Do you dream of everlasting youthful skin? The elixir of youth isn’t a reality, but maintaining a good skincare and lifestyle regime can definitely help you achieve your beauty goals.
One of the most abundant proteins in your body, collagen is majorly found in the tendons, skin, muscles, and bones. With growing age, your body produces lower levels of collagen; the primary protein responsible for skin elasticity and strength. Aging starts slowing and impacting collagen production, leading to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
“Collagen is a major building block of the human body. Not just your skin, collagen is important for your joints, and digestion. Together they reflect your youthfulness,” says Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix.
Let us understand the benefits of collagen for your skin, natural ways to increase collagen in your skin, and how you can prevent collagen loss. Read on.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a fibrous, insoluble, and hard protein which constitutes around one-third of your body’s protein composition. Its molecules are closely packed to form thin, long fibrils. The long fibrils act as supporting framework and bind cells with each other. They also provide skin elasticity and strength.
At least 16 sub-types of collagen are found in the human body. All these types have various functions and structures.However, 80-90% of collagen belongs to the three major types.
Collagen is flexible and strong in nature. The three main building blocks of collagen include hydroxyproline, proline, and glycine. The molecular structure  resembles a triple helix which attaches with other collagen units in the skin to form a thin layer in the dermis. Dermis is a layer of skin above the subcutaneous adipose tissue and below the epidermis.
A few sub-types of collagen fibrils are even stronger than the tensile strength of steel.
What Does Collagen Do To Your Skin?
Collagen constitutes nearly 75% of your skin’s structural framework. It is secreted by different types of cells within your body, however; majorly by cells of connective tissues.
In the middle layer of your skin, known as dermis, collagen aids in constructing a fibrous framework of cells. Known as fibroblasts, these cells help in the formation and growth of new cells. Additionally, these help in restoring and replacing dead skin cells.
With growing age, the body slows down the synthesis of collagen . Also, the structural support of skin begins to decline. You begin to observe the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles along with sagging in your face.
After menopause, women begin to experience a drastic depletion of collagen in their body. By the time they turn 60, it is quite common to observe a significant drop in collagen synthesis.
What Causes Loss Of Collagen In Skin?
A few factors can influence the levels of collagen in your body. Staying away from these factors may help you keep your skin supple and healthy:
1. High Consumption Of Sugar
A diet rich in sugar over-stimulates the rate of glycation. This is a natural process in your body wherein the sugar molecules adhere to proteins to generate novel molecules known as advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These AGEs adversely impact the surrounding proteins and make collagen vulnerable, brittle, and dry.
Harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke adversely affect both elastin and collagen in your skin. Nicotine contracts blood capillaries in the skin’s outer layers. This affects your skin’s health by minimizing the absorption of oxygen and nutrients into your skin.
The harsh UV A and B rays rapidly degrade and deteriorate collagen fibrils, increasing the synthesis of abnormal elastin.
The harmful UV rays also affect the collagen in the middle layer of your skin. When this damaged skin incorrectly rebuilds, it leads to the formation of wrinkles.
4. Autoimmune Disorders
A few autoimmune disorders may stimulate antibodies to attack and damage collagen. Genetic modifications may impact the outer layer of your skin. Collagen synthesis may be lowered, or mutated, leading to abnormal collagen.
5. Advancing Age
Advancing age results in natural depletion of collagen levels in your body. This activity is completely irreversible. Avoiding extreme sun exposure and smoking along with following a healthy diet and exercise regimen, may minimize visible signs of aging. It can help defend collagen, keeping your joints, muscles, bones, and skin healthy for a long time.
Collagen Benefits For Your Skin
Collagen helps boost your skin elasticity and smoothen out wrinkles. By taking supplemental collagen, you may experience a higher density of collagen fibrils within your skin. Additionally, it helps in retention of moisture and improves skin elasticity.
How To Increase Collagen In Your Skin?
By following simple and effective home and Ayurvedic remedies along with a nutrient-rich diet, you may prevent collagen loss in your skin. Follow these secrets to naturally restore and renew your skin with collagen.
A. Collagen-Rich Foods For Skin
All types and sub-types of collagen are derived from procollagen. Your body naturally synthesizes procollagen by interlinking two amino acids – proline and glycine. The synthesis of procollagen requires Vitamin C.
You may help your body to synthesize this integral protein by including these nutrients in your daily diet :
- Copper: It is commonly found in lentils, cashews, cocoa powder, sesame seeds, and organ meats.
- Glycine: Large quantities of glycine are found in gelatine, chicken skin, and pork skin. However, it is also found in foods with high protein content.
- Proline: Large quantities of proline are found in mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, dairy products, wheat germ, and egg whites.
- Vitamin C: It is commonly found in strawberries, bell peppers, and citrus fruits.
Along with these nutrients, your body also requires high grade proteins which have the necessary amino acids needed to synthesize novel protein molecules. Tofu, legumes, dairy products, seafood, poultry, and meat are rich sources of amino acids.
B. Foods To Avoid
Avoiding a few specific foods may help you maintain good skin health, thereby preventing collagen loss in your skin. To begin with, you should check on your daily carbohydrate and sugar consumption. These may lead to inflammation and harm collagen levels in your skin.
Prioritize fresh, seasonal, and mineral-rich vegetables and fruits. Additionally, include protein-rich plant and animal-based foods to restore your skin’s collagen level.
C. Ayurvedic Secrets For Boosting Collagen
As per the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, a wide variety of elements determine your overall skin health, appearance, and youthfulness. These factors include:
- Proper circulation of nutrients and blood to the different layers of your skin (balanced vata)
- Regulation of metabolic functions which manage various hormonal and chemical processes of your skin (balanced pitta)
- Maintenance of moisture level in your skin (balanced kapha)
The constitution of the three body tissues also reflects on your skin health. These three types of tissues include:
- Muscle (mamsa)
- Blood (rakta)
- Nutritional fluid (rasa)
Ayurvedic anti aging therapy primarily involves two forms of therapies:
- Vyadhi Hara (curative)
- Urjaskara (promotive)
Collagen boost for Kapha: Be mindful of salt intake as kapha skin retains water. Warm oil massage and Udavrtana (rubbing dry ubtan powders in the opposite direction of hair growth) is excellent to boost collagen.
Collagen boost for Pitta: Oily food, salt and spices along with exposure to extreme sunlight is damaging for pitta skin. Use astringent and styptic herbal oils infused with chandana and lodhra are excellent for daily massage to boost collagen. Follow this with a cooling pack containing mud and mulethi.
Collagen boost for Vata: Vata skin is the worst affected by collagen loss. Abhyanga-massage followed by steam with milk, helps maintain vata skin health.
1. Ayurvedic Rejuvenation
The holistic approach of Ayurveda describes various therapeutic processes to regulate and prevent signs of aging. One such therapeutic process is panchakarma .
In Ayurveda, panchakarma is considered as an efficient detoxification and rejuvenation therapy. It involves three stages:
- Purva Karma (before treatment): This stage includes swedana (sudation) and snehana (olation) procedures
- Pradhana Karma (primary treatment): This stage includes nasya (nasal administration), virechana (purgation), vamana (medical emesis), and basti (enema). A branch of Sushruta also recommends raktamokshana (bloodletting) as a stage of panchakarma.
- Paschat Karma (after treatment): This stage includes vihar (exercise), ahar (diet), and administration of beneficial rasayana and various other medicines.
Nasya: Is an excellent panchakarma technique to boost facial collagen.
Udvartana & Abhyanga: Help maintain the skin tone of the body.
2. Ayurvedic Herbs
- Tulsi: Tulsi is an effective Ayurvedic herb renowned for its efficacy in reducing visible signs of aging. It is also popular as a novel anti-aging superfood which reduces the appearance of wrinkles. When you apply tulsi on your skin, it helps in minimizing unevenness and roughness, retaining hydration and moisture in your skin, and gives you a supple, smooth texture.
- Guduchi: Guduchi is also popularly known as giloy. This medicinal herb has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Also, it helps in renewing and rejuvenating your skin’s tissue. Along with improving your skin health, giloy also improves your mental clarity and boosts your immune system.
- Ashwagandha: This medicinal herb has been widely used in Ayurveda for its rejuvenating values and potential benefits for your hair, skin, and general health. When you take ashwagandha daily, you will experience a glowing difference in your skin’s appearance, making it naturally radiant, clear, and supple. Additionally, the powerful herb effectively minimizes wrinkles and makes your skin firm.
- Amla: Amalaki is a powerhouse of Vitamin C and antioxidants. The anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties of amalaki improves your skin health by minimizing signs of aging, firming up your skin, and imparting natural glow. The beneficial herb also provides immense benefits to your hair growth, strength, and texture.
- Haldi: Haldi is a magical herb which provides immense benefits to your skin and overall health. Starting from treating bruises and scars to boosting the immune system to alleviating chronic inflammation, or making your skin radiant and glowing, haldi is an all-rounder Ayurvedic herb. The active ingredient in haldi, curcumin, has anti-ageing properties. It helps in staving off free radicals and reduces inflammation. It also shields your skin from photooxidation damage from harmful UV A and B rays. The antioxidant properties of haldi also helps in fighting numerous diseases. Consumption and topical application of haldi offers potential benefits for your overall health.
- Ginseng: Ginseng is a popular anti-aging herb which is extensively used in the Korean and Japanese beauty and skincare industry. The powerful phytochemicals found in the herb prevents signs of aging and boosts the metabolism of your skin. Additionally, the herb also shields your skin from free radical effects due to UV A and B rays.
- Gotu-kola: Gotu-kola is another effective and important anti-aging herb. A rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids, gotu-kola helps in deeply nourishing your skin and boosting collagen synthesis to prevent signs of aging. It also improves your overall health and well-being.
D. Home Remedies For Boosting Collagen
Increasing your daily water intake, exercising regularly, eating a clean and healthy diet, and following a good skincare regime can help you naturally improve collagen synthesis.
You may also use a few simple yet effective homemade face masks with natural ingredients to improve your skin health.
1. Turmeric Face Mask
Turmeric has always been an integral part in traditional skincare and beauty regimes. The beneficial ingredient does wonders for your skin, giving you a naturally radiant, clear, and glowing complexion. This natural glow is achieved due to curcumin which boosts scar and wound repair by regulating collagen synthesis.
How To Use:
- Mix a small pinch of raw turmeric in equal parts of honey and milk.
- Apply the mixture onto your face and neck.
- Leave it to dry for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with normal water.
- Repeat the steps twice a week to witness the magical difference in your skin.
2. Papaya Face Mask
Papaya is extremely beneficial and nourishing for your skin as it prevents pigmentation, scars, and acne breakouts and smooths your skin by boosting collagen synthesis. All these benefits are achieved due to the presence of an active enzyme called pepzyme.
How To Use:
- Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice into freshly made papaya pulp.
- Apply the mixture onto your face and neck.
- Leave it to dry for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with normal water.
- Repeat the steps at least once a week for better results.
3. Avocado & Cucumber Face Mask
Avocado and cucumber are the well-balanced natural ingredients for improving your skin health. Cucumber is a rich source of Vitamin C, which protects your skin from free radical damage. It also hydrates your skin by retaining the natural moisture in your skin. On the other hand, avocado helps in deeply nourishing and moisturizing your skin due to its natural oils.
How To Use:
- Mix half a cup of freshly extracted cucumber pulp with half a cup of avocado pulp.
- Apply the mixture onto your face and neck.
- Leave it to dry for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the steps at least twice a week for best results.
4. Cinnamon & Honey Face Mask
Honey is an excellent emollient which helps in retaining your skin’s natural moisture content without increasing the oiliness of your skin. Additionally, it is widely used in Ayurveda for its cosmetic purposes, like smoothening your complexion, healing wounds and scars, and preventing acne breakouts. Cinnamon also helps in fighting fungal and bacterial infections of your skin.
How To Use:
- Add equal parts of cinnamon and honey in a mixing bowl and warm it before use.
- Apply the warm mixture onto your face and neck.
- Leave it to dry for 10-15 minutes before rinsing off with lukewarm water.
- Repeat the steps twice a week for better results.
E. Topical Collagen For Your Skin
1. Collagen Supplements
There are primarily two types of collagen supplements  which are quite popular – gelatine and collagen hydrolysate. When collagen is cooked, it gives rise to gelatine.
Both supplements are smaller peptides. These are derived from the breakdown of larger, collagen protein. These peptide units are easily absorbed by your body.
A few individuals also tend to drink bone broth that is full of collagen. Derived from animal bones, this is a dietary form of collagen. However; consumption of bone broth has not proved too many benefits for the skin.
3. Collagen Creams
Topical ointments and creams such as tretinoin and retinol are well-known to boost collagen synthesis in your skin. Also, antioxidants like Vitamin C help prevent inflammation which adversely impacts collagen synthesis.
Many dermatologists believe that the benefits of using Vitamin C or retinol-based skincare products are more effective than using a collagen-rich skincare product.
Vedix Tip: Beauty and skincare products which boast of improving collagen levels in your skin are not authentic, as the protein molecule is too large and complex to be easily absorbed through the different layers of your skin.
How To Prevent Collagen Loss In Your Face?
Nothing can reverse the natural decline in collagen synthesis in your skin. However; there are few preventive measures which you can follow to naturally improve the collagen in your skin.
1. Regular Facial Massage
Gently massaging your skin may help improve natural collagen synthesis and muscle memory. When the tissues and muscles in your face are firm, they are better equipped to retain tightness of your skin. Also, it helps in improving blood flow into your skin which helps in nutrient and oxygen supply to the skin cells. This helps in achieving a glowing and healthy skin.
2. Collagen Creams
Collagen-rich creams and ointments also help in renewing collagen levels in your skin. But it is imperative to note that you should always use a cream which has smaller amino acids of collagen which are easily absorbed by your skin. These creams and ointments also allow your skin to remain hydrated by reducing water loss. This helps in keeping your skin smooth and supple, and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles.
3. Vitamin C Skincare Products
Skincare products enriched with Vitamin C also help in improving collagen synthesis in your skin by preventing collagen loss. Additionally, it helps in boosting healthy nails, hair, and skin. In the absence of Vitamin C, your skin may not be able to restore collagen levels. This deficit leads to the loss of skin firmness and elasticity which is irreversible.
It is important to consume foods which are rich in Vitamin C and protein. These nutrients primarily help in restoring collagen in your skin as well as your body, and slowing down the aging process. Avoid consuming excessive sugar as it increases your insulin level. This heightened insulin level leads to inflammation which in turn breaks down elastin and collagen in your skin. This leaves you vulnerable to fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
5. Stop Smoking
Smoking reduces the blood flow in your body, including your skin. This affects your skin health. It also restricts the synthesis of collagen, making your skin prone to signs of aging.
6. Stay Hydrated
Drinking adequate amounts of water every day will help you replenish and retain moisture content in your skin. This in turn helps the collagen in your skin to naturally bind with the water molecules, and keep your skin hydrated.
Can Collagen Be Absorbed Through Your Skin?
Despite knowing the integral role of collagen, artificially adding it in a topical skincare product is useless when it comes to anti-aging properties. Any topical skincare product enriched with collagen may be limited to just moisturizing your skin.
Topical application of collagen will never truly benefit or improve collagen growth or synthesis of your skin. This inefficiency is due to the fact that collagen molecular weight is too much to even pierce the upper layer of your skin.
However, using retinol-based products or vitamin C based products can prove useful.
The Last Word
Although a younger-looking, glowing, and beautiful skin is greatly appreciated, beauty is never skin deep. A healthy and clear skin is an imperative measure to understand how your bodily functions are performing.
Please remember that there is no sure shot way to reverse the natural loss of collagen or other visible signs of aging. Instead, you should focus on following a good skincare routine which addresses your skin type and its specific needs, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle habits.Know Your Dosha Now
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