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Why collagen declines and what you can do about it

 

Collagen is all the rage in the beauty world right now.  It's a a crucial element of your skin. This protein is responsible for giving your face that youthful bounce, and as it declines, fine lines appear.  Collagen literally holds us together—it makes up 30% of the body's protein and 70% of the skin's protein.  In fact, the No. 1 cause of skin ageing is the loss of collagen. So how does it decline? There are a few reasons—some are in your control and others aren't.

Below are the factors that deplete your collagen levels, plus what you can do to support them naturally:

1. UV damage

Do we need more reasons why we need to protect our skin from sun damage. There's a proven link between UV damage and loss of collagen. One study exposed collagen to UV light and found that there was a "significant decrease" in collagen structure afterward. UV rays damage collagen through various mechanisms, including DNA damage to the cells that make collagen as well as the production of free radicals that can damage collagen directly.

2. Age

Whilst the exact age collagen declines is different for everyone,  production starts to dip in most people's bodies from the time they're in their late teens or early 20s and decreases about 1% a year

Regardless, the process is inevitable and, unfortunately, outside of your control. Our bodies always balance collagen production and degradation. When we are young, our bodies produce more collagen than we break down. That balance tips the wrong way with age since tissue regeneration decreases.

3. Smoking 

You've likely heard by now that smoking is, uh, not good for you and causes premature ageing. Well the main reason it does so is because it directly damages collagen. In fact, smoking is the "big one" for collagen damage as is decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to tissues. One study on twins found that those who smoked had more wrinkles, crow's feet, and facial lines than their non-smoking counterparts.

4. Inflammation-triggering diets

Inflammation is one of the main enemies of any tissue. I like to call it 'inflamm-ageing'. Inflammatory diets, which often include eating plans that are high in sugar, simple carbohydrates, and processed meats, activate the immune system and promote inflammation throughout the body. And this may interfere with wound healing, including healing of environmentally damaged skin cells.  Sugar, in particular, can be tough on collagen. High sugar levels can lead to hardening and fragmentation of collagen, weakening the skin foundation, and promoting premature skin ageing.

5. Stress

Research shows that stress can spark inflammation and, again, that can lower your ability to naturally produce collagen. Stress also causes an increase in hormones like cortisol, which research has found can decrease the production of collagen. Less collagen is produced in high-stress states since more of the body's resources are used to combat stress and the inflammation it produces.

6. Genetics

Genetics are an important factor in determining how much collagen your body makes and breaks down.  So, if your parents and grandparents had great-looking skin for years, the odds are high your skin will be similar as you age. Of course, you don't have control over this, which is why we recommend focusing on things you can control like diet, stress management, and UV protection.

 

How can you support it naturally? 

There's only so much you can do to slow the natural decline of collagen in your skin. But knowing the factors you can control, like avoiding UV damage and doing your best to support your collagen production—by taking a supplement—can go a long way toward giving you healthy-looking, firm skin in the future. 

Antioxidants like vitamin C fight free radical damage. More specifically, whether taken internally or applied to the skin, antioxidants can reduce collagen breakdown by decreasing the amount of free radicals in the skin. So alongside, supporting a healthy and robust microbiome, consuming a diet rich in whole foods and vegetables can go a long way to support collagen production. 

 

At Jacqueline Evans, we pack our moisturisers with antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and C to support your body's ability to prevent free radical damage and promote collagen production. If you're ready to start supporting your skins' collagen levels you can get your moisturiser here. 

 


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