Skin Chronicles: Collagen

You hear it all around in magazines and advertisements trying to get everyone to go out and spend all their money on 1 ounce of cream just so they can look 3 years younger. I'm at fault society; if you look in my bathroom right now I have enough products that help firm and anti-age my face that I should be shunned. It doesn't help with making me look crazy when people see I'm only 23 years old with this amount of product. Talk about a ridiculous obsession. One word that keeps grazing these covers and products is a term you might not even understand yourself:

When it comes to skin care I religiously follow the Parisians. I mean look at them! Beautiful skin and a carefree attitude while still caring all at the same time. Amore! I've read several articles about Parisian beauty and all the secrets that come along with it. They start there skincare regime at a very young age, and for good reason. Your skin is like a retirement fund; if you start at the age of 40 you won't have enough saved up by time retirement hits. Collagen is one of the most important parts to starting your 401K Plan for your skin.

Believe it or not our body produces collagen (thanks body! you rock). However, just like most things, collagen starts to decline over time and with all our bad habits we've picked up throughout the years. This natural development in our bodies is known as Endogenous collagen. We can help rewind the clock with synthetic, or Exogenous, collagen. Let me back up so you can understand what in the world I'm even talking about.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body that helps hold our body together (thanks for not letting me fall apart body). While most of us our probably putting creams and ointments on to help rewind the loss of collagen, sadly I'm hear to say you're doing it wrong. 

What does it do?
Collagen is secreted by various cells (did that gross anyone else out?) that helps play a role in replacing and restoring dead skin cells. With age our levels of collagen slowly diminish, decreasing even more with factors like sun exposure, smoking, and unhealthy diets. There are, thankfully, ways that we can take collagen to help repair the loss we take over the years. Collagen is used to help heal wounds, fill contours of the skin (not the contour we want, trust me), help treat osteoarthritis, and even help in tissue regeneration.

One of the common myths out there is that if you go out and by a lotion that has collagen in it that you will suddenly look years younger. While these products do help moisturize your face (and probably have other ingredients that are highly beneficial) you are not actually absorbing any collagen. The collagen molecule is too large for our skin to absorb making these creams, while not useless, useless. 

Don't fret though, that does not mean you are S.O.L. One major key in stimulating growth is a healthy diet. Look for foods with these major takeaways:

Proline: found in egg whites, cheese, soy, and cabbage
Anthocyanidins: found in blackberries, blueberryies, raspberries, and cherries
Vitamin C: found in oranges, peppers, and broccoli
Copper: found in shellfish, nuts, and some drinking water
Vitamin A: found in animal-derived foods and in plant foods

You also can add supplements to your daily lifestyle to help grow this beautiful little protein. 2 popular types of supplements are hydrolyzed collagen and gelatin (created when collagen cooks). They have these supplements in pill and powder form. The powder form is relatively tasteless and can be added to your morning cup of coffee or that blackberry smoothie that you'll probably make after reading this (queue the blender now). I've been using this powder for a while now and love the fact that it comes in little packets so I can throw it in my coffee before leaving for work. 

Whatever your age, just remember, you are incredibly beautiful. If you have no urge to take a supplement then don't, you sexy women you. The only thing I ask of everyone who reads this is to live a happy healthy life; and if that means taking some powder everyday (raising hand) then you get it girl! 

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