Aging can be a beautiful thing. When you're older, you've probably figured out your "true north." You're no longer going at a frenetic pace trying to do so much to be everywhere and please everyone. Instead, with a more established identity and the strong relationships you've managed to build over the years, you're more confident about your place in the world. And of course, it doesn't hurt that you now have more time and the means to enjoy life as you please.
But when it comes to your skin, it may be an entirely different matter. Becoming more mature has its positives, but it isn't likely that you want to look the part. Fortunately, aging gracefully is possible. By rebuilding collagen, you can help soften the effects of time on your skin.
Why is collagen so important?
Collagen is the most profuse protein in our bodies, with high concentrations in our skin, bones, muscles, and tendons. If you compare your body to a skyscraper, its collagen can be the steel rods and beams underlying the structure and holding it together. And just like steel which is even more elastic than rubber, collagen also has high tensile strength, meaning it's resistant to breaking under tension. In fact, gram for gram, collagen is tougher than steel, resulting in smooth, strong, taut, and supple skin, everything youthful skin is. Without it, the reverse happens—weak, leathery, and wrinkly skin that sags.
Collagen also enhances our mobility with generous amounts of specific amino acids that repair bones, joints, and tendons and maintain their health.
Unfortunately, our bodies lose their ability to create collagen by the time we hit our mid 20s. Other factors can also hasten the decline of collagen production. And where nature is in short stock, we try to make up for it through all sorts of products and processes. But with all the hype surrounding collagen as the next fountain of youth, can it be too good to be true?
Effective Ways to Rebuild Collagen
The great news is that collagen does work. Research shows that the body's dominant protein enhances skin elasticity and improves joint health. However, not all collagen products or treatments can deliver on their promises. In this space, we’d like to share the top three tips that can help in rebuilding collagen and aging gracefully.
Tip#1. Watch out for the 3 S's: sunlight, smoking, and sugar
Undoubtedly, the sun is a powerful benefactor. It gives us warmth, helps produce melatonin so we can sleep well, and is a great mood lifter. It also enables our bodies to make Vitamin D, which is necessary to maintain calcium and keep our bones healthy. Yet, it can also be too much of a good thing. Excessive exposure to UVA rays can destroy collagen and elastin fibers deep under the skin, resulting in wrinkles, loose skin, uneven skin tone, rough, leathery texture, and dark patches or melasma. On the other hand, UVB sunlight can cause DNA damage and photoaging, which may lead to skin cancer.
Rebuild collagen and protect your skin and overall health by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, even when indoors. In addition, wear protective clothing like a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved tops, and long pants whenever outdoors. If you're engaged in outdoor activities like swimming which require you to stay exposed to the sun for long periods, consistently reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Smoking significantly increases the levels of MMP, a type of enzyme that destroys collagen and elastin fibers. Additionally, the nicotine in cigarettes and tobacco constrict the blood vessels in the skin, diminishing the supply of essential nutrients and oxygen needed for the cells to function and regenerate.
The obvious solution is dropping the habit, which may prove challenging. You can try to quit smoking through doctor-prescribed nicotine replacement therapy, replacing the habit with more healthful activities like exercise and relaxation practices, and avoiding triggers. Of course, there is always strength in numbers. To keep you going (or even started), you may want to go online to get support for freedom from smoking. This way, you can receive encouragement and extend it to others as well.
Sugar attaches itself to proteins to create new molecules called AGEs. These bits damage the structure of proteins, including collagen, making them dry and brittle. With weaker support, your skin loses its firmness and suppleness.
Like smoking, kicking the sugar habit is the best way to prevent further deterioration of collagen. First, don't go cold turkey, as this may trick you into thinking you're deprived, strengthening your sweet desires. When you do your groceries, stay away from the sugary foods sections, so you're not tempted to throw a few cakes and pastries into your shopping cart. Say no to hidden sugars by checking out the labels for brown sugar, cane nectar, and other types of sugar. Instead of a high-sugar diet, enjoy nutritious and filling meals that will help stave off the cravings.
Tip#2. Eat Your Collagen!
So many fantastic claims exist about collagen products that it's easy to dismiss everything as pure marketing. But food lovers worldwide can delight in this one fact: You may dine your way to higher collagen levels! Studies show that subjects who consumed oral supplements increased skin elasticity, hydration, and density.
These can come in various forms ( pills, powder, or food sources), which are better absorbed by the body when down into smaller components l hydrolyzed collagen (smaller, easier-to-dissolve amino acids) or collagen peptides.
Other members of the medical community support the consumption of foods containing collagen over synthetically produced supplements. For example, Dr. Valori Treloar, a dermatologist-nutritionist from Massachusetts, prefers her patients get collagen from their daily diet. Although more research is needed, eating collagen-rich meals can be a part of a complete and healthful eating plan.
Food sources rich in collagen
- Bone broth
- Shellfish and fish (especially the head and eyeballs)
- Unflavored gelatin
- Pork and Beef
Collagen-boosters (amino acids and essential vitamins and minerals)
- Egg whites
- Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons)
- Tropical fruits (kiwi, mangoes, guava, pineapple)
- Garlic (high in sulfur that boosts collagen synthesis)
- Leafy greens (chlorophyll helps trigger collagen production)
- Root vegetables (high in copper and manganese)
- Nuts and seeds (like cashew)
Tip#3. Cutting-edge collagen rebuilding treatments
The following advanced skin treatments can be a powerful adjunct to your healthy lifestyle:
In microneedling, a trained skincare professional uses an electrically-powered handheld device with ultra-fine needles attached to it. Using this machine, they meticulously make microscopic punctures in the skin to stimulate self-repair and regeneration. First, inflammation occurs, then the skin cells go into work mode to fix the artificially created "problem”. While this treatment can make your skin tauter and smoother, there is the risk of irritation and skin redness which can last a few days. It may also worsen active breakouts, so those with acne, lesions, or similar skin conditions may need to wait for their skin to clear out before undergoing the procedure.
Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
Another treatment with minimal invasiveness is injectable hyaluronic acid fillers, which draw moisture into the skin and promote soft-tissue growth. The naturally occurring acid also helps boost collagen and elastin production.
Although the procedure may look simple, only licensed physicians with access to FDA-approved fillers should apply them. To further manage expectations, remember that recovery can take up to two weeks.
At the earth's core is an object so powerful and so massive that it spans the distance between the earth's interior to outer space: the electromagnetic field.
Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy, or PEMF, was originally used by NASA to protect and maintain the health of their astronauts while orbiting in the cosmic space. They conducted some research and were startled to discover the positive effects of PEMF on cell regeneration.
Today, PEMF is one of the safest yet most highly effective treatments for aging gracefully. It is gentle, non-invasive, does not use drug-free, with no known side effects. During PEMF therapy, a machine sends out pulsed electromagnetic frequencies that mimic the earth's magnetic field and produce similar benefits. Once the low-level frequencies interact with the cells and tissues, these absorb the energy they need to self-repair and regenerate. And when cells are "fully charged," they can better perform collagen synthesis and replete the body with the bonding protein.
Other PEMF benefits:
- Speeds up recovery from injuries
- Relieves chronic pain
- Improves blood flow
- Reduces stress
- Boosts mood
- Increases energy
PEMF therapy can be that one decisive move you can take towards enhancing your skincare routine and improving the quality of your life. To ensure that you're getting high-quality PEMF treatment, trust only HigherDOSE. Our Infrared PEMF Mat combines two powerful healing technologies to create the ultimate recovery tool. PEMF grounds you in the earth's magnetic field for a full-body reset, while Infrared's deeply penetrating heat doubles your dose. Choose between the HigherDOSE original mat, perfect for doing yoga or relaxing from home, or the HigherDOSE Go Mat in a more compact size for travel or even your WFH chair! Get supercharged–get grounded with HigherDOSE today!