Why Does Collagen Production Slow Down with Age?
July 24, 2015
As we age, a number of different changes take place in the skin. It begins to get looser, starting to sag and lose firmness, form wrinkles, and often develop brown pigmentation. It’s not possible to stop aging altogether, but there are options for slowing down the process significantly and keeping your skin looking youthful and vibrant as long as possible. If you’ve been looking into anti-aging products, then you’ve probably heard collagen used as a buzzword in the skincare industry lately, with many products claiming to support, strengthen, or create additional collagen, but what exactly does collagen do for the skin, and why does production start slowing down with age?
What is Collagen and What Does it Do?Collagen is a connective, supportive protein that supports the skin and forms other connective tissue. Collagen forms the foundation of the skin, giving it elasticity and firmness. The structure provided by collagen gives the skin a smooth, glowing look that is the hallmark of youth.
Abundance in YouthYouthful skin is beautiful—glowing, firm, and smooth. This is largely due to the abundance of collagen in the skin, and once any acne has settled down, young people can expect some of the best skin of their life. This is the best time to start practicing good skincare habits and protecting existing collagen—a topic we’ll discuss more a little later.
Collagen Depletion and DegradationUnfortunately, as with other processes in the body, collagen loss is simply a fact of life that starts taking effect when you’re as young as 25. The body gradually begins to slow down the production of collagen, triggering the aging process. How fast this process occurs depends on many different factors, including genetics and lifestyle. When collagen starts to break down and become less plentiful, the unsavory signs of aging start—wrinkles, sagging skin, a dull complexion, and more. Once you reach middle age, much of your existing collagen will have broken down, and less collagen will be in production to replace it. So how can you fight this process and keep your skin looking young longer?
Protecting Existing CollagenNo matter what age you are, protecting the collagen you still have should be a priority in maintaining beautiful skin. You can work toward this goal in a couple of ways. The first major step is to protect your skin from the sun. The ultraviolet (UV) rays break down collagen in the skin over time, causing it to lose elasticity and age prematurely. Using sunscreen and practicing good habits like avoiding the sun during peak hours can help prevent skin cancer and protect your collagen. Diet is another factor that can have an effect on protecting existing collagen. Sugar breaks down the protein, resulting in dull, wrinkled skin. By keeping sugars in the diet to a minimum, you’ll see numerous health benefits, as well as aesthetic perks. Finally, a good skincare routine can help protect your collagen. Practice good washing, moisturizing, and exfoliating habits, and make sure you’re diligent about what products you use, including makeup.
Encouraging Collagen ProductionThere are some subtle ways you can help your body produce more collagen over time, but don’t count on these methods to make a dramatic impact on your skin’s appearance. Treatments to try at home that might boost collagen production include:
- Peptide products
- Vitamin C serum
- Amino acid skincare products