What is Collagen and Why is it Important?

3 min read
22 May, 2020

All you really need to know about your skin and collagen is summed up here. 

Most of how our skin looks on the outside is determined by what’s happening on the inside. And if what’s happening on the inside isn’t going well, and this may be jarring to hear, it can’t be solved with the latest skin lab lotion or age-defying serum. 

A lot of what you see happening in the mirror (and what you might be feeling in your body) can be attributed to what’s happening to your collagen as you age.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body. It helps provide cushion for your joints, strength for your bones, recovery for your muscles, and firmness for your skin. In fact, it makes up about 75 percent of your skin. If there was ever a fountain of youth, collagen would be it.

But starting somewhere around age 25, your body breaks down more collagen than it makes.

This is why you start to see fine lines and wrinkles in your skin, along with other symptoms of collagen loss like joint pain, stiff tendons, brittle nails, and even gastrointestinal issues.

Look and feel better, head to toe.

The real key to age-defying skin is healthy and plentiful collagen in the body, not smeared on the body (the body can’t absorb collagen through the skin anyway – the peptide molecules are too big).

In fact, there’s a big chance your skin will look and feel better not being overwhelmed with a stockpile of serums. The more-is-more lotion and potion approach to improving your skin and staving off the effects of aging deserves to be examined. What your skin (and joints, tendons, and muscles) really needs is a chance to continue producing enough quality collagen so that your body can do its job.

And here's the kicker – most of those lotions and creams only address skincare as it relates to your face. Paying attention to the care and feeding of your collagen production isn't locale-specific—it will improve your skin head to toe. And it will help reduce joint pain and stiffness among the many other benefits

How to maintain the collagen fountain of youth.

There are ways to improve your collagen production and practically stop aging in its tracks, my friend. Below is everything you need to know about increasing and protecting your skin’s vital nutrient.

Avoid sun exposure. The number one enemy of collagen quality and production is the sun. It literally sucks the life and longevity out of your skin. The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause collagen to break down more rapidly than it would even with normal aging. If you can't avoid it wear a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. And a stylish brimmed hat.

Eat like your skin depends on it. One of the biggest reasons your body may not be producing enough collagen is your diet. Your body uses the amino acids found in quality proteins like grass-fed beef, organic chicken, dairy products, and pasture-raised eggs to synthesize the collagen it needs.

Your body also needs vitamin C found in leafy greens, citrus, and fruits like strawberries—collagen can’t be synthesized without vitamin C.

Drink up. Your skin is 64 percent water. When it doesn't get enough, it will crack like dirt in a draught, which makes wrinkles and sagging skin even more pronounced. This may mean cutting back on the cocktails and investing in some bubbly Topo Chico instead.

Get your C. If you aren’t getting enough in your daily diet, you’ll need to supplement to help your collagen production.

Bonus: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells against environmental free radicals like pollution, toxic metals, cigarette smoke, and pesticides thus preventing further damage to your collagen. 

Take collagen peptides. The best way to supplement waning collagen and not-so-ideal nutrition days is by taking quality collagen peptides. Studies have shown they can improve skin barrier function and increase collagen production and quality after just 8 weeks of daily use.

Note: this does not get you out of the whole vitamin C thing. Still gotta have that too. 

Go to sleep.  Getting enough sleep promotes collagen formation in the deepest layers of your skin, and those who get enough sleep each night (7-9 hours) have superior moisture retention. 

Stress less. Cortisol can break down your skin’s collagen and elastin. Be sure your self-care routine includes things like meditation or yoga regularly—both have been proven to help reduce stress levels in your body.

It’s all connected.

A lot of what will increase and protect your body’s collagen are the same things that can help you feel better physically, sleep better, have more energy, and live healthier and happier. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!