The harsh reality: Collagen, the protein in our skin that keeps it young and plump, goes on strike when we reach middle age. Here’s what you can do to preserve what you have while also stimulating your skin to produce new collagen.
As we get older and continue to add candles on our birthday cakes, do we really have to look older too? Is it actually possible to age gracefully? Of course! If we care for ourselves properly, it won’t prevent us from continuing to age, but we can slow down the telltale signs. The key to keeping your skin youthful is preserving and revving up the collagen in our skin that keeps it youthful looking. Read on about what you can do to give your collagen a boost and slow down the aging process.
Collagen: Why you need it and how can you preserve it!
Collagen is a protein produced by our cells that helps “hold” the skin together, keeping it looking younger and giving it firmness and elasticity. When we’re young, our skin stays plump and smooth because it constantly regenerates collagen.
The harsh reality is that starting in our early 30s, collagen production begins to slow down. After 40, collagen production essentially ceases. Your skin’s existing collagen continues to endure damage from the sun, environmental exposure and bad habits like smoking. The results? The remaining collagen continues to break down more rapidly and thus, creating wrinkles and sagging we typically associate with advanced aging.
So, what can you do about it?
The good news is that you can start right now to slow down this process. And even better, you can actually help to stimulate the creation of new collagen. Here’s how:
1. Cut back on sugar and refined carbs.
Anything that is sugar or rapidly converted to sugar (carbohydrates such as white rice, white breads or pasta) can attach to collagen (a process called glycation) and causes stiffness of the skin and accelerates the aging process and causes wrinkly skin. Yikes!
2. Increase your vitamin C intake.
A study published in the American Journal of Nutrition found women over 40 with the highest amount of vitamin C in their diet were less likely to develop wrinkles than those who consumed lower levels. Vitamin C is crucial to the formation of collagen.
The dead skin cells on the outermost surface of your skin don’t shed as easily as they did when you were younger. Removing the top, dead layer of skin through exfoliation helps speed up the natural process of skin cell and collagen renewal.
4. More massage, please.
Massaging your face daily will help boost the production of collagen, give your skin a more plump appearance and help stimulate the lymph glands to promote clearer skin.
5. Reach for retinol.
Retinoid creams have been proven to help boost collagen production. Retinoids reduce substances in the skin that break down collagen after sun exposure and also target receptors in the skin which increase the production of collagen.
6. Stop smoking.
Smoking creates enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which damage the collagen in your skin, hence the telltale sagging that many smokers are betrayed by.
7. Add antioxidants to your skincare regime.
Antioxidants help protect your skin against free radicals that cause your skin age. The term “free radical” describes a damaged skin cell. It’s “free” because it’s missing an electron (healthy cells have two electrons, a damaged cell has one). Free radicals attach themselves to your healthy skin cells and basically suck out the electrons they need, leaving healthy skin cells damaged. This process triggers an enzyme in the skin to be released and this enzyme breaks down collagen. Antioxidants help by neutralizing the free radicals so they don’t feed off your healthy skin cells. Sip on green tea – it contains antioxidants called catechins – and eat foods high in lutein, an antioxidant found in green leafy veg like spinach. Look for creams and serums containing antioxidants too.
8. Practice safe sun.
Sun exposure is a prime culprit for hastening collagen loss. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage the deep collagen support structures. Never leave the house without sunscreen and make sure you’re not making these common sunscreen mistakes.
Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to preserve your collagen and even boost its production.
To find out more about our Collagen Jump-Start package, call the Pure Vanity Spa team at (480) 419-8267 and we will be happy to help!