It’s almost impossible to discuss any skincare topic without including collagen. And rightly so, as it’s one of the most important structural proteins in our skin, responsible for youthful, firmer-looking skin.
Collagen is one of the main proteins in our bodies and helps to make up our bones, tendons, cartilage, skin, teeth, and even our internal organs. So keeping it safe and abundant will go a long way in keeping our bodies and skin healthy.
Unfortunately, collagen production slows naturally as we get older, but collagen can also be depleted prematurely, due to stress and environmental pollutants. When collagen weakens, this can lead to external, visible characteristics like wrinkles, fine lines, and sagging skin.
WHAT HURTS COLLAGEN
Though it does naturally degrade a bit as we age, collagen is usually damaged by oxidative stress, which comes from both internal and external sources. Once collagen is oxidized, the links between these proteins are broken and they start to lose structure.
Cells produce antioxidants to fight this, but if these antioxidants are overwhelmed by stressors, collagen can be damaged, moisture may be lost, and DNA can even be damaged too.
The worst offenders to collagen are oxidants that come from UV light from the sun. When these UV rays interact with the molecules in your skin, they can mix with oxygen to create reactive oxygen species (ROS), some of the most powerful oxidizers out there.
Prolonged exposure to this over the years can not only accelerate the aging process, it can even lead to possible disease, like skin cancer.
FREE RADICALS - WHAT THE HECK ARE THEY?
While you’re trying to keep your skin plump and firm, free radicals are damaging it. So what are they?
Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage your skin cells. They are missing an electron, so they’re on the hunt for one. Like a hungry seagull trying to steal your lunch, free radicals are looking to steal an electron from stable molecules in order to balance themselves out.
That electron theft is how the free radicals skin siege begins. And this cycle speeds up skin aging.
SMOKE & POLLUTION
Exposure to smoke is another main offender to your body’s collagen. When heat from burning wood or tobacco mixes with the oxygen in the air, it produces ROS that causes similar damage to UV rays, since they are full of free radicals.
This isn’t just limited to tobacco or smoke from fire. The gasses and molecules that make up air pollution are full of oxidants that damage the skin and the cells within it. The burning of fossil fuels can also create ROS.
STRESS AND NUTRITION
These are internal oxidant sources, such as overeating, having poor nutrition, and consuming alcohol. Eating clean and minimizing alcohol isn't always easy, especially when your environment and lifestyle is challenging.
As a 57 year old woman who’s lived in health-conscious cities such as Los Angeles as well as smaller southern states where diets are not always the healthiest, I have seen the results. And I’m not just referring to occasional crows feet, but the firmness of skin all over the body like arms, neck and knees.
A life of processed and fried foods and too much alcohol will break down the body’s natural matrix of skin defense and collagen production. And all the facials and spa treatments in the world can't reverse it.
It’s why I do so many videos on social media about eating whole foods and choosing stairs or escalators whenever possible, as these choices give your body the radiant glow and long-lasting health goals we are all striving for!
NEUTRALIZING FREE RADICALS AND ROS
The best way to prevent damage to your collagen is to avoid all exposure to ROS, but that’s not really possible unless you want to stay inside for the rest of your life.
The common sense steps to prevent damage include wearing SPF and avoiding tobacco smoke, but there are other steps you can take to ensure that your tissues contain enough antioxidants to neutralize free radicals and ROS that can overwhelm our cells with stress.
Eating a diet with plenty of nutrients that can neutralize free radicals and other ROS is one of the best ways to keep your cells and collagen protected. You can speak to a nutritionist or your doctor to make sure which foods and nutrients are right for you, but for the most part, a diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables should be enough to give your body the antioxidants it needs to keep your collagen and cells safe.
Your skin is your body’s main line of defense. Protecting your collagen not only keeps it smooth and radiant, it's also a great way to keep your body’s largest organ (your skin) in top notch condition, able to effectively protect your body from pollutants and toxins.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you to protect your skin from the effects of ROS and free radicals. One of the simplest ways to do so is by applying a good SPF of at least 30 every day (like our MINERAL TINT SPF 31) to protect your skin from UV rays and the damage they can cause.
It’s important to also keep up your skincare routine and to ensure you’re using products with powerhouse ingredients full of antioxidants, like Vitamins C and E, which you can find in many of IN YOUR FACE SKINCARE’s natural products. These products were engineered specifically to be safe and effective for all skin types while keeping skin healthy and protected from ROS and free radicals.
Check out our store here and if you have any questions about which products are right for your skin, take our SKIN QUIZ or contact us. You can also call us at (727) 286-7684, we’d love to hear from you!