Collagen is a vital protein needed by the body to continue making the skin look healthy and radiant.
We have several great non-invasive and natural ways to boost collagen level, but they are still surrounded by myths. It may interest people to know about the several ways they can boost their collagen before including any kind of collagen treatment to their personal routines.
What is collagen?
Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body. It can be found in numerous tissues of the bones, muscles, blood vessels, tendons as well as the digestive system. But the importance of collagen is usually discussed along the lines of its skin care benefits most often.
What does collagen do for the skin?
The older we get, the lesser the amount of collagen the body produces which leads to the visible common signs of ageing. Stiff joints, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and wrinkles are some of the indicators that the body’s collagen producing level is reducing.
High collagen levels in the body produces smooth, soft and firm skin. The body is able to repair and renew its skin cells with the aid of collagen. Also, collagen helps in keeping the skin moist. It is for this reason that collagen has played and will continue to play a vital role in skin care.
How can we boost collagen
There are several ways to boost the level of collagen in the body. All you need to do is simply adjust your diet, take a supplement or slightly change your daily routine. Applying a collagen cream or serum to your skin can also promote the growth of collagen in your skin.
Hyaluronic acid can be found in foods rich in amino acids like soy, root vegetables and beans and is a vital compound for collagen in the skin. Including hyaluronic acid to your diet can effortlessly help to increase collagen levels in your body. You can also obtain Hyaluronic acid as a supplement.
Vitamin C is a very popular vitamin. It is impossible for the human body to produce vitamin C, so we must resort to our diets to get it. Vitamin C must be included in any healthy diet and can be gotten from foods such as leafy green vegetables and citrus fruits.
According to the research from the Indian Dermatology Online Journal, vitamin C plays a vital role in providing protection for the skin and helps create more collagen in the body. Hence the reason lots of skin care companies add vitamin C to their protective creams.
You can consume Vitamin C as a supplement or you can add it to the skin.
Aloe Vera gel
Most often we use Aloe Vera gel to treat the skin when we have a rash or after a sunburn. However, there’s a recent study posted to Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology which suggests that there are more benefits to be obtained from Aloe Vera. Instead of waiting for the skin to get damaged before treating it with topical Aloe Vera, scientists have made available an Aloe extract called Aloe sterols that can be administered orally.
The results disclosed that participants produced almost double the amount of hyaluronic acid and collagen than it normally would, while wrinkles reduced significantly. It was concluded that Aloe essentially stimulates the growth of the right cells.
Using skin care products that contain Aloe is very beneficial. It can be taken orally as a supplement or used as a topical cream.
Since time immemorial, Ginseng has been immensely used in traditional medicine. A research posted to the Journal of Ginseng Research in 2012 discovered that Ginseng boosts the quantity of collagen in the blood.
In addition, Ginseng has anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. It was also noted by researchers that Ginseng could potentially prevent the ageing of skin cells. It is usually found in the form of supplements, tea, and tinctures.
Antioxidants are substances that help in protecting the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are capable of causing damage to the body. It is not every antioxidant that’s capable of boosting collagen production, but they can assist the collagen present in carrying out its work effectively.
We have several kinds of antioxidants that can safeguard and revitalize the skin in numerous ways. Antioxidants can be found in food and in nature abundantly. In line with the research posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, below are some of the foods and drinks that contain antioxidants:
- Basil, oregano, and thyme essential oils
- Coffee extract
- Green tea (or EGCG, its active component)
- Licorice extract
- Mulberry extract
- Pomegranate extract
- Yerba mate
Retinol is a type of antioxidant commonly used to boost the skin’s collagen level. It basically increases the lifespan of collagen and also prevent some collaging-destroying enzymes, which makes it an ideal addition to several skin care products.
Red light therapy
There are some skin treatments, like laser resurfacing, chemical peels and microdermabrasion which can result in complications. The skin usually needs lots of time to recuperate after these kinds of treatments.
Red light therapy is a fast and safe way to boost the skin’s collagen as stated by a study in “Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery”.
Red light therapy, also referred to as Low-level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT), has been proven to enhance the growth of collagen as well as boost the skin elasticity and wrinkles. It is one of the non-invasive methods of enhancing collagen and it has no side effects. You can get the Red light therapy kits over the counter and the treatment can be done in the comfort of your home.
Protect the skin from the environment
Skin cells continually go through a cycle of creation and destruction. But there are factors like the environment that worsens the situation. Exposure to sun, pollution, harsh weather, and even dust particles are capable of causing damage to the skin.
These damaged cells must be replaced thereby further reducing the collagen levels. The simplest solution is to keep the skin clean. Daily cleaning and scrubbing of the skin can aid in protecting the collagen that’s present in the body.
When you go outside on bright days, protect your skin by wearing an effective sunscreen and protect your face by putting on a hat if possible. Sunglasses can also come in handy on very sunny days to help guard the delicate collagen close to the eyes.
Myths about boosting collagen
That collagen levels can be boosted via direct application on the skin is one of the biggest myths about boosting collagen. Moisturizers, medicated ointments, lotions and body creams which contain collagen have claimed to increase collagen levels.
The fact however remains that collagen molecules are too big to penetrate into the skin’s lower layers and are not of any use really. This simply implies that some of the creams you find in the market claiming to contain collagen might just be a total waste of money.
Another big myth around collagen is that it can be added to our morning cup of coffee, and so can be served as a supplement. According to a study posted to “Drug Design, Development and Therapy”, it has been proven that caffeine actually impacts negatively on the skin’s ageing process. The implication is that adding collagen to a cup of coffee might reduce the harm brought about by the caffeine.
Avoiding caffeine completely may be the best option if you’re very concerned about collagen and skin health.
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★ Platinum Level Expert Author
Chloe Glynne is a skin care consultant with 12 years of personal experience in the industry. She is recognized for her skin care advice in the treatment of skin disorders such as acne and rosacea, unwanted wrinkles, fine lines, puffy eyes, damaged skin, with emphasis on anti-aging.