Your skin says a lot about you. After all, it’s the first thing people see when they meet you. Whether your skin is smooth and youthful looking or shows signs of aging, the way your skin appears on the surface tells a story about the collagen underneath.
Collagen’s functions go well beyond maintaining skin tone. It makes up the bulk of all connective tissue, accounting for approximately one-third of the body’s total protein content.
Strong collagen explains why a baby’s skin is firm, supple and silky. By the time a person reaches the age of 35, collagen has reached its peak. A good indicator of strong collagen is when the contour of your face is still defined and has goodelasticity, meaning it bounces back when you pinch it.
As one ages, collagen is lost through a steady, natural decline in collagen production and repair which weakens the skin’s structure and results in lines and wrinkles.
Neglecting to care for your collagen can leave you looking older than your years. Experts say everything you take into your body reaches the skin cells that produce collagen. Exposing yourself to harmful elements that can damage your skin’s collagen can inhibit the upper and lower skin levels from properly connecting with each other...leaving you with sagging, wrinkly skin.
Keeping Skin—and Collagen—Healthy
So how do you maintain strong collagen and healthy-looking skin?
Limiting ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds is a good start, since these rays are collagen’s worst enemy. But that doesn’t mean you have to avoid the sun all together: Some UV exposure is good for you, as it helps your body make vitamin D. After 15 minutes or so in the sun, apply a good full-spectrum sunscreen and reapply as needed. (Skip the tanning beds entirely.)
Exposure to herbicides, chlorine and other chemicals, as well as smoking or breathing in smog, can also wreak havoc on your skin’s collagen. Don’t smoke yourself and avoid secondhand smoke, and avoid exposure to harsh chemicals and smog as best you can.
Practice consistent stress relief. Stress, like UV or chemical exposure, is hard on the skin.
Do you like your sweets? Unfortunately, your sweet tooth may be doing more harm to your skin’s collagen than you realize. Too much glucose in the blood can react with collagen molecules, damaging them. This process, calledglycation, results in drier, more brittle collagen.†
To keep your skin healthy, maintain a healthful, balanced diet that’s rich in fresh produce and healthy sources of protein, such as fatty fish like salmon and herring. Look for fish that has been wild caught as well as organically raised land-based protein sources, such as chicken, eggs and beef.
The next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself, “What have I done today to protect my collagen?” You can help your body do its job best when you nurture your skin health from within.
†The information provided is not an endorsement of any product, and is intended for educational purposes only. NaturesPlus does not provide medical advice and does not offer diagnosis of any conditions. Current research on this topic is not conclusive and further research may be needed in order to prove the benefits described.
The conditions and symptoms described may be indicative of serious health problems, and therefore should be brought to the attention of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.