As we mature, we can see many changes in our skin. The main issue being that lines and wrinkles can start appearing more, and the firmness in the skin is no longer there, so the contours of the face can begin to fall. The reason that this happens to our skin is due to the depletion of collagen. Below we are look at the importance of collagen to our ageing skin.
Collagen and ageing skin
Collagen is protein found in lower layers of the skin. Made up of small fibres that sit together under the skin’s surface to make the skin plump and firm. It is like the scaffolding that is holding the skin up. Without it, our skin will fall, loose firmness, and lines and wrinkles appear more apparent and/or deeper.
Our skin is made up of 2 main layers – the epidermis on the top and the dermis underneath. When our collagen is abundant in the skin, the 2 layers should connect together. However, as the collagen gets less, the connection is lost and the epidermis slides over the top of the dermis, with a very lose connection. Think of it as a rug on a wooden floor – it never seems to stay in the same place for long. This loss of connection causes the skin to sag and wrinkles to appear.
These skin changes may become worse during menopause, due to the reduction of oestrogen in the body at this time, which accelerates the depletion of collagen. Oestrogen supports the production of collagen, so without it, production is obviously less.
Elastin is also a protein found in the skin, alongside the collagen fibres. It gives our skin elasticity. It has the outstanding characteristic of being able to snap back into place and keep its original shape. Boosting collagen is no good unless you are boosting elastin as well, as they work together to fill in the gaps and keep the skin in place at the same time. Boost both of these proteins and you have more chance at a more youthful appearance and stronger skin.
Fibroblasts are the particular skin cell that produce and boost collagen. We want these cells to be healthy, well-nourished, and ready to divide, so that they continue to produce collagen. Unfortunately, in adults they rarely divide unless stimulated to do so by a wound healing process or inflammatory response – ie, tissue damage. When there is a wound on or just below the skins surface, these fibroblasts rush to this point, start dividing to heal the wound and therefore collagen is produced. Without the tissue damage the fibroblasts become lazy and don’t bother to produce much collagen as we get older.
So, is everything lost once our skin starts to age or when we hit menopause?! Not at all! There are many things we can do to help increase the production of collagen in the skin and look more youthful for longer.
Firstly, review your skincare routine and change if needed.
We need to look at increasing hydration to the skin. As not only is collagen depleting, but the production of the natural oils in our skin start to decrease too. Drier skin makes lines and wrinkles much more prominent. So keeping the skin well hydrated, is key to looking younger and brighter. Adding a hyaluronic acid to your skincare routine is a great idea. Hyaluronic acid not only adds essential moisture to your skin, but also helps to draw up water from the lower layers of the skin, to the surface! Ensure, also, that you are drinking plenty of water. Drinking well also aids in the hydration of the skin and helps your hyaluronic acid work better.
Using a retinol product is also essential at this time in our lives. Retinol, which is a derivative of Vitamin A, stimulates the fibroblasts to start producing collagen again! This is the only proven ingredient to bring about the production of collagen in the skin. Retinol can also be used to treat increased pigmentation in the skin and acne, which are 2 other skin conditions that can occur during menopause! Use retinol with caution to begin with as it can irritate the skin – especially sensitive skins – so ensure you know how to use them properly. My super simple guide here will help.
Increase your level of collagen by either taking a collagen supplement or adding certain foods to your diet. Tofu, black beans, kidney beans, nuts and seeds all contain good amounts of the protein glycine, while watercress has the protein, proline in abundance. Both these proteins help boost the production of collagen in the body.
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