Collagen has been a buzzword in the beauty industry for a while now. Every new product in the market promises that it will boost or build your skin’s collagen to keep it plump and youthful.
What is collagen? Well, simply put, it is a protein that is the foundation of connective tissue that supports skin’s structure. Collagen is within the dermis -- below the outermost layer of skin — and it is essential for keeping your skin healthy and supple.
As the body ages, it produces less collagen, which makes it thinner and more likely to develop sagginess and wrinkles. After the age of 20, your body produces 1 per cent less collagen each year — and the process goes even faster after the age of 35. Other than natural aging, collagen is also depleted by factors such as exposure to harmful sun rays, poor diet, smoking, free radicals and lack of proper skin care.
But the good news is that you can boost your body’s collagen production and keep your skin looking naturally plump and wrinkle-free for as long as possible.
1. Facial massage
If you needed an excuse for a spa date, this is it. Getting regular facial massage can stimulate blood supply to your skin, which in turn stimulates collagen production. As a bonus, it also tones your facial muscles, keeping your skin looking firm and young. Too broke for a spa date? You can practise facial massage at home. To make it a daily habit, give yourself a mini-massage every morning when applying your usual moisturiser.
Tip: Concentrate on key areas such as cheeks, jawline and around the eyes for best results.
2. Collagen creams
Topical collagen creams are all the rage in beauty circles. However, dermatologists express doubt about their effectiveness in boosting collagen production. The collagen molecule can’t penetrate the skin, which means that the cream will just sit on your skin with little effect on your collagen levels.
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Tip: You will have more success if you go for products with collagen amino acids. In such products, the molecules are small enough to penetrate skin and stimulate collagen production.
3. Eat your collagen
One of the most effective ways to boost your body’s collagen production naturally is through your diet. Include fish, red vegetables, dark green vegetables, beans, orange vegetables, berries, soy and citrus fruits in your diet. These foods are known for different properties which contribute to building healthy cells, banishing free radicals and repairing damaged cells.
4. Quit smoking
One of the greatest enemies of collagen is smoking. Chemicals in tobacco eat away at proteins and reduce oxygen supply to various body cells — including skin cells. The aging effects of smoking are especially obvious around the eyes and mouth. If you are a smoker, simply quitting this poisonous habit will significantly improve your collagen production. If you don’t smoke, keep it that way and avoid second hand cigarette smoke as much as possible.
5. Cut the sugar
Do you have a sweet tooth? Sugar consumption can wreak havoc on your skin and make it age prematurely. How? Glucose molecules can permanently attach to collagen. When collagen is weighed down by glucose, it becomes rigid, inflexible, and starts breaking down. This results in the dreaded wrinkles, dryness, and dullness. It can also lead to acne breakouts and rashes, which further contribute to premature aging. Cut back on refined sugar and give your collagen a break.
6. Try collagen supplements
Just like with collagen creams, experts have expressed doubts on the effectiveness of most collagen supplements in the market. They say that the supplements are not well-absorbed in the body and some might even be harmful. However, studies have found supplements made with fish peptide collagen as a viable option to build collagen and prevent premature aging.