Remember those days when you couldn’t wait for all that “annoying” baby fat to leave your face? And then one day it did, taking all its buoyancy with it, and now you’re stuck wondering how you can ever get that plumpness to ever come back?
Enter collagen. The stuff that makes skin bouncy, plump, and youthful. Unfortunately, in your 20’s, your body’s natural production of collagen and elastin begins to slow, which can result in skin looking thin, saggy, dull, and – you guessed it – wrinkly. Luckily there are some natural ways to starting bringin’ that collagen back!
The verdict is still out as to whether ingesting collagen supplements can truly produce the beauty effects most labels promise, but studies have suggested it’s worth a try! Your body uses amino acids to build connective tissues and skin, and collagen is essentially that.
In one study, after an eight-week trial, subjects taking a bioactive collagen peptide showed a reduction in eye wrinkle volume over their placebo counterparts. More research is needed to confirm that collagen can withhold its chemical structure through digestion to reach targeted areas, but there’s no evidence saying it can’t!
Facial yoga has had a fair bit of controversy, but a recent study found that doing facial yoga did, in fact, give the face a more youthful appearance. Subjects followed a strict 30-minute daily facial exercise program over the course of 20 weeks and the results showed women looking an average of 3 years younger.
The premise of facial yoga is that it enlarges and strengthens facial muscles, which essentially pad the skin over top. What does this have to do with collagen, you might ask? Similar to facial massage, anything that’s increasing circulation is also increasing the nutrients flowing to collagen production. Sometimes you either have time or you have money, but if you at least have the former – facial yoga could be worth your time!
Vitamin A is one of the most important ingredients in skin care. You’ve probably heard of prescription strength retinoids and over-the-counter retinol and there’s a reason why these products are so widely on the market – they work! At the end of the day though, retinoids are essentially a derivative of Vitamin A, which works to penetrate the skin deeply and stimulate collagen production.
Luckily for us natural beauty fans, rosehip seed oil is high in retinoic acid – Vitamin A – and a great powerhouse for overall anti-aging.
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Facial massage is a technique that can boost blood circulation, tighten and tone muscles, and stimulate overall collagen production. And believe it or not, you don’t need a professional aesthetician to do it! Just by adding a couple minutes to your bedtime routine, you can help relax muscles and counteract repeat movements made throughout the day. Just be sure to have clean hands, a good slip oil or serum, and massage skin gently avoiding the precious eye area.
Speaking of powerhouses, we’d be remiss not to mention Vitamin C! Known as the antioxidant to remedy almost all bodily woes, vitamin C also plays a key role in supporting collagen synthesis in the skin. Incorporated internally or externally, vitamin C is the cornerstone of any natural beauty regiment.
This isn’t new news: what you eat is just as important as what you put on your skin! There are, however, certain foods that can aid you in your mission to boost collage in the face. Consider adding the following to your grocery list:
- Bone broth – essentially cooked collagen and also great for preventing inflammation
- Dark leafy greens – protect against free radicals that destroy collagen
- Red vegetables – the lycopene in tomatoes, red beets, and red peppers protect against sun damage and boost collagen as well
- Berries – fight free radicals and boost collagen
- Omega-3s – the fatty acids in salmon, tuna, mackerel, and even grass-fed beef help protect the membranes around skin cells, keeping them plump
- Orange produce – carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of edible vitamin A
- Garlic – contains lipoic acid and taurine, which both help to rebuild collagen
Protect Your Skin
Of course, we all love that sun-kissed glow that makes us look like we just got back from a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, but as it turns out, el sol is not your skin’s best friend! Skin cancer aside, the sun is the number one cause of skin’s aging.
So naturally, one of the best things you can do for it is cover it up! SPF 30 is really your minimum here, and applying sunscreen daily can not only prevent the breaking down of skin’s collagen but also support the reversal of aging, allowing the skin to recover naturally without having to fight further damage.
Exfoliation is one of the most important steps in any skincare routine as it can slough off dead skin cells and encourage younger ones to regenerate underneath. It’s essentially replicating the cell turnover your skin will do naturally, but just asking it to pick up the pace! Exfoliation can also help whatever collagen-building products you apply afterward to penetrate the skin more effectively.
So rather than asking your products to do somersaults over layers no longer active, you’re giving them a straight runway to land on the healthy ones, resulting in more youthful skin faster. Try making your own exfoliator at home, like this one with honey and pumpkin!
Botaneri “Level-up” Tip
Throw on a cute hat! Not only will it help shield the sun from your face and scalp – your scalp is skin too! – but it will also protect those luscious locks from drying out as well.
About the author
After working for fashion publications and brands in New York City, Erica followed her passion for travel, bouncing for several years around Europe and Latin America. While traveling, she gravitated naturally to conscious living and all things DIY. As a writer, photographer, editor, and producer, her work has been published on VanityFair.com and in Town & Country magazine. The self-proclaimed “Possibility Junkie” can usually be found around Washington, D.C. or Berlin, Germany.