Collagen is a really useful protein. When you are young, your skin is firm, plump and elastic. This is because the body is able to produce a steady supply of collagen. Unfortunately, as we age, collagen production falls off a cliff and we end up with fine lines and wrinkles. Exposure to the sun doesn’t help either. The sun damages what little collagen we have left, so it’s all doom and gloom… or it would be if we had no way of boosting our natural collagen levels.
Luckily there are plenty of things we can to do preserve collagen and maintain a youthful looking complexion – and here’s how.
Smoking is terribly bad for us, and not just our skin. It is always easy to spot a smoker by the state of their skin. Smokers typically have saggier complexions and more wrinkles. This is because smoking creates nasty enzymes that damage collagen.
Stay Out of the Sun
Sitting in the sun is great if you need a dose of vitamin D, but it isn’t so hot for your skin. Exposure to the sun damages the skin below the surface and speeds up the amount of collagen we lose through the natural aging process. To prevent this from happening, always wear sun cream on your face when you head outdoors.
Boost Vitamin C
Vitamin C is good for the skin – it is essential for the formation of collagen. The more vitamin C rich foods such as kale, citrus, broccoli and tomatoes you eat, the better.
Give Up Your Sugar Habit
Consuming excessive amounts of sugar leads to a process known as glycation. The excess sugar in your blood attaches to collagen molecules and forms advanced glycation end products, which leads to signs of aging.
Exfoliating the top layer of dead skin cells encourages the body to increase collagen production skin cell renewal. You can use natural exfoliating skin scrubs containing sea salt, sugar, and seeds. These are easy to make at home and very nutritious for the skin. Alternatively, try a chemical exfoliation using glycolic acid and lactic acid. These give an even better result.
As women age, their oestrogen levels drop. This is perfectly natural, but it has the added effect of causing a corresponding drop in collagen levels because oestrogen is essential for collagen production. To boost your levels of oestrogen, go for plant oestrogens, which can be found in soy, pinto beans, nuts and hummus.
Have a Massage
A face massage is relaxing and good for our complexion. Massage boosts collagen production. It also stimulates the lymph glands to remove toxins from our skin. You can give yourself a daily facial massage – use some relaxing warm facial oil containing vitamin E.
What we eat and drink has a major effect on our skin, so boost your collagen levels with a tasty collagen drink from Skinade or drink lots of green tea, which is high in natural antioxidants.
All images from Beauty Exclusive: The Soft Embrace by Ruo Bing Li