First things first: what is collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it’s essential to the support and repair of your skin and muscles. The long, fibrous protein is rope-like in appearance, giving the skin strength and elasticity. Collagen is often described as “scaffolding for the skin,” providing a supportive base structure for plump, healthy, and youthful skin. Many smoothing, firming, and brightening skincare products promote collagen as it promises to give your skin that extra “oomph.”
Where is collagen produced?
Collagen is naturally produced in the body, but as with many proteins, the level of collagen that the body produces decreases with age. Collagen decline typically begins in your 20s and decreases by about 1% each year. Women experience a further dramatic reduction in the production of collagen with the onset of menopause, and as the skin’s firm “scaffolding” diminishes, fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin textures become more prominent.
What can I do to support my natural collagen production?
- Snack smart. The best sources of amino acids (the building blocks that the body uses to create proteins like collagen) include egg whites, meats, cheeses, and cabbage. Other supporting nutrients for collagen production include vitamin C (strawberries, broccoli, oranges, and peppers), copper (shellfish, nuts, and red meat), and vitamin A (egg yolks, carrots, and sweet potatoes).
- Don’t smoke. We all know by now that smoking damages our skin, but specifically, smoking unleashes free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the skin – further limiting collagen production.
- Limit sugar. While we also can’t resist indulging in a Christmas cookie (or two) around the holidays, excessive sugar consumption may lead to glycation, a process that can cause collagen to become weak and brittle.
Dr. Barnett is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist, meaning that she has received extensive training in her field and is better equipped to address your skincare concerns. At the Atlanta Skin Wellness Center, she hopes to be a reliable source of current, scientific information for her patients and looks forwards to earning your trust, too. Make an appointment by calling (404) 446-4840.