Why does skin wrinkle when we age?
Normal healthy skin has a nice epidermis with a smooth outer layer that acts as a barrier to water and environmental injury. Skin colour and tone is even and unblemished. Components such as collagen that make the skin look firm and plump.
Elastin is what makes the skin elastic while glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) keep the skin hydrated. These three are all abundant when we are young.
So, what causes the skin to look wrinkled? That is a result of a combination of both intrinsic aging and extrinsic aging.
Extrinsic aging occurs in addition to intrinsic aging as a result of sun and environmental damage (smoking, environmental pollution). Extrinsic aging shows up as thickening of the outer layer, pre-cancerous changes such as lesions called actinic keratosis, skin cancer (e.g. basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, lentigo maligna melanoma), freckle and sun spot formation, and exaggerated loss of collagen, elastin, and glycosaminoglycans.
Alone or in concert, these processes give the skin the appearance of roughness, uneven tone, brown patches, thin skin and deep wrinkles.
Can collagen help to combat wrinkles?
Are there ways to prevent or at least slow down wrinkle formation?
Of course, you’ve heard of collagen containing skincare products. They are everywhere.
In the last few years, collagen-containing supplements appeared as well. Do they really work and are there other ways to protect your skin?
The verdict is still out on whether collagen supplements significantly affect the skin’s appearance. As with most skincare treatments, results likely vary. And like with skincare products, a lot depends on the quality of the product. The purer it is, the better it works.
Obviously, collagen supplements are digested and absorbed by the body. Many people take them to help with joint pain and now collagen supplements are becoming more popular as treatment for aging skin. As a matter of fact, a study on the oral supplementation of a certain form of collagen shows a “significantly higher skin elasticity level.”
So, what is this amazing form of collagen? It is collagen hydrolysate, which is derived from gelatin and therefore not vegan-friendly.
Another healthy way to reap these benefits is with collagen boosting foods like hot peppers (vitamin C), salmon (omega-3), carrots (vitamin A), white tea (anti oxidants) and kidney beans (precursor for hyaluronic acid).
The best way to protect skin from premature aging is prevention. Protect your skin against damaging sun rays (while making sure to still catch enough to at least produce enough vitamin D in summer), eat a healthy diet, and keep stress in check for great looking skin now and in years to come.