HOW TO REDUCE WRINKLES AND BOOST COLLAGEN PRODUCTION
4 MIN READ
There are two types of aging: intrinsic aging; the natural aging process that takes place over time, regardless of outside influences, and extrinsic aging; which is a result of harmful external factors. Wrinkles are a natural occurrence, and are a normal part of intrinsic aging. And, we would argue vehemently that some wrinkles are downright beautiful. Smile and laugh lines show traces of a life well lived, and should be celebrated.
If your goal is to age amazingly well – perhaps, even better than your friends (hehe) – your goal with wrinkles shouldn’t be to eradicate them entirely, it should be to reduce and slow their appearance by protecting your skin from the extrinsic aging factors.
When it comes to wrinkles, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is genetics (or intrinsic factors) are one of the main determinants of your skin’s texture and structure. If you’re predisposed to early collagen loss or skin laxity, a healthy diet and lifestyle alone may not prevent wrinkles from showing up before you’d like them to.
Beyond genetics, your diet, sleep-wake cycles, sun exposure, and lifestyle play a major role in how your skin ages – and those are all in your control. In order to prevent premature aging and preserve the youth and health of your skin, you need to take a long, hard look at those parts of your life. Before we dive into how you can upgrade those areas, let’s look at what causes wrinkles, and thus premature aging.
What causes wrinkles?
There are two important proteins that support the structure of your skin: collagen and elastin. Collagen proteins make up 75-80% of your skin’s dermis – also known as the outer layer of your skin. Collagen is the protein that gives your skin it’s fullness, firmness, and strengthens its overall structure. Elastin, the other key protein in your skin’s health and appearance, is what gives your skin its flexibility and elasticity.
Over time, these proteins weaken and deplete, which results in your skin showing signs of extrinsic aging, like wrinkles and skin laxity. In short, wrinkles are formed by the atrophy of the dermis due to the loss of collagen, degeneration in the elastic fiber network, and loss of hydration.
Intrinsic aging aside, what causes the depletion of collagen and elastin? Let’s take a look at two main causes of collagen degradation and what you can do to right their wrongs:
Two main causes of extrinsic skin aging (and what you can do)
One of the most damaging factors for your skin is UV exposure. Ultraviolet rays create free radicals which attack our cells and can amplify photo-degradation and collagen loss. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid the sun altogether, but it does mean being responsible about your exposure.
How to protect your skin from UV rays:
- Limit your time in the sun.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays whenever you are outside.
- Additionally, you can double down on supporting your skin by incorporating UV protective ingredients such as polypodium leucotomos, lycopene, acerola cherry, lutein, and citrus bioflavonoids into your diet, thus aiding the internal protection against UV induced damage.
Lack of Sleep
The second cause of extrinsic skin aging worth discussing is sleep – or lack thereof. Sleep is one of the most important things we do for so many reasons. To start, sleep is the time when our cells regenerate. Sleep also plays a role in restoring immune system function, and when our immune system is compromised it can directly affect our skin’s collagen production.
Lack of sleep can also elevate cortisol, which inhibits fibroblast function and increases matrix metalloproteinases. These events are known to accelerate the degradation of both collagen and elastin proteins, which causes premature wrinkles, inhibits your skin’s growth factors, and weakens skin elasticity.
Luckily there are some tried and true methods you can use to help to get that beauty sleep.
How to take back your sleep:
- Create sacred evening routines that help you unwind before bed.
- Next, ensure your sleeping environment is optimal. That means cool, dark, and quiet. The darkness helps promote your body’s own production of melatonin, and the cool and quiet support uninterrupted sleep.
- Finally, taking sustainable supplements, like ULTIMATE PM, can support relaxation and healthy sleep-wake cycles without creating a dependency.
In addition to these two factors, fueling your body with antioxidant rich and nutrient dense foods, and avoiding skin stressors like excess sugar, alcohol, and tobacco, will aid in preventing premating extrinsic aging, keeping your beautiful skin supple, radiant, and strong as you grow wiser.
Finally, above and beyond all this, remember that you are an exquisite, radiant, beautiful human being and that is something to celebrate – wrinkles and all!