In this series, we’ll be talking about collagen and my favorite collagen supplements.
But before we get into it, we want to talk a little bit more about you. See, one of the first things that happens when collagen loss starts is that your skin loses its elasticity.
In other words, your skin just isn’t as springy anymore. It’s not as flexible as it used to be, and that shows up on your face—which is why you’re here. You’ve noticed your skin losing some of its luster and plumpness, so you’re starting to ask questions like “Why is my skin aging so fast?” And that’s a great question!
Why Is My Skin Aging so Fast?
Collagen loss is the reason why your skin ages so fast. In fact, it’s the main reason why you get wrinkles, fine lines, and loose skin. And yes, this issue is the same for all of us—even if you’re still a teenager.
Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. There are a lot of things happening inside your body that are causing your skin to age faster than it should.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein that develops naturally within the body. It is the building block of your skin and gives it structure, shape, and elasticity. The more collagen you have in your skin, the stronger, firmer, and plumper it is. However, as you age, your body produces less collagen, meaning it cannot replace what’s lost as quickly. This results in thinning skin and wrinkles. The most common areas for wrinkles to form are around the eyes and mouth.
Collagen helps create smoother skin by reducing fine lines and wrinkles. The reason your skin starts to look saggy or thin as you age is because of a decrease in collagen production over time.
Our bodies naturally produce collagen every day, but as we age, our ability to make it decreases. Collagen production slows down by about 1% each year after the age of 20. This means that at 25 years old, you’re already making about 20% less collagen than you did when you were 5 years old!
As you age, your body will produce less collagen until it stops producing it altogether. This means that the amount of collagen in your body will diminish until there is none left at all!
Signs You Are Losing Collagen
If you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms then chances are good that you’re losing collagen:
- As we age, our bodies produce less collagen. The skin on our face is particularly susceptible to the effects of a reduction in collagen levels since it is constantly exposed to the outside environment. As a result, the first areas where you may notice a drop in your body’s collagen levels are your face, especially around the eyes, mouth, and forehead.
- The skin around your cheeks and eyes will begin to sag more and you’ll notice that your lips are no longer full and voluptuous. The lack of collagen also changes how light reflects off your skin, so your skin may appear dull or discolored.
- Joint pain is another common sign that the collagen in your body is breaking down faster than it’s being replenished. Collagen makes up 70 percent of our joints, so without it, joint pain is inevitable. In addition to joint pain, you may experience increased inflammation in other areas of the body as well.
- Collagen supports hair growth as well as its strength and elasticity. So if you notice that your hair is breaking or splitting and is generally weak, then you may have low levels of collagen in your body. Collagen can help stimulate stem cells that generate new hair growth while strengthening existing hair follicles to prevent breakage or thinning over time.
- When you don’t have enough collagen, your teeth can become weak and brittle. You might also start to experience tooth decay because the enamel on your teeth has been weakened by lack of this vital protein.
- Another early sign of a collagen deficiency is sagging skin on your neck and jawline. Your skin starts getting thinner, which means there isn’t as much structure to support its weight on the frame of your face and neck. When this happens, gravity pulls on it more easily, making it sag as if someone had loosened up your tightrope overnight while you were sleeping!
What Can Decrease Collagen?
Let’s start with the most obvious:
- UV exposure and sun damage. We know already that when we’re exposed to sunlight our skin begins to produce melanin. Melanin helps keep our skin from burning so that we won’t get sunburnt. But it also leads to excess pigmentation and dark spots over time. This can make us look older than we really are!
- The next culprit may be surprising: Age! Yes, as we age our bodies naturally produce less collagen. It starts around age 25 for most people (yup… you read that right… 25).
- Smoking: Cigarette smoke decreases blood flow and damages elastic fibers in your skin. This can cause premature aging and wrinkles. Obviously this is yet another reason to kick the habit—but if you’re not ready to give up smoking for good, at least consider doing it outside so you don’t expose others to secondhand smoke.
- Stress decreases collagen levels by impacting blood flow to tissues. Stress can cause blood vessels to become inflamed and then constricted. This causes blood vessels in your skin—which contain vital nutrients required for healthy skin—to constrict and therefore decrease the amount of nutrients reaching your skin. This can lead to an increase in wrinkles as well as dryness with an uneven complexion.
- Genetics play a role in determining how much collagen we have throughout our lives. If you don’t have many wrinkles but suspect your parents have them, you may be genetically predisposed to higher collagen levels than others. Don’t be jealous of your friends who look younger than their age—embrace your natural beauty!
Aging is inevitable, and most of us aren’t going to quit smoking or stop being stressed. That leaves you with two options: preventing collagen loss by reducing your exposure to UV light and increasing collagen production with a supplement. It’s important to remember that we are not helpless against the effects of aging! By taking care of ourselves now, we can reduce the effects of aging in the future.
Can You Rebuild Collagen in Your Skin?
Yes! While it’s true that when we age, our bodies produce less collagen, there are actually natural products that can restore the collagen levels in your skin.
You can increase your intake of foods that help boost collagen production or take supplements made from animal parts like fish scales or gelatin. You can also try applying topical products such as coconut oil or vitamin E directly onto skin for an extra boost.
But how does it work? Well, collagen is made up of amino acids including glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. These amino acids are very important for building strong bones and muscles, but they’re also good at regenerating cells in the body that have been damaged by UV radiation or environmental toxins like cigarette smoke or pollution.
The good news is there are plenty of products out there that can help with this. You can find serums, scrubs, masks, and other products designed to infuse your skin with collagen-rich ingredients like vitamin C.
But if you’re looking for a more natural approach, there are some lifestyle changes you can make that will benefit your skin as well: get more sleep (at least 7 hours per night), drink plenty of water (8 glasses per day), wear sunscreen every day (even in winter), limit alcohol consumption (4 or fewer drinks per week), avoid cigarette smoke (or quit!), exercise regularly (at least 20 minutes per day), and eat healthy foods.
Does Vitamin C Help with Collagen?
Yes! In addition to taking collagen supplements, you can improve your body’s production of this important protein by making sure you’re getting enough vitamin C!
We can get more vitamin C from foods like broccoli, strawberries, papaya, leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), and citrus fruits (oranges, limes, grapefruits). These are some of the best sources of vitamin C out there.
Does Aloe Vera Help Collagen Production?
Yes, aloe vera can help collagen production. It does this by increasing the amount of hyaluronic acid in the skin, which helps to increase collagen production and keep the skin hydrated and healthy.
Aloe vera is a natural moisturizer with anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good choice for both oily and dry skin that has acne or psoriasis. The antioxidants in aloe vera help to neutralize free radicals that can damage the skin, keeping it looking young and healthy.
Does Coconut Oil Rebuild Collagen?
Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, which have been shown to be beneficial for skin health. However, it does not actually rebuild collagen.
In fact, only a few things can rebuild collagen: retinoids, hydroxy acids, and vitamin C. Other than those three things, topical products can only help maintain the collagen you already have.
It’s also important not to confuse moisturization with rebuilding or maintaining collagen; when your skin is dehydrated due to lack of water intake or excessive exposure to drying environments (such as warm air), it can lead to the appearance of wrinkles. The skin may appear smoother after applying a moisturizer and drinking more water, but the wrinkles aren’t really going away.
What Foods Are High in Collagen?
Before you rush out to buy a supplement (or several) at the drugstore, remember that food is medicine—and we’ve got some suggestions for foods that are high in collagen.
Maybe you’re skeptical—we get it! But here are some of our top picks:
One easy way to get more collagen into your diet is to eat fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring or cod liver oil. You’ll also find lots of beneficial collagen in the seeds of chia plants or flaxseeds, as well as in walnuts or liver.
Or maybe you prefer sweet?
Bell peppers and tropical fruits like mangoes and kiwis are also high in collagen. Same goes for berries like blueberries or raspberries (but let’s be honest—that’s a win-win situation because who doesn’t like berries?