Because collagen gives the skin its strength, durability and smooth, plump appearance, it’s important to protect and promote collagen growth. Taking good care of your skin really means taking care of your collagen…
Collagen makes up 75 % of our skin; the smooth, plump appearance of young, healthy skin is due mainly to the presence of healthy collagen levels whilst collagen degeneration – a sign of cellular dehydration, when cells become damaged and can no longer transport adequate amounts of water and nutrients to the skin – leads to the development of wrinkles and the appearance of aged skin.
The best way to maintain a healthy, youthful looking appearance is to protect the collagen you have and prevent future collagen degradation.
Whilst it’s important to recognise the sun’s ability to heal all kinds of illnesses and bring about radiant health, it’s just as important to remember that over-exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays is the most prolific contributor to premature skin-ageing and can lead to far more than a severe case of sunburn. Keep your UV exposure limited and if you’re planning on staying in the sun for longer than twenty minutes, do yourself a favour and wear a sunscreen.
Regular exfoliation helps stimulate cell renewal by breaking down the bonds between cells of the stratum corneum and sloughing away dead skin – when you buff off all that dead stuff on the surface, you expose the new and radiant skin underneath. Opt for biodegradable, natural exfoliating products made with rice, wax or bamboo extracts (thereby helping to save the planet as well as your skin) and use twice a week – for best results steam the face first or apply a warm flannel to help open the pores, don’t rub too vigorously, let the granules do the work and apply plenty of moisturiser afterwards. Like everything moderation is key – too much exfoliation can cause just as much damage as too little!
Antioxidants fight free radicals from UV light, ozone, pollution, cigarette smoke and internal metabolic processes; they prevent the degradation of existing collagen fibres and protect the healthy function of fibroblast cells (specialized skin cells located in the dermis, which produce other skin structural proteins such as elastin – a protein which gives the skin its ability to snap back – and glucosaminoglycans which help keep the dermis hydrated). Foods packed with antioxidants and which should be regularly featuring in your diet include: bell red peppers, blueberries, avocado, fresh salmon, onions, sweet potatoes and pomegranate.
Because it’s an inevitable part of life, we cannot halt or reverse the ageing process but by taking care of our collagen we can age more gracefully, living longer, healthier and more vibrant lives.