How to Naturally Preserve and Boost Collagen
Collagen is a protein that maintains skin elasticity and smoothness, it's the most plentiful and naturally occurring protein present in the body - providing volume that keeps skin looking plump and keeps lines at bay. It’s also rich in in the amino acids proline and glycine, which you need to maintain and repair your tendons, bones, and joints. Unfortunately, as we age, our body produces less of this key component and we break it down faster than we can replace it. We begin to lose about 1% of our collagen per year in our mid-20s and lose as much as 30% during the first 5 years of menopause. Yikes!
What you can do about fading collagen
For collagen on the surface (i.e. your skin) you've most likely seen collagen as a key ingredient touted in skincare productslike creams and serums, but the fact is these are usually all talk and no action. In fact, while Collagen and elastin in skincare products can serve as good water-binding agents, they cannot fuse with your skin's natural supply of these supportive elements and in most cases, the collagen molecule is too large to penetrate into the skin for any real collagen inducing benefit.
That is not to say all skincare products that are deemed to support a firmer, smoother complexion should be dismissed. Instead look for skincare products with ingredients that stimulate collagen production, such as retinol, vitamin C, and glycolic acid, rather than collagen as an ingredient itself.
Supporting collagen with supplements
But what about collagen supplements? From powders to pills, there are numerous collagen-boosting supplements available on the market today that promise to tighten loose skin. However, not all supplements are created equal. Knowing the differences among collagen types will allow you to choose the best supplement for sagging skin.
New York dermatologist Whitney Bowe, author of The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out, says "in the last few years, there have been some impressive studies showing that ingestible collagen can indeed impact the appearance of skin.” One 2014 study of 69 women ages 35 to 55 found that those who took 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen daily for 8 weeks showed a lot of improvement in skin elasticity, compared with those who didn’t take it. And a 2019 review of eight studies including 805 patients concluded that “preliminary results are promising for the short and long-term use of oral collagen supplements for wound healing and skin ageing.”
You can consume collagen in one of the following ways:
Collagen powder: broken down into amino acids (collagen peptides) for easier absorption by the body. You can add collagen powder to your drinks or recipes.
- Collagen pills: Hydrolyzed collagen that is encapsulated in a tablet or gel capsule, supplements will often contain a more potent targeted formula is to be taken as a tablet or gel capsule that contains collagen powder.
- Gummy collagen: These chewable supplements are almost like candy and unfortunately often contain copious amounts of artificial flavourings, colours and sweeteners that may do more harm than good.
- Liquid collagen: This is a pre-mixed drink that already contains hydrolyzed collagen but similar to that of the gummies, these can often contain several artificial ingredients that dampen the benefits of the collagen.
OUR PICK FOR COLLAGEN BOOSTING
A daily booster to promote collagen synthesis and cultivate a firmer, plumper and more resilient complexion from the inside out. Infused with skin-loving ingredients that include flavonoids and OPCs, which help alleviate oxidative stress, inflammation and tissue damage.
Support healthy skin, hair & nails, wound healing and connective tissue formation with Collagen type 1, 2 & 3 in the form of gelatin (a natural animal by-product that would otherwise become waste), Grape Seed Extract (free radical fighting OPCs), Biotin & Colloidal Anhydrous Silica, with the addition of Vitamin C which acts as a coenzyme to allow for greater bioavailability of the ingredients.
Shop our Collagen Compression here.
P.S. In a previous blog post we took an in-depth look at the different types of collagen your body requires and the pros and cons of taking collagen supplements (Read all about it here). Today we're focusing on how to support your supplementation with other ways you can promote collagen synthesis for a healthier, firmer complexion.
The Natural Way To Preserve & Boost Collagen
Taking a daily dietary supplement is not the only way you can boost collagen production. These are the best ways you can naturally promote collagen synthesis while preserving what you already have.
1. Mind Your Diet
What you eat can have an effect on your body's ability to form collagen. Foods high in sugar, for instance, can result in glycation, which inhibits collagen production — leading to sagging skin and other health problems.
Meanwhile, add more collagen-boosting nutrients to your diet, such as:
- Vitamin C: A key player in collagen synthesis, you can find this antioxidant in oranges, kiwis, and berries.
- Gelatin: Contains essential amino acids (glycine, proline and hydroxyproline) that are the building blocks of the collagen protein. Gelatin is basically cooked collagen. It’s made when you heat collagen slowly for a long period of time. Both gelatin and collagen powder are derived from collagen, the tough structural protein found in concentrated amounts in the connective tissues of mammals and the skin of fish.
- Sulfur: This trace mineral is essential in collagen production and is found in asparagus, broccoli, soybeans, and eggs.
- Zinc: Another mineral that's required for collagen synthesis, you can find it in oysters, lobster, and chickpeas.
- Lycopene: An antioxidant that protects the skin while boosting collagen, it's found in tomatoes, red peppers, and beets.
You might be wondering about bone broth, which is touted as a rich source of collagen and other essential nutrients. Some say it will make your skin smooth, alleviate your joint pain, help you lose weight, or boost your immune system, and although such claims have not been verified scientifically, the high-protein connective tissues found in animal bones provide a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.
Bones themselves are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous and brewing connective tissue into bone broth provides the body with natural compounds from the cartilage.
Tissues and bones also contain collagen. Cooking collagen turns it to gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins. In addition, bone marrow is rich in nutrients such as:
- vitamins A and K
- fatty acids
Consuming bone broth may provide trace amounts of these nutrients, and many claim that consuming it is an easy way to take in these nutrients in a form that is easier to digest. Adding other ingredients, such as vegetables, to the broth may also add additional nutrients.
2. Protect Yourself From the Sun
UV rays can accelerate the ageing process by damaging existing collagen and promoting the growth of abnormal elastin fibers, leading to wrinkled, sagging skin. Reduce your risk of sun damage by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV lenses.
Also, limit your sun exposure as much as you can. Try not to go outside during peak sunlight hours unless it's absolutely necessary.
3. Massage Your Skin
A 2018 study from the Tokyo Institute of Technology discovered that 10 minutes of facial massage with a roller can increase blood flow and widen blood vessels, creating an optimal environment in which collagen can be formed. Not to mention, regular facial massage with an oscillating device and a firming cream can also aid in skin tightening.
4. Don't Smoke
A 2007 study from the Journal of Dermatological Medicine says that "tobacco smoke extract impairs the production of collagen" and also degrades existing collagen and elastin fibers. The result is fine lines and wrinkles, especially around your lips ("smoker's lips"). If you currently smoke or vape, work with your doctor to create an effective plan for quitting, and ask your loved ones to hold you accountable.
The Best Way to Utilise Collagen for Firm, Healthy Skin
Supplements are an easy way to increase your collagen intake. However, more research is needed to determine how effective animal-based collagen is on the human body. Also, consider that your body may distribute the collagen in other areas of your body and not your skin — which isn't necessarily a setback as your bones, tissues, and organs will reap the health benefits. But if your primary goal is to improve your skin, it may not yield the results you seek.
The best collagen supplements for firming sagging skin don't contain collagen alone — they also work to promote collagen synthesis. If you're keen on using a daily supplement, look for one that includes collagen boosters such as vitamin C and biotin - check out our Collagen Compression. This way, you'll not only be adding outside collagen that may (or may not) smooth your skin, but also stimulating your body's natural collagen production system.
However, supplements aren't the only way you can increase collagen levels. A diet rich in collagen-boosting foods will not only be beneficial for your complexion but your overall health and well-being. Meanwhile, regular skin massage can tighten loose skin while increasing blood flow, making it easier for your body to form more collagen.
Following good habits such as reduced sun exposure and not smoking cigarettes will allow you to preserve existing collagen and slow the signs of ageing. These lifestyle choices can work in harmony with curating an effective anti-ageing skincare routine.