Collagen is known for offering a wide range of support for your body, especially if you’re over the age of 35. But make no mistake, this protein is most vital for firmer skin, reducing the appearance of creases, fine line and wrinkles and for promoting stronger, healthier hair and stronger nails.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know when it comes to defying aging and choosing the best way to support your own body’s natural collagen stores.
How Exactly Does Collagen Work?
Collagen acts as the glue for the complex matrix of proteins and fibers that support and “prop up” the upper layers of your skin. This means your skin is only plump and smooth so long as this support system remains strong, full and intact.
If you’ve ever worked with cake and fondant icing, you know what happens when layers of cake crack or lose their structure. After a layer of cake begins to lose its form, your once smooth fondant surface reveals the creases beneath.
The deep, lower layers of your skin act much like the cake beneath the layers of fondant icing. And collagen is the secret to ensuring that each layer of your skin is strong enough to withstand the forces of aging, keeping these layers of skin strong enough to support a smooth and radiant appearance on the surface.
And just as importantly, collagen’s matrix-like structure sits beneath the top layers of your skin, catching and absorbing the nutrients from the skincare products you apply topically including hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and elastin, which work to keep skin well-hydrated, plump and crease free.
When Collagen Breaks Down, So Does the Appearance of Our Skin
With age, a double whammy that takes aim at collagen stores occurs.
For starters, fibroblasts, the cells that breakdown our collagen and replace it with a new supply, start to produce less and less collagen to support each rebuild.
At the same time, we begin to encounter basic life cycles and seasons – including stress, poor diet and changing hormones – that trigger the breakdown of our natural collagen stores (more on that below).
Without intervention, the result of this double-whammy is often visible in the form of skin that is malnourished—dry, lack-luster skin prone to creases, fine lines and wrinkles.
Benefits of Using Collagen Daily
It’s no secret that I believe healthy skin is an inside job – and that especially applies to collagen.
While collagen-containing topical creams are great, they have the severe limitation of only penetrating the skin's outermost layers. Collagen powders and capsules, on the other hand, work from the inside out to help rebuild collagen stores that keep skin smooth, supple and youthful-looking.
Can Everyone Expect Great Results from Taking Collagen Supplements
This depends greatly on two key factors: taking the right kind of collagen daily and making sure you're not contributing to the rapid breakdown of your healthy collagen stores.
As I noted earlier, in addition to age-related hormonal changes, there are a few lifestyle choices that can threaten your healthy collagen stores keeping your skin from looking plump and radiant:
- Exposure to UV light: When UV radiation penetrates the top layers of skin, it can cause oxidative stress that contributes to the breakdown of healthy collagen. While most of us have become more conscious of controlling our UV ray exposure in recent years, over exposure during our teen and young adult years may have left us playing catch-up in supporting the collagen rebuild process now.
- Stress: Is there any area of our life and health that stress doesn’t impact? Stress has a unique impact on the health of our skin, and collagen is, unfortunately, not spared.
- Alcohol and tobacco use: Both alcohol and tobacco use can cause oxidative damage that is particularly harmful to the skin and collagen stores, and tobacco carries even greater risk. Because the smoke meets the skin around the lips, oxidative stress can cause the breakdown of collagen even faster in this delicate area around the lips.
- Sugar Intake: Excess sugar intake is one of the greatest causes of damage to collagen and skin aging. This is because it leads to glycation byproducts known as Advanced Glycation End products, also known somewhat ironically as AGE Because yes, they really do age you! AGE molecules latch on to collagen molecules, damaging them by causing them to harden. When this happens repeatedly, your skin gradually loses its plumpness and suppleness.
Naturally Boost Collagen Stores
Taking the right kind of daily collagen can support and replenish collagen stores that aid in keeping skin taut, supple and smooth. But what’s the best way to boost your collagen stores? There are several ways to naturally boost your collagen and elastin:
- Bone Broth: While bone broth doesn’t provide the levels of collagen needed to restore what breaks down with age, it can add a nice boost in a flavorful way. As I discuss in this article, today’s lean-meat laden diets deprive us of the protein that supports bone and joint health as well as bouncy, plump, youthful skin. Bone broth is an easy way to counter this new diet phenomenon.
- Collagen Protein: Collagen Protein is also sometimes referred to as gelatin. It has a high molecular weight and needs a warm-to-hot solution to blend. It can also create a gel-like consistency, so it can be used to make easy to take collagen gummies.
- Collagen Peptides: Collagen peptides powder contains the amino acid profile of collagen broken down into smaller molecules. This smaller molecular weight allows collagen amino acids to be easily absorbed when consumed.
So How Can You Get More Collagen Every Day?
Establishing a daily collagen routine can be easy to do and the benefits far outweigh the effort required to maintain such a routine.
I find it easiest to get my daily dose of collagen in powdered form, stirring this flavorless powder into either hot or cold beverages or mixing into my morning smoothie.
My NAOMI Collagen Peptides powder is enhanced with hyaluronic acid and vitamin C to promote skin hydration and more even skin tone.
If consuming your additional collagen in capsule form is more convenient for your needs, then you may prefer my ULTRA Collagen Renew which features a collagen peptide blend along with my Anti-Aging Blend which includes 100 mg of Trans-Resveratrol.
Either way, you’ll be getting the support you need to promote proper maintenance of your collagen matrix so essential for lasting beauty.