How to Build Skin Collagen
Collagen is is one of the body's primary structural proteins. It connects soft bodily tissues to the skeleton, providing structure and shape to tendons and skin, according to the Rutgers Unversity Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics. In other words, collagen keeps your skin firm. As people age, collagen can degrade, leaving skin wrinkly or saggy. However, there are methods available for combating collagen degradation. With certain lifestyle choices, you can increase your body's ability to build new skin collagen.
Reduce your exposure to harmful UV rays. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, sunlight exposure can damage collagen. If you spend all day outside for work, use a UV-blocking sunscreen. When sunlight exposure is diminished, your body's natural collagen production will not be stifled by UV rays, allowing for the increased growth of new collagen fibers.
Eat foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C promotes bodily collagen growth, according to Indiana Public Media. Oranges, broccoli, bell peppers, lemons, zucchini, and many other fruits and vegetables have a high vitamin C content, according to World's Healthiest Foods, a nonprofit nutrition information website.
Exercise daily. Regular physical activity promotes increased blood flow, oxygenation and hormone secretion. These positive health benefits promote overall well-being, helping your body produce collagen and other important proteins, according to David J. Goldberg and Eva M. Herriot, Ph.D., in the book "Secrets of Great Skin." If you're fit and active, your body will build more skin collagen than if you were sedentary.
Quit smoking and avoid excessive secondhand smoke. Smoking damages skin collagen, according to the Mayo Clinic. Smoking is a hard habit to quit, but support groups, nicotine patches, and nicotine gum can help you break the habit. If you live or work in a smoky environment, do your best to expose your skin to fresh air whenever possible during the day. When this source of degradation is addressed, your body will build new, healthy skin collagen.
Talk with your doctor about laser therapy. Non-ablative laser treatments promote enhanced collagen growth in your skin, according to the University of Michigan Department of Dermatology. Laser procedures work well to build collagen, but they are not covered by most insurance plans. You'll want to exhaust your other options before paying hundreds of dollars for this elective procedure.
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