Aging
Although collagen loss is a perfectly natural part of the aging process, the good news is that there are measures you can take to prevent excess collagen loss and preserve your skin’s existing collagen stores. Here are some helpful tips you can start incorporating today:
- Tip #1: Active ingredients are essential – For promoting healthy collagen synthesis, some of the best ingredients to look for will be Vitamin C, which boosts skin immunity and cellular function, and Vitamin A – aka retinol – which promotes youthful turnover in the skin. Additionally, it can be helpful to choose formulas with hyaluronic acid, which has been studied to promote collagen production.
- Tip #2: Stay on top of sun protection – An external factor that causes collagen fibers to break down is UV from the sun, and free radicals in the environment. For this reason, applying SPF every morning and reapplying throughout the day, is your best line of defense against premature aging. You may also want to look for products that contain antioxidant ingredients – such as Vitamin E, niacinamide, green tea, and others – as these can help to offset free radical exposure.
- Tip #3: Approach skincare holistically – Lastly, experts suggest that because inflammation in the body contributes to collagen loss, a healthy lifestyle can do a lot to prevent premature skin aging. Preventative measures to take include eating a balanced, nutrient-dense diet, managing stress levels, and getting plenty of sleep. It’s also a good idea to limit smoking and alcohol consumption which can compromise skin function and accelerate the aging process.