Collagen 101

What Is Collagen?

You’ve probably heard of collagen before, and you probably know that it has something to do with your skin. In fact, collagen is a protein that helps keep your skin firm and tight. And, this protein actually makes up one-third of the protein in the human body. So, it’s all over, but it’s most often found in your skin, bones, and connective tissues. Basically, its job is to provide structural support to those parts of your body, as well as add in some elasticity. Here, we’ll focus on how collagen structures your skin and provides firmness to it.

What Is Collagen’s Job In The Skin?

Basically, collagen keeps your skin in the shape that it’s in. Without it, your skin wouldn’t have as much elasticity or give. So, you could pull your skin down and it wouldn’t bounce back. But, thankfully, we all have collagen in our skin to keep us looking normal. It provides this elasticity to help keep skin safe. Because, if you rubbed your skin on something and it had no give, your skin would break a lot more easily. But, it also protects your skin from breaking by giving it elasticity and structure.
Now, you probably hear about this structure most often in relation to aging skin. And, that’s because as we age, our bodies naturally stop producing so much collagen. And, that means you’ll start seeing your skin’s structure change. So, you see things like wrinkles, fine lines, and skin just getting generally thinner. But, one of the main symptoms of decreased collagen is droopy skin. Because, once we start losing collagen, our skin sags and loses its elasticity. And, this decline in synthesis happens around the age of 40, which of course is when you start seeing major signs of aging.

What Breaks Down Collagen?

There are a million different things in our environment that actually cause the collagen in our skin to break down. First, just general wear and tear causes it to break down and skin to become thinner. For example, every time you rub your eye or face, you’re breaking it down. Then, free radicals often wreak havoc on the collagen levels in our skin, too. For example, free radicals from pollution, UV rays, smoke, and even stress can all cause collagen levels to decline in the skin. When that happens, you’ll notice sagging skin that feels thinner.

Can You Increase Collagen?

Thankfully, there is a myriad of ways to improve collagen levels in the skin. As young as age 20, you can start using anti-aging creams with collagen-boosters in them to keep your levels high. In fact, the majority of anti-aging creams contain boosting ingredients like Vitamin A. Then, products with Vitamin C in them also help increase your  levels and maintain them. In fact, recent studies prove that topically applying Vitamin C actually improves those levels better than consuming that vitamin. So, when you apply a cream, you can actually thicken your skin back up.
But, not all collagen sources come from anti-aging products. You can improve collagen levels by eating a healthy and well balanced diet. Though, you may not see as significant of changes as when you use an anti-aging product, your skin will still thank you. For example, you can snack on egg whites, meat, cheese, soy, and cabbage, which all contain Proline. And, Proline is shown to help boost its levels in the body. Then, you can get other sources  from things like oranges, strawberries, and peppers. It really is vital to the body’s functions, and thankfully there’s ways to bring it back when it’s gone.

Todd Ruggets
Todd Ruggets

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