When you look in the mirror, what do you see? Do fine lines creep up to the crow’s feet in the corners of your eyes? Are your lips not as full as they used to be? What about your hair? If you’re starting to see more scalp than ever before, it might be time to start thinking about collagen.
So, what is skin collagen?
Collagen is a kind of protein you can find in the connective tissues of our bodies, including the ligaments, skin and tendons. It’s what gives these tissues their strength and elasticity. As we age, our bodies produce less and less collagen, leading to the visible signs of aging mentioned above.
In this article, we’ll discuss what collagen is and why it is important.
What is the collagen in our skin responsible for?
Three main layers make up our skin: the epidermis (outer layer), dermis (middle layer) and subcutis (inner layer). The collagen in our skin is found in the dermis, where it provides support for the other structures in the skin, including blood vessels, hair follicles and sweat glands.
The collagen fibers in the dermis are arranged in a crisscross pattern and held together by a substance called collagenase. That gives the skin its elasticity and strength. When we injure our skin, for example, by cutting ourselves, the collagen fibers work to repair the damage.
You can also find collagen in other parts of the body, including the tendons, ligaments and cartilage. It is a major component of our bones and helps keep them strong and healthy.
Why is collagen important?
Collagen is important for several reasons. It is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up about 30 percent of our total protein. You can find it in our skin, muscles, tendons, bones and connective tissue.
Collagen has many crucial functions, including structuring and supporting our bodies. It plays a crucial role in the structure of the skin by providing support to the cells that make up the skin. In addition, collagen helps to keep the skin hydrated by absorbing water.
Collagen helps protect the skin from damage by acting as a barrier against environmental factors such as UV radiation and pollution, too. It also helps repair the skin by promoting the growth of new cells and by helping regenerate damaged tissue.
Finally, collagen is crucial for overall skin health by providing nutrients and oxygen to the cells.
What happens when we lose collagen?
Collagen production begins to decline in our early 20s, and this process accelerates as we age, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin.
We may also experience joint pain because collagen is responsible for the elasticity and strength of our tendons and ligaments.
Our bones may become weaker and more brittle, too. That is because collagen is essential for bone health.
Other symptoms include:
- Digestive issues
- Weak hair and nails
- Slow wound healing
How to stimulate collagen production in skin
There are several ways to increase collagen production. One is to use products that contain ingredients that stimulate the body’s collagen production, such as retinol.
Another way is to use products that contain collagen itself, which can help to replace the collagen that has been lost.
Eat foods rich in nutrients that support collagen production, such as vitamin C, proline and glycine. Vitamin C is necessary for collagen synthesis, while proline and glycine are amino acids needed for the stability and structure of collagen fibers.
Eating a diet rich in antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables can also help to protect collagen fibers from damage.
How to protect natural collagen
While there’s no way to stop the aging process, there are things we can do to slow it down and protect our skin collagen. To help protect your skin’s collagen, it’s vital to take care of it from the inside out. There are a few things you can do to help protect your skin’s collagen:
Eat a healthy diet: A diet high in antioxidants and healthy fats can help protect your skin from damage.
Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps keep your skin cells plump and hydrated, preventing collagen breakdown.
Avoid smoking: Smoking damages collagen fibers and impairs their ability to regenerate.
Use sunscreen: Sun exposure can break down collagen fibers, so it’s crucial to use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin.
Cosmetic dermatology in Columbia
Cosmetic dermatology can help keep your youthful glow. The experienced cosmetic dermatologists at Columbia Skin Clinic offer the latest advances in skin rejuvenation to restore the natural beauty and smoothness of your skin. Make an appointment today to learn more.