As we get older, we naturally begin to lose some of the elasticity in our skin – this is a prominent part of the aging process, and is one of the aspects of aging that leads to a more noticeable difference in our appearance.
This first begins to happen around the age of 25, when our body starts to produce less collagen, the protein responsible for the plump and youthful look that many of us would like to maintain for as long as we can – in fact, once we hit this age, we also begin to lose around 1% of our body’s naturally produced collagen every year!
The decrease in collagen production within our bodies is why many of us start to notice sagging skin and wrinkles as we reach our early-to-late thirties, as collagen is partly responsible for the elasticity of our skin overall, and our bodies lose the ability to naturally produce collagen as quickly as we are losing it.
Luckily, there are a few different methods that you can try out for yourself to slow the decrease in collagen in your skin, and also to encourage collagen production even more.
What destroys the collagen In my skin?
There are a few different things that can harm the collagen that your body is producing and decrease collagen production overall, so it’s good to know these first and attempt to cut them out of your life if you can.
Caffeine has been proven to have a negative effect on the production of collagen when consumed regularly. In a 2014 study, it was found that exposure to coffee reduces the production of new collagen cells within the body, meaning that there may be an acceleration in the aging process for those who are known to consume one or more cups of coffee each day or often consume high-caffeine energy drinks.
Less surprisingly, cigarettes also have a highly detrimental effect on the production of collagen in the body. Of course, cigarettes are harmful in many ways, but the effect on the skin comes from the fact that many of the 4,000+ chemicals in tobacco smoke are known to actively trigger the destruction of collagen, as well as other proteins which allow you to keep a more youthful look, such as elastin.
Put simply, smoking can accelerate the aging process overall, and leave you with sagging skin and wrinkles long before you would usually expect to see them.
Unfortunately for any summer-fans, exposure to the sun is one of the most harmful things in the destruction of our body’s natural collagen. This is due to the fact that the UV in the sun dries and damages our skin, reducing overall elasticity. To reduce the negative effects of the sun on your skin, you should always use a high-quality sunscreen, ideally 15-30 SPF. Don’t forget, sunscreen decreases your chances of getting skin cancer, too! It’s a must before hitting the beach.
Can I Naturally Rebuild Collagen?
Of course, we are all used to seeing photographs of A-list celebrities who have had collagen injected directly into the skin, but are there any methods which are just as effective for those who would like to take a more natural route?
Surprisingly, a change in your diet can have a positive effect on the production of collagen within the body. Many foods are rich in the vitamins which promote the production of collagen, so adding a few of them to your daily diet may lead to a noticeable difference in the look of your skin!
One of the most popular foods for improving collagen production is bone broth, the broth made by simmering animal bones in water. This may sound like an unconventional and perhaps off-putting addition to your mealtimes, but thousands of people have found that the benefits of bone broth are both plentiful and noticeable.
It’s believed that a high-quality bone broth could contain not just collagen, but also calcium, magnesium, amino acids, glucosamine, phosphorus and countless other nutrients which can be incredibly good for you. We’d just recommend being sure to season it properly so it tastes a little better, too!
The presence of vitamin C is highly important in improving the production of collagen, so try to consume more fruits high in vitamin C every day. Of course, citrus fruits are always the ones we first think of – oranges, grapefruits, lemons, etc. – but did you know that many other fruits are high in vitamin C, too? Many berries and tropical fruits are also beneficial when looking to increase collagen production, with strawberries actually providing more vitamin C than oranges, ounce-for-ounce.
That said, if you are looking for a quick way to boost collagen production through fruit, start adding lemons to your water! Adding lemon slices to 6-8 glasses of water per day will not just boost the production of collagen, but will also aid digestion and reduce bloating, so it’s a quick and simple way to reap many positive effects.
There are also non-dietary methods you can look into for improving the production of collagen. Many firming lotions and moisturizers contain ingredients which work to smooth and tighten the skin, including those produced by Vaseline, which contain both collagen and elastin. Users have praised such products online writing, that they noticed a difference in the feel and appearance of their skin after continued daily use – so it’s certainly worth adding a product like this to your daily shower or bathing routine!
What Vitamins Help Collagen Production?
The three most beneficial vitamins in the production of collagen are vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin B3, which are also collectively beneficial to hair, eyes and digestion. Experts do recommend opting for increasing your intake of these vitamins through food consumption, as many over-the-counter vitamins are widely unregulated and may do more harm than good.
However, if you can’t work them into your diet, but are willing to put in the research to find safe, beneficial, tried-and-tested supplements, then these may still be effective in increasing the production of collagen in the body.
Can Collagen Pills Tighten Skin?
A step further in the more celebrity-approved direction, collagen supplements claim that they can build up and maintain collagen, leaving you with plump, dewy skin, pain-free bones and joints and strong, healthy nails. However, do they really work as well as they claim to? And are they safe?
Studies have shown that they consumption of collagen pills may help to increase the production of the protein in the body, among having numerous other positive effects. However, these studies were conducted over a number of months, with participants taking the product continuously over that time to see results, and many were also conducted by the companies who manufacture the supplements in the first place, so there could be some bias in the way that the results are reported.
However, dermatologists have showed some belief in reports that collagen supplements do lead to visible results, though these are small and take months of consumption to achieve.
With all this in mind, it seems that it may be better to go down the route of introducing more collagen-rich foods into your daily diet and perhaps taking vitamins C, B3 and E before investing in collagen-only supplements, as these are still largely untested by objective groups.
Can I Eat Collagen?
In the past few years, there has been a sharp rise in the amount of food and drink products on the market with added collagen in their formulas.
Protein bars, coffee and even alcohol have all been developed to include a higher amount of collagen, added during the manufacture of the products. However, experts don’t believe that edible collagen really lives up to the hype that it has developed for itself.
“People that eat protein-rich foods probably do not need to add additional collagen,” leading New York dermatologist Dr. Jennifer MacGregor told The Huffington Post, “as there is no quality evidence that this will stimulate them to maintain or guarantee more new collagen synthesis in the body.”
So, once again, it looks as though the best route to take is consuming foods which are naturally high in the vitamins needed to maintain and increase collagen production.
Should I Consume Collagen In The Morning Or At Night?
Some claim that consuming collagen supplements or collagen-rich foods is best done at night, so that there is ample time for the body to feel the effects and begin producing collagen. However, there is actually little evidence to suggest that this has any effect whatsoever.
It seems that the time you consume collagen-rich products will neither increase or decrease the speed or amount at which they work, so you are free to take them whenever you like.
This will be good news to anyone looking to add collagen to their diet through multiple avenues, as you can consume lemon water during the day, have a protein-rich dinner and maybe still use a collagen supplement in the evening if you deem it necessary – right after you use your collagen lotion post-shower!