Did you know that collagen is the most abundant and strongest protein in our body?
Collagen makes up about 75% of the weight of your skin and around 30% of your total body protein mass. It is composed of the cross-linking and winding together of amino acids that form collagen fibers that provide strength to the skin and hold it together.
How It Works
In the dermis, or the middle layer of skin, collagen helps form a fibrous network of cells called fibroblasts, upon which new cells can grow. It plays an important role in replacing and restoring dead skin cells, too. With healthy levels of collagen, our cells retain a strong and youthful appearance. Collagen also keeps the skin moist.
A human body has at least 16 primary variations of collagen: in the connective tissue, tendons, cartilage, ligaments, teeth, bones, the valves of the heart, and even the cornea of your eyes!
When you are young, your skin contains plenty of collagen, but as you mature, the supply gradually uses up – and this is the reason why your skin begins to appear thinner and more wrinkled.
Wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints are all signs that the body is producing less collagen.
Collagen is resorbable - which means it can be broken down, converted, and absorbed back into the body. However, research demonstrates that simply applying collagen topically does not help in maintaining youthful-looking skin.
Collagen is made of large protein molecules, which are not able to penetrate the skin, making it even more difficult to reach for its deeper layers.
The good news is, we all have that amazing ability in our body: the more collagen we have, the more the body is able to generate and preserve.
If you feel ready to take on the effects of time and naturally boost your skin's collagen production, read on to learn some natural ways to help your body maintain and boost it.
#1 Take vitamin C
It is one of the most well-known vitamins. Research from the Indian Dermatology Online Journal suggests that vitamin C plays a significant role in protecting the skin and building more collagen in the body.
Without this vitamin, our body cannot convert lysine and proline that it gets from food into the amino acids that form collagen.
Vitamin C is known to be a heavyweight antioxidant. It also protects your skin from pollutants and UV rays that work to break down collagen.
Since human body cannot make vitamin C, it is very important to get it with the food in our diet. You can take it as a supplement, or find its sources in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, papaya, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and red and green peppers.
#2 Massage your skin
Massaging your skin increases blood circulation to the area, which stimulates collagen production and strengthens muscle memory (hello contours!). Facial muscles are essential to the way we look.
With regular stimulation, they can lift, tone and tighten the skin, boost blood circulation and collagen production, giving a fresh youthful appearance to your skin.
Build upwards massage movement into your daily routine when applying products – ones that boost collagen. On clean face, take one teaspoon of cream or oil and massage it on your skin with your fingers in fast, circular motions for 15 to 30 minutes. (You may notice your face being a little tingly afterwards – this is completely normal.) For maximum effect, do this 2 times a day.
You can start with a few minutes and work up to longer, as your hands may easily tire. If this happens, try to do it with an inexpensive face massager instead.
#3 Apply light therapy
Not only does the red light help reduce inflammation and prevent breakouts, but according to a study in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, red light therapy is a quick and safe way to increase collagen in the skin. The red light aids in building collagen and lessening the appearance of skin imperfections.
That is why you can use light therapy at home to help reduce and prevent wrinkles. Red light therapy kits are available over the counter, so you can do the treatment at home easily.
Although a youthful appearance is highly valued, we all know that beauty is not just skin deep. Still, healthy skin is a good indicator of how the rest of your body is feeling.
Unfortunately, there is no way to reverse the signs of aging completely. It is much easier to protect your skin while it is healthy than to attempt to repair it later in life. Boosting collagen naturally improves not only our appearance, but the rest of our health.