Collagen is an important protein, which the body needs to keep the skin looking young and healthy.
There are some great natural and non-invasive ways to boost collagen, but there are also several myths surrounding it. People may want to find out about the many options to boost their collagen before adding any sort of collagen treatment to their personal routines.
Collagen is the most common and abundant form of protein in the body.
It is found in many tissues of the muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels, and the digestive system.
However, when people talk about the importance of collagen, they are generally referring to its benefits for the skin.
What does collagen do for the skin?
As a person ages, their body produces less collagen. This lack of collagen results in the common signs of aging. Wrinkles, sagging skin that has lost its elasticity, and stiff joints are all signs that the body is producing less collagen.
When collagen levels are high, the skin is soft, smooth, and firm. Collagen helps the skin cells renew and repair themselves. Collagen also helps keep the skin moist. This is why collagen has been seen as a very important ingredient for skin care over the years.
There are many ways to boost collagen levels. A person can simply add a different food to their diet, take a supplement, or add a new practice to their daily routine.
1) Hyaluronic acid
Hyaluronic acid is an important compound for collagen in the skin. It is found in foods rich in amino acids, such as beans, root vegetables, and soy. Adding hyaluronic acid to the diet through food can easily help to boost collagen levels. Hyaluronic acid is also available as a supplement.
2) Vitamin C
Vitamin C is one of the best-known vitamins. The human body cannot make vitamin C, so it is very important to get it from the diet.
Research from the Indian Dermatology Online Journal suggests that vitamin C also plays an important role in protecting the skin and creating more collagen in the body.
Many skin care companies add vitamin C to their protective creams for good reason.
Vitamin C can be taken as a supplement or added to the skin, and is found in many foods. Citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, papaya, strawberries, and broccoli are all rich in vitamin C.
3) Aloe vera gel
People often use aloe vera gel to treat the skin after sunburn, or to ease a rash. But new research posted to Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigational Dermatology suggests that aloe vera may have more benefits. Rather than waiting for skin damage to appear and treating it with topical aloe vera, researchers gave people an extract of aloe called Aloe sterols to take orally.
The results showed that the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen almost doubled in the participants. There was also a significant reduction in facial wrinkles. It appears that aloe actually stimulates the correct cells to grow.
People may find it very beneficial to use skin care products that contain aloe. It can be used as a topical cream or taken as an oral supplement.
Ginseng also has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Researchers also noted that ginseng might have the potential to stop skin cells from aging. Ginseng is often found in the form of tea, tinctures, and supplements.
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that can damage the body. Not all antioxidants will boost collagen production, but they will help the collagen that is present to do the best job it can.
There are many different types of antioxidants that can protect and rejuvenate the skin in various ways. Antioxidants can be found abundantly in nature and in food. According to research posted to Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, foods and drinks that contain antioxidants include:
- green tea (or EGCG, its active component)
- yerba mate
- licorice extract
- mulberry extract
- pomegranate extract
- coffee extract
- basil, oregano, and thyme essential oils
Retinol is another type of antioxidant that is commonly used to boost collagen levels in the skin. It helps to increase the lifespan of collagen, as well as block certain enzymes that destroy collagen, making it a perfect addition to many skin care kits.
7) Red light therapy
Some skin treatments, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing can lead to complications. After these treatments, the skin needs a lot of time to recover.
According to a study in Seminars in Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery, red light therapy is a quick and safe way to increase collagen in the skin.
Red light therapy, or low-level laser light therapy (LLLT), has been shown to increase collagen growth and improve wrinkles and skin elasticity. Red light therapy is a non-invasive method of boosting collagen that has no side effects. Red light therapy kits are available over the counter, and people can do the treatment at home.
8) Protect the skin from the environment
Skin cells are always in a cycle of being created and destroyed. However, there are some factors, such as the environment, that make matters worse. Harsh weather, pollution, sun exposure, and even dust particles can damage the skin.
The damaged cells have to be replaced, which reduces collagen levels even more. An easy solution to this is to simply keep the skin clean. Washing and exfoliating daily can help to protect the collagen already in the skin.
On sunny days, people should always wear a good sunscreen. They should also protect their face with a hat whenever possible. On very bright days, sunglasses can help protect the delicate collagen around the eyes as well.
One of the biggest myths about boosting collagen levels is that you can apply it directly to the skin. For many years, body creams, lotions, medicated ointments, and moisturizers containing collagen have claimed to boost collagen levels.
However, in truth, collagen molecules are too big to cross into the lower layers of the skin and are of no real use. This means that some of the creams on the market that contain collagen may be a waste of money.
Another myth surrounding collagen is the practice of adding collagen to a morning cup of coffee, so it serves as a supplement. Research posted to Drug Design, Development, and Therapy has found that caffeine actually has a negative effect on the aging process of the skin. This could mean that the collagen added to a cup of coffee may simply minimize the damage caused by the caffeine.
If collagen and skin health is a top concern, it may be best for people to avoid caffeine altogether.