Collagen is a major building block of your body. It is a protein that gives skin its firmness and plumpness and allows it to heal. In fact, collagen fibers are almost 80% of your skin’s dermis (middle) layer. Collagen also builds up cartilage and bone and keeps your organs strong and healthy. Collagen is the single most important factor to your beauty.
“Collagen fibers are like a bunch of sturdy, fat Roman columns placed close together, holding up the top layer of skin,” says Dennis Gross, M.D., a dermatologist in New York City. “When you’re young and healthy, the pillars are strong, straight, and plentiful, so skin looks smooth. And when you pinch your cheek, skin feels spongy and full.” When skin is healthy, it repairs and makes new collagen. If everything is working as it should, then cellular collagen-making machines called fibroblasts churn out new collagen and your body produces enzymes that, like a microscopic wrecking crew, break down old or damaged collagen and carry it away, says Ronald Moy, M.D., a derm in Beverly Hills, California. The result: a collagen give-and-take that keeps skin looking smooth and young. (Source).
As you age, generally starting in your 20s, collagen production slows down and the collagen that supports your facial skin deteriorates. This leads to wrinkles and sagging skin. Smoking, unprotected sun exposure and poor nutrition speed the aging process and damage your body’s ability to make fresh collagen. Excessive alcohol and drug consumption accelerate the decline. Women experience more natural collagen degeneration than men and by age 60, most women can expect to see the signs of the significant decline in their body’s production of this important protein. (Source).
Finding ways to enhance, replace, and rebuild collagen is a focus of many doctors and scientists. This is both because of the medical implications of collagen (to help heal wounds in older people, keep their organs functional and to keep bones from becoming brittle) and to keep age from stealing the beauty and youthfulness from skin. What they have discovered is that there are diets, exercise routines, procedures, and products that can protect and enhance collagen and make you look more beautiful.
Collagen Friendly Diet
Eating foods that support collagen formation, and taking collagen supplements can help you keep this protein in high supply. Seek out:
- Proline: which is found in egg whites, meat, cheese, soy and cabbage
- Anthocyanins: which are found in blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries
- Vitamin C: which is found in citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli and peppers
- Vitamin A: which is found in some animal-derived foods and in plants that contain beta carotene
You should avoid consuming a lot of sugar in your diet if you want to promote collagen. High sugar intake increases glycation, in which the sugar modifies the protein so it cannot function properly.
Exercise for Collagen
Any exercise that encourages your muscles to break down and rebuild and your skin to stretch and need to rebuild will help to promote collagen growth. (Source). Pilates is an excellent choice for both. A side effect of collagen is that the more you build it up the more it helps to build muscle mass and even reduce cellulite. Studies have shown that when collagen is taken as a supplement prior to working out, participants see an increase in muscle strength, fat loss, and a reduction in the dimpled, lumpy appearance of the skin on their bodies. (Source)
Procedures to Increase Collagen
Collagen injections have become a popular treatment for aging skin. It helps to fill out depressions in the skin, making it have a more regular contour. This removes the lines and wrinkles in your face and neck and can help to improve the appearance of scars as well. Collagen fillers are injected into the skin; this is performed as an outpatient treatment and is most safely done by a doctor, as an alternative to botox. (Source).
Collagen Products for Skin Revitalization
Without the invasiveness of having needles insert collagen into your skin, you can apply products that are designed to give you a collagen lift. MDSUN’s for instance, is a potent skin care treatment that delivers obvious results in minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and lines, stimulating skin’s vitality, and improving skin texture and tone. Infused with a high dose of synthetic human stem cells, natural peptides, and cell culture extracts, the luxurious gel-cream soothes redness and irritations, and rejuvenates skin cells for a strong and long-lasting radiant renewal.