Getting older comes with a wealth of amazing things - like more self-assurance, life experience, and that sage wisdom that can only come from a few trips around the sun. Unfortunately, it also comes with some downsides - like collagen creation in your skin slowing down. While it's just one of those indisputable facts of life, thankfully there are ways to slow down this process. Here's our ultimate guide on how to increase collagen in your skin.
So, what exactly is collagen?
Collagen is one of the most important building blocks for healthy skin, it's important to take care of your natural collagen while you have it. It is a protein made up of amino acids, and accounts for roughly 25%-35% of the protein in our bodies. As a structural protein, it is also the main component of skin and connective tissue.
Why does collagen decrease?
As we age, the body naturally starts producing less collagen. However, there are a few lifestyle factors that contribute to the early break-down of collagen in the skin. Over time, this accumulation of damage causes fine lines, uneven skin tone, and sagging skin.
Exposing the skin to ultraviolet rays is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Unfortunately, it’s pretty unavoidable - every time you leave the house you’re exposed to UV rays from the sun. On sunny days, you’re more at risk of surface burning from UVB rays, which damage the skin on a cellular level. On overcast days, UVA rays still penetrate through windows (and even your clothes) to damage the skin’s building blocks and break down collagen.
While it’s well known that smoking is bad for your health, its damaging effect on your skin is less talked about. Tobacco smoke contains over 3,800 different chemical compounds, and many of these can damage tissue directly or interfere with the body’s natural chemical processes which keep tissues healthy.
Many studies indicate that smoking reduces the normal rate of collagen synthesis, making collagen creation slow down faster. A 2002 study also showed that smoking reduces the rate of cellular turnover, which impedes how fast skin can heal itself. Another 2009 study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings showed that the chemicals in tobacco smoke can speed up the production of an enzyme called matrix metalloproteinase (MMP). In healthy skin, this enzyme helps to break down old collagen fibres so that new collagen fibres can be formed. However, when this enzyme is accelerated, it causes the over-destruction of collagen in the skin.
Diet plays a huge role in how the body produces collagen. Eating too much sugar damages the production of collagen in the skin through a process called glycation. Digested sugar molecules attach themselves to collagen molecules, which causes collagen to degrade. Since collagen is a protein, consuming a diet without enough protein is also detrimental for your skin’s collagen levels.
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial nutrients for skin health, as it will boost collagen production in skin cells. Eating a diet rich in this vitamin can contribute towards rebuilding collagen in the skin.
How to increase collagen in the skin?
Collagen loss is a natural part of ageing, so there’s no way to prevent it entirely (sorry). However, there are ways to boost the process. One of the simplest ways to rebuild collagen in the skin is by using targeted ingredients that stimulate collagen levels.
Skincare ingredients that increase collagen production
As its futuristic-sounding name suggests, Matrixyl 3000 is an incredibly innovative ingredient in anti-ageing skin care. Also known by its scientific name ‘KTTKS’, Matrixyl 3000 is a synthetic peptide shown to increase collagen in the skin (and there’s research to back it up).
Like collagen, peptides are made up of amino acid chains. In Matrixyl 3000, these amino acids are attached to a fatty acid molecule, which makes them fat-soluble and better at penetrating into the skin. When these amino acids are absorbed into the skin, they can help to supplement collagen loss by producing more collagen. To introduce this innovative compound into your routine, try the Poko Regenerating Collagen Moisturiser with Matrixyl 3000 and CBD.
As mentioned earlier, vitamin C is one of the most nutrients for maintaining your skin health. While eating enough this vitamin is important for collagen production, using targeted skin treatments with vitamin C is also a highly effective way to boost your skin’s collagen production.
Environmental damage caused by free-radicals and UV rays break down collagen in the skin faster. Vitamin C, like in citrus fruits, also protects the skin from free-radicals and UV damage, by amping up the power of your SPF.
Look for products that contain nourishing plant extracts to get your skin's daily dose of vitamin C. The Poko Correcting Eye Cream contains fig extract which is rich in vitamin C to fight free radicals, boost collagen and brighten skin.
Aloe vera is particularly effective for stimulating collagen growth in the skin. This is thanks to a cocktail of plant steroids, enzymes, growth hormones, antioxidants and amino acids.
Like Matrixyl 3000, aloe vera contains amino acids which are highly beneficial for skin health and for producing collagen. One of the reasons why aloe vera juice is so helpful for healing cuts and burns is because it can increase collagen in wounded areas, to speed up skin healing.
Aloe vera is also rich in antioxidants like vitamin A, C, D and E that protect skin from free-radical damage, which cause the break-down of collagen in the skin. All Poko products are formulated with a base of aloe vera juice to moisturise and nourish the skin. To rebuild collagen and brighten tired eyes, try the Poko Correcting Eye Cream with aloe vera and hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a really important ingredient so be sure to look out for it.
Retinoids are one of the most powerful ingredients for reducing fine lines and rebuilding collagen in the skin. As well as boosting collagen, it also increases cell turnover in the skin for a healthy glow.
However, retinol can also be quite a volatile ingredient. If you're not careful, you could end up with flaking, irritation, dryness and increased risk of sun damage if you get too much sun exposure. We recommend introducing retinol into your routine slowly, starting off at just 2-3 times a week. You should also pair your retinol with soothing products that care for the skin to prevent dehydration and irritation. All Poko products contain aloe vera to fight redness and irritation while also stimulating the parts of the body that produces collagen.
So there you have it there many ways to boost your collagen levels. You could also try buying collagen supplements. Collagen supplements may not be the most natural way to boost your collagen levels but they will work none the less. Collagen helps with your skin elasticity. Just make sure that products you are buying actually have aloe vera and hyaluronic acid in them to be sure you’re getting your money’s worth.