In our youth we have collagen to thank for our plump and smooth complexions – it’s that nifty structural protein that keeps skin beautifully elastic and firm. But here’s the ‘but’… ageing slows down collagen production while exposure to excess sun, stress, free radicals and tobacco smoke can all wreak havoc on existing collagen. The good news? Check out our line-up of the most natural, simple ways to boost the production of this ‘youth protein’ for a fresher complexion at any age!
1. Turn to nature’s bounty for younger-looking skin
Treat your taste buds and your skin at the same time by upping the amount of collagen-boosting foods in your diet. You won’t miss refined sugar (or its collagen-robbing effects) once you’ve had your fill of these beauty nutrients. But try to make sure you’re topped up on all of them – these skin heroes work best as a team!
Make vitamin C your top ally in boosting collagen; it plays an essential role in linking amino acids to build skin-firming collagen. And don’t forget beta-carotene and vitamin E – they act synergistically with vitamin C to regenerate lost collagen, while all three double as antioxidants to defend skin from free radical damage.
Make sure you get enough vitamin C by feasting daily on brightly coloured fruit and berries and leafy greens – or get adventurous with vitamin C packed superfruits such as the South American camu camu and the African baobab (find them as whizz-ready powders in your local health food store). To boost your beta-carotene intake, indulge in bright orange fruit and veg, and for your daily dose of vitamin E, snack on healthy fats such as avocadoes, nuts and seeds.
Let the minerals copper, zinc and silica work their skin-magic for a smoother complexion – each plays a vital role in collagen synthesis. Tasty sources of copper include sesame seeds, mushrooms and dried fruits; zinc is plentiful in lentils, pumpkin seeds and quinoa; while oats, spinach and brown rice are rich in silica.
Sulphur is another must-have in a collagen-conscious diet. Cruciferous vegetables, alliums and legumes are all healthy sources of sulphur, so make sure your meal plan features foods such as cabbage, broccoli, beans, lentils, leeks and garlic.
Hormonal support from Mother Nature
Oestrogen is a vital hormone for maintaining collagen production for women (testosterone does the job for men). The dip in oestrogen levels after menopause therefore affects collagen too – but fear not, you can make up for the lower levels by including plenty of collagen-building phytoestrogens in your diet.
Not sure you’re getting enough? To up your intake of plant protein: spread some nut butter on your toast, snack on hummus with crudités or cook up a tofu stir-fry for tasty collagen-enhancing helping of phytoestrogens.
2. Beauty habits that build collagen
Complement your beauty diet with healthy habits that let your body make the most out of those skin-loving nutrients.
Tone your body, tone your skin
Did you know that you can sweat your way to a firmer skin? Oh yes… the skin-beautifying benefits of aerobic exercise aren’t limited to stress busting and circulation boosting – a good workout also stimulates collagen production. So hit the gym, don your running shoes or head to a Zumba class for a more toned complexion. Just remember that long term commitment is the key to reaping the benefits!
Reap the dual benefits of exfoliation
If exfoliation is already a part of your skin care routine then hurrah! You’ll be pleased to hear it not only clears your complexion, but also kick starts collagen production. The removal of dead cells induces a repair response in your skin, part of which is increased synthesis of skin-strengthening collagen… who knew?!
New to exfoliating? You and your skin will love our multi-award winning Gentle Exfoliant.
Massage skin happy
Massage (like exercise and exfoliation) boosts oxygen and nutrient flow into the skin, encouraging formation of new collagen. A massage is ideally done on a regular basis – you could simply build a few minutes of self-massage into your daily skin care routine. Though we’re not saying you shouldn’t also enjoy frequent visits to the spa!2