You might have heard of collagen: It is a protein in your body that is responsible for helping your skin to renew and regenerate itself, among other things. There are a variety of ways to get more collagen into your body, ranging from the foods that you eat to the supplements that you take to serums that you can apply directly to your skin. Let’s talk about the benefits of collagen skin care as well as ways to harness this super-protein!
COLLAGEN BENEFITS FOR THE SKIN
Collagen strengthens the skin by promoting elasticity and keeping it hydrated. These functions go a long way in minimizing the signs of aging, like fine lines, dryness, and wrinkles. If you are in your 30s or beyond, your skin has started slowing down its own renewal process.
This is a natural part of aging, but many people are concerned when they begin to see the effects, which include wrinkles and less elasticity. Using collagen can help keep your skin looking and feeling great as the years and decades pass. Your skin and hair might benefit by growing more quickly and being less brittle.
OTHER COLLAGEN BENEFITS
Collagen is not present only in the skin. It also has benefits in other areas of your body. If you suffer from joint pain, collagen can help relieve it. It will also boost muscle mass, which helps strengthen bones and muscles. In addition, it can prevent bone loss, which is another common issue that people, particularly women, face as they age.
In addition to keeping your skin supple, collagen can also keep your arteries more supple, reducing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Some other potential benefits include an improved mood, better intestinal health, and even weight loss.
While collagen should not be used as an alternative for physician-recommended medications or lifestyle changes to help with these issues, it might be worth discussing the possibility of adding a collagen supplement to your regimen with your doctor.
COLLAGEN RICH FOODS
Your body is primed to absorb collagen from food, so in order to get the most benefits, you should add collagen-containing foods to your diet even if you also use a supplement and/or a serum. Foods that contain collagen tend to be healthy anyway, so adding these to your diet might even boost your health in ways unrelated to the collagen consumption. Here are some of the foods recommended:
Bone broth: Take beef or chicken bones along with whatever soup vegetables you like (generally carrots, celery, onions, and garlic) and let them simmer in a slow-cooker overnight for at least 12 hours. To get the most collagen out of the bones, you can also add a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar (white vinegar will also work). When it has done cooking, the bones should feel soft. Strain the bones and any skin out of the broth and refrigerate. When it is cool, you can scrape the fat from the top and you will be left with a gelatinous broth that is chock-full of collagen.
COLLAGEN SKIN CARE SERUMS
Once you have added some collagen to your daily diet, it is time to look at your daily skin care routine. To get the most benefits from collagen skin care, it is best to treat your skin gently and add some serums that will help boost collagen levels and promote good skin health.
First, always wash gently. Use a gentle cleanser to wash away the grime and oil of the day before you go to bed. You will also want to wash in the morning. If you want to exfoliate with a soft washcloth, you can do so. Using a scrub should only be done weekly in most cases.
Before you add a moisturizer, you will want to use your serum. Those with Vitamin C will help your skin produce collagen. Another option is retinol, though this is not necessarily something you will want to use every day. It will help break down and remove old skin cells, prompting your body to renew the skin more frequently. Do not use these two products together; that will be too harsh on your skin. Start off using one of these serums weekly, then you can increase the frequency if you tolerate it well.
Finally, add your moisturizer. During the day, it’s best to choose one with an SPF of at least 30; if yours doesn’t contain an SPF, then you’ll have another product to add before you can put on makeup. At night, choose one with ceramides, which will help with the skin renewal process.
COLLAGEN SKIN CARE SUPPLEMENTS
An additional option is to take collagen supplements. While these are generally considered safe, it is important to talk to your doctor before adding them to your regimen, particularly if you already take other medications or if you have health issues. Purchase any collagen supplement and simply follow the directions on the bottle. Do not take more than indicated, and if you forget a dose, just take your normal supplement the next day rather than doubling up.
The aging process is normal and natural, but you can slow it down by adding collagen-rich foods, skin-renewing serums, and supplements to your daily routine. If you are not getting the results you want, you can talk to your dermatologist or your family doctor to see if a different routine or even a prescription-strength topical ointment will help you achieve your goals. Caring for your skin is an individual matter, so work with your doctor to find the regimen that works best for you.