I must admit, occasionally I fall for the bells and whistles and scientific hype advertisers promote to sell anti-aging skin products. The magic sparkle endorsed by celebrities with beautiful packages, all claiming to be the fountain of youth – me and billions of other people.
Recently, it seems that “collagen’” is the word that sells, anything and everything as the new anti-aging cure. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body. It gives body tissues their form, providing firmness and strength. Your ligaments, tendons, bones and skeletal muscles are all held together by collage. It is even the main component of your hair, skin and nails. As we age, the body’s ability to make collagen protein slows down.
The word “collagen” is derived from the Greek word for glue. The strong fibers of collagen weave throughout the body, providing strength and support, holding the body together like glue. Next to water, collagen is the most important structural substance in our body.
Collagen is a huge molecule, which is far too large to be absorbed through the skin. Basic biochemistry teaches us that it can not be somehow absorbed through the skin from a cream and incorporated in the skin’s own collagen matrix. It also can not be taken as an oral supplement, as it is water-soluble and is easily broken down by our stomach acid.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix, pill or cream to replace collagen. What actually does work? Provide your body with nutrients which support collagen production. Yes, we are back to the basics, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is a critical nutrient for collagen production in the skin. Superfoods like peppers, oranges and grapefruits, dark leafy greens, peaches, kiwi and tomatoes. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as cold water fish like salmon and tuna help keep the skin supple. The sulfur in garlic helps your body produce collagen while the taurine and lipoid acid supports damaged collagen fibers. Tomatoes, particularly cooked, inhibit enzymes known as collagenases which destroy collagen. No surprise here, not smoking and staying hydrated are also essential to protecting and encouraging collagen production. The quickest way to destroy collagen is sun exposure. Think about the wrinkle-free, smooth skin on your bottom. Why is it so much more youthful than the skin on your face, chest, neck and arms? The answer is as plain as the wrinkle on your face, your bottom rarely sees the light of day. Suddenly, Meghan Trainor ‘s song takes on an entirely different meaning, and it is all about that base. No ifs, ands, or but’s about it. And don’t hate me for this one: that my friends, is the bottom line.