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Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body until you reach the age of 20 when it starts to deplete daily and more aggressively so if you’re a man. As the main structural component of connective tissue, collagen gives the skin its elasticity. When it breakdowns, the skin loses its firmness and begins to sag. This can be further exacerbated by environmental toxins and the gravitational pull that comes with age. This is why it’s important that you use skin care products that boost collagen. Here are 9 legit ways to maintain and enhance your collage levels:
Peptides are amino acids that play an important role in biological function, including the building and support of proteins of which collagen is one. Together with elastin, collagen works to give the face shape and keep the skin tight. Adding peptides to your skin can actually stimulate the production of more collagen, which will help keep skin smoother, firmer, and younger looking. External peptide supplements can be found in quality moisturizers, cleansers, and age-combating serums like RECHARGE, but you can also increase your intake by eating foods that are known to be rich in peptides. Eggs, milk, soy, oats, wheat, fish, and beans are all excellent ways to add more peptides to your system.
Limiting sugar intake
The aging process is accelerated by sugar in a variety of ways. One of those ways is its effect on collagen. In a natural process called glycation, the sugar in the bloodstream latches onto collagen, producing free radicals that damage the surrounding proteins and diminish the skin's elasticity over time. Too much sugar can also cause pigmentation issues. Added sugars are the most destructive, high-fructose corn syrup being the absolute worst. If you're having a craving for something sweet, stick to fruit and/or foods (and drinks) that contain only natural sugars.
This is a no brainer. Smoking not only causes cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure, it also is a primary factor in premature aging, mainly because it breaks down collagen, causing skin to sag. (Think: stretched-out rubber band.) But it ages your skin in other ways, too. It reduces the oxygen level in your blood, which causes skin to become dry, dull, and yellow. Without enough oxygen, the skin will begin to wrinkle and deteriorate. You may also develop lines around your mouth (the smoker’s pucker) and crow’s feet, both of which will immediately identify you as a smoker, making you look older than you really are.
Adding more vitamin C to your daily regimen
Vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid, is a key player in the production of collagen. It’s essential to cell regeneration and skin repair. In fact, collagen's ability to synthesize is what helps skin retain its firmness, but this process relies greatly on this powerful antioxidant vitamin. And though the body produces hyaluronic acid naturally, vitamin C is crucial to the way it's manufactured and maintained, but much like collagen, hyaluronic acid depletes with age. Both dietary and topical forms of ascorbic acid can be beneficial to the overall health of your skin, and clinical tests have shown that it can even repair skin damaged by the sun. Foods like kale, broccoli, strawberries, and oranges that are rich in vitamin C, as well as moisturizers and cleansers formulated with it, can boost levels of collagen to keep your skin healthy and taut.
The sun is a leading cause of premature aging. Its harmful rays destroy essential oils in the skin, causing it to dry out. Your skin becomes dull, your skin tone uneven and blotchy. This can lead to pigmentation issues and worse, skin cancer. Prolonged sun exposure will eventually break down collagen to the point where it’s not repairable. Being proactive by applying sunscreen even on overcast days will give you the advantage over premature aging, and it’s definitely an advantage you should take.
Getting enough sleep
Something miraculous happens when we sleep. The body makes new collagen. More collagen means plumper, firmer skin, which is less susceptible to wrinkles. But in order for this cell regeneration and collagen growth to happen effectively, the average male needs 7-9 hours of sleep. This is-two to four hours more than they usually get. Lack of sleep not only takes a toll on your health; it also wreaks havoc on your skin. Try adjusting your pattern by sneaking in an extra hour or two of sleep if possible. You’ll be amazed at the results.
Eliminating or minimizing alcohol consumption
Cutting down on booze will do wonders for your skin (and your health in general). As the sugar in alcohol metabolizes, it produces free radicals, which assist in the deterioration of collagen and result in lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin that can no longer hold its shape. Alcohol is also a dehydrant that sucks your skin of moisture and necessary oils leaving it ashy, cracked, and because it widens blood vessels, often red and angry looking. If you’re not interested in cutting it out completely, at least limit your alcohol intake. Your skin will thank you in the long (battle-against-aging) run.
Since water makes up a great deal of collagen, it makes sense that you need to stay well-hydrated in order for it to do its job of supporting the skin. This is why it’s necessary to drink plenty of water (there is even collagen-infused bottled water available now), and use skincare products that are formulated with humectants that attract and bind moisture to cells and tissue.
Just because the election is over and a COVID vaccine is in the works doesn’t mean your life is going to be stress free going forward. Studies show that stress is a contributing factor to premature aging. One of the reasons for this is because during stressful times, blood is diverted away from the skin, and the production of collagen is slowed. This means your skin will lose elasticity and start to form lines and wrinkles. Also, stress activates the hormone cortisol, which increases sugars, and you already know from reading above what this does to collagen. People find stress relief in many ways, but exercising and mediation are two of the most popular. Painting, hiking, and reading are some of the other ways people decompress. So all you have to do is find a de-stressing method that works for you and work on lowering the stress in your life, which may be challenging with the holidays just around the corner. But you can do it.