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WANT FIRM SMOOTH SKIN? HERE'S WHY COLLAGEN IS SO IMPORTANT FOR HEALTHY SKIN

July 09, 2018 by Renee Tavoularis

WANT FIRM SMOOTH SKIN? HERE'S WHY COLLAGEN IS SO IMPORTANT FOR HEALTHY SKIN

By Paula Simpson

There are two primary influences in skin aging - chronological aging and extrinsic aging. Chronological aging is the natural progression of aging while extrinsic skin aging is caused by external factors, mainly chronic sun exposure, pollution, smoking, poor diet and lifestyle.

The most visible effect of skin aging occurs when there is a decline in the skin’s connective tissue and water content. Fine lines and wrinkles are created due to the overall weakening and loss of skin collagen structure, resulting in a decline in skin health.

WHAT IS COLLAGEN? WHAT DOES IT DO FOR THE SKIN?

There are approximately 27 types of collagen, classified by their size, function and amino acid composition. Type I is the most important collagen for skin tissue.

Collagen is an abundant protein and main building block in the body. A vital component of connective tissue in our joints, tendons and ligaments, collagen is also the primary protein that keeps skin smooth, firm and helps to lock in skin moisture.

The skin is comprised of three distinctive layers, the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The outer most layer (the epidermis,) provides protection against foreign substances and a barrier from the external environment. The dermis is directly below and gives skin its strength and support. It is the dermis that contains nerves, blood vessels and fibroblasts (a cell in connective tissue that produces collagen and elastin fibers,)that receive essential nutrients to produce new skin cells and maintain the structural foundation of the skin. Collagen is the most abundant protein within this structural framework that gives skin its strength. Elastin fibers combine with collagen to provide the skin with elasticity. The base substance is composed of substances glycosaminoglycans, glycoproteins, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin sulphate that form a “gelling and cementing” base that bind to water molecules and function as the gateway for nutrients and oxygen to reach the outer skin tissue.

“When the dermal collagen structure is healthy and strong, nutrients and oxygen can easily reach skin tissue (for new cell production and repair,) and efficiently remove toxins that can break down skin collagen structure.”

STRESSORS THAT BREAK DOWN SKIN COLLAGEN

We lose approximately 1% of collagen per year after the age of 29. As mentioned earlier a poor diet and lifestyle, environmental stressors and pollutants can further impair and deteriorate skin collagen. 

“SUGAR CAUSES WRINKLES – IT’S THAT SIMPLE”

Above the usual culprit’s including alcohol, caffeine, processed foods/trans fats, many of us don't realize that sugar is also destructive to our skin.

The typical Western diet is loaded with refined carbohydrates and sugars that are rapidly digested and create ‘Advanced Glycation End (AGE)’ products in every cell and molecule in the body. AGE’s bind to skin connective tissue and rearrange its natural chemical structure while creating inflammation and oxidative stress that further break down skin collagen and promote wrinkles.

POLLUTION AND OXIDATIVE STRESS

Solar and chemical air pollutants aggravate the skin and stimulate wrinkle formation via collagen degradation. Cigarette smoking has been found to contribute to sagging, dehydrated skin. All forms of these pollutants increase oxidative stress and inflammation within skin’s connective tissue.

By lessening the oxidative stress load with antioxidant rich foods, supplements and topical products, we can slow down or even prevent these pathways that lead to structural damage in skin’s connective tissue.

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

Skin cellular renewal takes place within the deeper layer with new skin cells moving outward towards the epidermis. Hence a combination of nutrition, topical skincare and supplemental regimens may be the most effective approach to protect and enhance skin health and appearance. 

“The Mediterranean diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes, monounsaturated fats (MUFA,) and a healthy ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAS.) Rich in antioxidant carotenoids and polyphenols from fruits and vegetables, the unique properties of this diet are of interest for healthy skin and have been clinically shown to effectively nourish and protect the skin from environmental aggressors”

BOOSTING SKIN COLLAGEN FROM WITHIN

Skin cells are produced and replaced every few weeks and it is the last organ in the body to receive nutrients from the food and supplements we ingest. Thus, even minor nutrient deficiencies increase our susceptibility to unhealthy skin. So, while it is true when you hear “skin is the mirror of your inner health,” it is important to also be aware of those nutrients that optimize skin cell renewal, protect collagen and promote dermal circulation for strong healthy skin.

START WITH EATING CLEAN.

By choosing foods more wisely, you automatically reduce exposure to contaminants, hormones, antiobiotics, preservatives and chemicals found in mass produce and animal based products. In season, organic, sustainable and humanely raised foods will provide the right balance of nutrients over commercially manufactured products. This is the first step towards healthy beauty. 

To complement a balanced diet, some “collagen boosting” nutrients include:

  • PROTEIN Amino acids (the building blocks of protein,) are main components of connective tissue. Skin collagen contains hydroxyproline and hydroxylysine, which is formed from proline and lysine.Glycine and alanine are also abundant amino acids in skin collagen. Proline is a non-essential amino acid (meaning it can be it can be formed in our body,) and can be found in meats such as beef, chicken or pork but you can also obtain proline from plant-based foods including cabbage, asparagus, rice bran, egg whites, beans and legumes, cucumber, chick peas, watercress, spinach and alfalfa sprouts. Lysine is an essential amino acid and must be obtained from diet such as lean meats and legumes. By adding protein rich foods to your diet, you can promote a healthier rate of collagen renewal and keep connective tissue strong so skin remains smooth and firm.
  • ANTIOXIDANTS are nature’s means of protecting your cells from damage. When there is oxidative stress, free radicals are formed and cause damage to the skin tissue, speeding up the aging process. Antioxidant-rich foods are mostly found in plant-based sources. Two that are important for skin collagen include;
    • VITAMIN C is essential to produce collagen and elastin. Along with citrus fruits, Vitamin C rich foods include kale, papaya, collards, spinach, red and green peppers, strawberries, brussel sprouts, pineapple and kiwi.
    • ANTHOCYANIDINS found berries and other deep red and purple foods support and increase Vitamin C levels in cells and function as antioxidants that protect skin collagen from free radical damage
  • SULFUR is a mineral that strengthens and forms the bonds within collagen fibers. Since the breakdown of collagen is one of the major contributors to the development of wrinkles, include more sulfur rich foods like cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, garlic, onions, eggs, walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds contain. Sulfur is also required to synthesize primary antioxidant glutathione in the body. Glutathione destroys free radicals that can damage skin collagen dermal matrix.

“Wrinkles are formed when skin collagen structure deteriorates. Disulfide bonds help to maintain strong collagen bonds and protect against degenerative cross-linking. Sugar is a primary culprit in attacking collagen, while the mineral sulfur found in foods and supplements help to strengthen those bonds that sugar attacks and breaks down”

  • SILICON is necessary for the proper functioning of rapidly growing tissues: epidermis, hair and nails. The level of silicon in the body decreases with age, which results in sagging skin, brittle nails and hair. Silicon plays an important role in the maintenance of connective tissue and formation of collagen and proteoglycans for firm, smooth and hydrated skin.
  • COPPER AND ZINC work along with Vitamin C to produce collagen and elastin. Copper also helps to build the “cement” between skin cells for strong skin structure. Good sources of copper include nuts, raisins, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, lobster and oysters.
  • CHROMIUM is a key mineral involved in sugar (glucose) metabolism. It normalizes blood sugar and insulin levels to help prevent glycation and inflammatory reactions that disrupt and break down skin collagen. Some food sources include broccoli, sweet potatoes, corn, turkey, free range eggs, oats and brewers yeast. It can be tough to get enough Chromium through diet but easily found in multivitamin supplements.

By incorporating nutrition and potentially supplementation, you can protect skin collagen and encourage a healthy rate of cellular renewal “FROM WITHIN.”  Topical products work from the “outside in” locking in skin moisture, protecting and shielding skin from environmental aggressors that can deteriorate healthy skin collagen. It is the combination of skincare and nutrition that brings the most visible and long lasting results for healthy, firm and smooth skin. 

In Health & Beauty,
Paula

 

Paula is a holistic beauty expert who has integrated her expertise in nutrition, natural health and beauty to drive innovation within the medical, wellness and personal care sectors. With global recognition as a formulation expert, Paula has dedicated her time in educating both the medical aesthetic and personal care industries on the importance of nutrition to promote natural beauty and healthy aging. She has successfully combined her scientific and holistic nutrition background to create some of the most successful beauty wellness products and programs available today. As a consultant, Paula’s strength in natural health proved successful for many clients including top celebrities, executives, children and competitive athletes. She is regularly sought after as an industry speaker, media expert and a frequent contributor for many of the leading health, beauty and spa publications worldwide. Paula has been formally recognized as one of the leading innovators & powerful women in the natural beauty industry today. https://paulasimpson.com/

At WELL WITHIN, we are deeply committed to providing the information you need to make the best decisions in your personal quest for beauty, nutrition and lifestyle wellness. Our PLANTED IN BEAUTY skincare products are created with the belief that wellness and beauty are inextricably linked. Our comprehensive skincare line is derived exclusively from natural sources, containing the highest level of organic ingredients, while remaining completely free of chemicals and toxins. With passion and purpose, we aim to inspire and empower you to become the healthiest version of yourself. Explore our beauty wellness solutions at wellwithinbeauty.com


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