We've all heard that "Black don't crack". It ultimately comes from the belief that due to the extra doses of melanin that we've been blessed with, our skin doesn't age as quickly as, well, others do. Yet when it comes to taking preventative measures to keep our skin as ageless as possible, for as long as we can, it's also important to keep our collagen levels up. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our system and, thanks to the approximately 16 different kinds that we have around connective tissues like tendons, teeth and bones, when we've got a good amount of it in our body, it helps to keep our joints healthy, increase our muscle mass, give us longer hair and stronger nails, increase our protein and offer our skin extra hydration and elasticity.
So, as you can see, collagen is essential. Unfortunately, with just about every birthday, the fibers that make collagen up start to become thinner and looser. That's why it's imperative that we become as proactive as possible about boosting our collagen levels over time. While again, collagen is necessary for a myriad of health-related reasons, today, I'm mostly going to focus on how it can get your skin (and hair and nails) right, so that you can be as timeless as possible for as long as possible. Here are 10 tips to make that happen.
1. Become a Huge Fan of Vitamin C
If you want to produce more collagen, it's absolutely essential that you get more Vitamin C into your system. The reason why is because it's the nutrient that actually helps your body to produce more collagen; it does this by boosting up the synthesis of collagen. You can get more collagen into your body by eating foods that are loaded with Vitamin C such as citrus fruit, chili peppers, kale, broccoli, kiwi, guava, tomatoes, potatoes, mangoes and cauliflower or by taking a Vitamin C supplement. Oh, and if you want to get some Vitamin C into your skin from "the outside in", a Vitamin C serum certainly can't hurt either. Oprah Daily published a list of some of the best current Vitamin C serums that are on the market. You can check it out here.
2. Eat Less Sugar and Caffeine
If you've been trying to cut back on coffee and sugar, here's a major motivator to do just that. While sugar actually breaks down collagen, caffeine then turns around and reduces the amount of new collagen that forms within your body. That's why, as far as your sweet tooth goes, it really is better to consume more honey. It contains a type of alpha hydroxy acid known as gluconic acid that helps to stimulate the production of collagen and elastin. And if you feel as if you need a bit of a caffeine fix, even after what I just shared, how about some green tea? The antioxidants in it help you to maintain your collagen levels while still giving you a bit of an energy boost too.
3. Eat More Hyaluronic Acid Foods
I'm pretty sure you've seen a skincare commercial that talks about its products having hyaluronic acid in it before. Well, did you know that it's actually a substance that your body produces — one that helps to keep your skin, connective tissues and eyes moist? Not only that but it's the kind of acid that helps with cellular regeneration, wound repair and it supports collagen remaining healthy.
Believe it or not, there are foods that are full of hyaluronic acid. Some of them include bone broth, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens (because the magnesium in them help to produce hyaluronic acid), carrots, beets, Tempe, tofu, liver, cocoa and whole grains (the zinc in them help you to maintain your hyaluronic acid levels). If you eat more of those, there's no need to spend a mint on beauty products that contain it.
4. Cook with Fresh Herbs
Do you enjoy cooking? If so, another way to add more collagen into your system is to cook with the kinds of herbs that stimulate production of it in your body. Some of those include cilantro, calendula, thyme, paprika and rosemary. Just make sure they're as fresh as possible; that way, you can get more collagen (or Vitamin C) from them.
5. Drink Some Aloe Vera Juice
You don't have the time and I don't have the space to talk about all of the benefits of Aloe vera. As far as beauty is concerned, it contains bioactive compounds, antioxidants and antibacterial properties which help to strengthen your hair; soothe an itchy scalp; protect your hair and skin from UV damage; replenish dry skin; help to heal eczema and psoriasis and reduce the appearance of acne. Aloe vera is also dope because if you drink it in pure juice form, it's able to significantly increase the amount of collagen your skin produces as well as improve your skin's elasticity over the period of a couple of months. So, make sure that the next time you pick some up that you not only get some 100 percent gel to put on your body but that you also get some juice (or tablets) that you can take internally as well (most health and vitamin stores carry it, by the way).
6. Consider a Collagen Supplement
Listen, when it comes to giving my body more of what it needs, I am all about adding a supplement into my system. As far as what a consistent dose of a collagen supplement can do, it's able to relieve joint discomfort; prevent bone loss; promote gut health; keep your hair and nails strong; boost your metabolism levels; increase muscle mass and so much more. As far as if there is a downside of taking this supplement, the main thing to keep in mind is you should read the labels before making a selection. The reason why is because some of them contain shellfish or egg protein which isn't good if you happen to be allergic to either one. Anyway, if you want some help in picking out the best collagen supplement for you and your lifestyle, Health has some of the best ones that were selected by health experts that you can check out here.
7. Or an Algae One
Did you know that one of the main reasons why our skin ages before its time is due to oxidation? If you're familiar with that word yet you're not exactly sure what it means, it's when our skin is exposed to things like inclement weather and air pollution and, as a direct result, the cell growth of our skin is damaged. A great remedy for this is algae. The properties in it are amazing when it comes to blocking oxidation from happening; plus, it reduces the appearance of cellulite; deeply hydrates your skin; helps to tone your skin; speeds up the healing process of pimples and even diminishes the appearance of hyperpigmentation. While red, green, blue and brown algae are all beneficial, green or red is probably what you should look for in a supplement. Most health and vitamin stores carry this too.
8. Create DIY Ginseng and Tamanu Seed Oil Face Mask
If you're someone who likes to treat yourself to a DIY facial (and if you aren't, you definitely should become that kind of person; check out "8 Solid Reasons Why You Should Give Yourself A Facial Once A Month"), consider making a face mask out of ginseng and tamanu seed oil every once in a while.
Ginseng is dope because it's packed with nutrients that help to remove dead skin cells and nourish your skin. Not only that but it's also an herb that balances oil production, reduces the appearance of dark circles underneath your eyes and decreases the appearance of acne (thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties). Also, because it contains phytonutrients, ginseng has the ability to protect your skin from free radicals, boost its metabolism and yes, stimulate the production of collagen.
As far as tamanu seed oil goes, because it's an emollient, it's loaded with fatty acids that will moisturize your skin. It's also loaded with vitamins C and E. And, thanks to other properties that it contains, tamanu seed oil can help to prevent damaging UV rays from breaking down the collagen that's in your skin as it boosts the production of collagen simultaneously.
To create a ginseng and tamanu seed oil face mask, just blend two teaspoons of ginseng powder with a teaspoon of magnesium powder, a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice and 5-7 drops of tamanu seed oil. Let the mask sit on freshly washed damp skin for 10 minutes, then rinse with first warm and then cold water (cold water will close your pores). Finally, apply your favorite moisturizer. Your skin will almost immediately start to glow! (Etsy and online shops like iHerb are where you can easily find tamanu seed oil).
9. Apply a Carrot Seed Oil Blend onto Your Face (and Neck) At Night
If there are two oils that I will do a free commercial for, right here and right now, it's sweet almond oil and rosemary oil. These days, I pretty much apply the first in the day, the second at night and lawd — the wonders it does for the texture and appearance of my skin! On the collagen-boosting tip, one that you might want to consider using is carrot seed oil. Aside from the fact that its antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties are great at treating/healing acne, because it is also rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene, carrot seed oil can also repair damaged tissue and rebuild the collagen that is underneath your skin too.
10. Stress. Less.
A hormone that we naturally have in our body is cortisol. Some health experts call it a "built-in alarm system" because it's what goes up and down based on your stress levels. Well, when we're too stressed out, something that automatically happens is your collagen gets damaged and that ultimately leads to fine lines, wrinkles and less firmness in your skin. That's why, I don't care if it's a person, place, thing or idea — be hypervigilant about not allowing anyone or anything to "get you there". It's not good for your overall health or well-being, including your skin. Amen? Amen.
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