Collagen is an important protein that makes up most of the skin’s supportive structure. Collagen stimulation will help you retain youthful looks for longer.
One of the most important steps you need to take to slow the aging process is to prevent collagen loss and facilitate the production of new collagen. Collagen makes up around 97.5 percent of the fibrous protein of the dermis, while elastin constitutes only 2.5 percent. Like everything in your body, collagen constantly renews itself. However, as you age, your skin incrementally loses its ability to replace old collagen. As a result, wrinkles appear.
You can improve collagen metabolism of your skin in a number of ways. First of all, you have to focus on prevention. Such influences like lifestyle factors can increase the production of free radicals (smoking, excessive sun exposure and air pollution) which disrupts your skin’s ability to produce new collagen (see The Factors of Skin Aging for more tips on what you can do about extrinsic aging). Free radicals are atoms or molecules that bear unpaired electrons and are extremely reactive, capable of engaging in rapid chain reactions that destabilize other molecules and generate many more free radicals in the body, deactivated by antioxidants, uric acid and certain enzyme activities. Excess of free radicals is related to increased risk of many chronic diseases including cancer and strokes. When produced in the skin, free radicals attack its collagen. As a result, skin loses its resilience and develops wrinkles. According to research, if a person smokes, the production of new collagen during wound healing is reduced by as much as 18 percent.
The second step of your collagen stimulation program is to ensure that your diet includes nutrients that are essential for collagen formation, such as vitamin C. Poor wound healing, bleeding gums and skin hemorrhages are the signs of weakened collagen formation due to vitamin C deficiency. Supplying extra vitamin C in your diet will enhance collagen synthesis. You can learn more about the benefits of vitamin C for your skin here.
Other dietary factors that stimulate collagen production include amino acids like proline, lysine and glycine. Mineral copper that is found in nuts, raisins, sweet potatoes, kidney beans, lobster and oysters facilitates collagen production so these foods should also be included in your diet.
The third step of your collagen stimulation plan is exercise. Although the role of exercise here is indirect, it helps build skin thickness and counteracts the effects of aging on your skin. Exercise builds skin thickness by increasing blood flow to the skin, providing more oxygen and nutrients, which improves secretion of the human growth hormone. Human growth hormone regulates the activity of the cells. Therefore, decline of this hormone is linked to wrinkling of the skin, decreased sexual function and osteoporosis.
As you can see, all these are very simple steps you can take to significantly improve the look of your skin.
You may want to combine these simple measures with some of the exciting anti-aging treatments that can actually stimulate the production of collagen for even better effect.
More interesting facts about collagen and how smoking decreases collagen production here - How Smoking Affects Your Skin Collagen »
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