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Essential Facts About Collagen: Keeping Your Skin Young

You may have heard of the word "collagen" floating around on your go-to beauty blogs, or being spoken about by your wellness-obsessed friend; but, like with many health trends, people don't always know exactly what they are talking about.

Collagen isn't just a health trend, though; it is a type of protein essential to the human body — one that everyone needs to keep their body working.

However, you may not know what collagen is, exactly, and why it is so fundamentally important to your health and wellness. Have you ever wondered how it is related to the appearance of your skin? And from where can you naturally source it?

Maybe you have already considered taking a collagen protein supplement but aren't exactly sure which one is right for you. If this is the case, then read on to know the essential facts about collagen — the magic ingredient that helps to keep your skin young.

What is Collagen?

First and foremost, it is essential to understand what collagen is exactly.

Collagen is a group of fibrous proteins that are the most abundant proteins found in animals. The main ingredients of proteins are amino acids which assist in creating your muscles, cartilage, connective tissue, bone, hair and skin.

While the human body has a wide array of these, the amino acids located in collagen are recognized as the most significant as they are responsible for skin production and the composition of connective tissues.

The body naturally produces collagen throughout one’s life with the goal of sustaining bodily tissues and ensuring they remain elastic and resist stretching. However, as people age, the production of collagen slows down which is why taking collagen supplements is recommended. Generally, collagen comes as a white powder, comprising collagen peptides — a type of hydrolyzed collagen.

Moreover, it isn't just the aging process that affects collagen production. Toxins, environmental pollutants, frequent sun exposure, smoking, and consuming a diet high in refined sugar also damages the body’s natural ability to produce collagen.

What Are The Three Main Types of Collagen?

There are at least 16 different varieties of collagen in the human body with each one supporting the formation of the skin, bone, cartilage, and muscle. In fact, 30 percent of the body's protein is made of collagen. Of that percentage, 90 percent of it is either type I, II, or III. These are the three main types of collagen, and here is a look at their different functions:

  • Type I - The most common kind of collagen in the body; this type of collagen is accountable for maintaining the structure of the skin, bones, organs, and tendons and ensuring they stay healthy.
  • Type II - Whereas type I has a wide array of uses, type II is specialized and focused on managing the cartilage. For healthy, strong, and flexible joints, this is the type of collagen that is responsible.
  • Type III - Think of type III as playing a supportive role for type I. This kind is found in the bone marrow.

To sum up, collagen types I and III are stored in the skin, bones, tendons, and ligaments, whereas type II is observed principally in the joints.

What Are The Benefits of Collagen?

Collagen is essential to the body which is why there are so many benefits related to it. Here are seven of the main ones:

1. Skin

Collagen is critical for maintaining firm and hydrated skin. It is collagen that helps to keep your skin smooth and fresh-looking.

2. Joints

There is a reason why so many athletes swear by collagen supplements. Collagen aids the joints in getting stronger and more resilient. It also reduces joint pain and inflammation you may experience after exercising.

3. Tissues

As collagen is the building block for almost everything in the human body, it is essential for tissues to be able to move and to repair themselves.

4. Gut

Collagen strengthens the stomach’s protective lining which helps relieve symptoms of acid reflux, leaky gut syndrome, IBS, and other gut and digestive problems.

5. Nails and Hair

The essential amino acids that you find in collagen are vital for producing keratin which makes nails and hair strong, as well as helping them grow.

6. Bones

If you want strong bones, you need collagen to produce a substantial amount to form bone structures and improve bone density.

7. Hormones

Collagen supports many of the body's hormones and its amino acids decrease stress and improve brain function.

Acknowledging everything that collagen does for you, it is imperative that you recognize the importance of having a regular supply.

How Does Collagen Relate to Skin?

While the overall benefits of collagen are apparent, many people are specifically interested in the relationship between collagen and the skin.

Your skin is made up of two main layers (epidermis and dermis), and the dermis comprises fibroblasts, which are cells that naturally generate elastin and collagen. Over time, these fibroblasts contribute less collagen which, in turn, hurts the structure of your skin. This results in obvious manifestations of aging such as wrinkles and droopy skin.

The only way to stop this process from happening is to supplement the fibroblasts with more collagen. By taking a collagen supplement, you are helping to offset your skin's aging process, promote your skin's hydration, lessen facial lines and wrinkles, and enhance skin elasticity.

Where is Collagen Naturally Found?

Collagen is naturally found in many of the proteins that you are already familiar with: bovine, chicken, fish, and pork. If you are looking to up your collagen intake (as everyone should be) some foods are high in this protein. Bone broth contains a kind of collagen that your body can utilize immediately, making it the top recommendation for boosting your collagen intake.

Additionally, wild salmon, chlorella (single-celled algae), leafy greens, citrus fruits, eggs, berries, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, avocados, garlic and chia seeds are all natural sources that include the nutrients necessary to produce collagen. Therefore, if you want to reduce or arrest the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging, then taking a look at your diet is the best place to start.

Strive to obtain your collagen from a variety of sources to ensure that you are getting enough types I, II, and III. Plenty of type I and III can be found in beef, while fish has a significant amount of type I. For type II, you want to be eating chicken.

How to Increase Your Collagen Intake

That being said, the best way to know you are giving your body enough collagen is to take a collagen supplement and use skincare products that contain collagen. Here are some ways that you can start increasing your collagen intake today:

Skincare

As topical creams and serums are often used to promote skin elasticity and to fight wrinkles, a central ingredient in them is (or at least should be) collagen. However, topically applied collagen is fundamentally used for cosmetic gains like enhancing the texture of your skin and tentatively reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Additional steps you can take in your skincare routine to boost collagen production are using a Vitamin C serum, doing micro-needling (a skin procedure that utilizes small needles to pierce tiny holes in the first layer of skin), and light therapy such as LED and laser which penetrate the skin, making it smoother and plumper.

Unfortunately, skincare alone isn't going to give you all the additional benefits, and it is not going to be a long-term solution.

Powder/Protein

The best way to increase your collagen intake is through collagen powder or collagen protein.

Consuming collagen peptides orally, through either pills or powder, is also an efficient way to improve your collagen reserves. There is already plenty of research proving that collagen supplements enhance skin elasticity, decrease wrinkles, encourage skin hydration, and raise the density of fibroblasts. Generally, after eight weeks of taking collagen supplements, you can expect to see an improvement in your skin.

Recently, more and more people are realizing the benefits of adding collagen directly into their smoothies with collagen powder. If you are interested in doing this, make sure you are choosing a powder that is made from pasture-raised, hormone-free cows or wild-caught fish. Then, all you have to do is mix one to two scoops of powder into your morning smoothie, Bulletproof Coffee, soup, or water, and then repeat daily.  

Bars

For those who are always on-the-go, collagen protein bars are a perfect snack to have in your bag at all times. By consuming a high quality collagen protein bar in a delicious flavor, you can get all the benefits of collagen while also keeping yourself full and focused.

Again, make sure that you are purchasing collagen protein bars that contain collagen protein sourced from grass-fed cows and that have 13g of protein in each bar.

Did you know about collagen before? Is it something that you are trying to include in your daily nutrient intake? If so, do you have any tips and tricks to share with the community? Have you seen any benefits? If not, has this article made you rethink your collagen consumption?

Let us know your thoughts concerning this topic in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, "The Bulletproof Diet." Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you'd expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.

Four Tips to Follow to Minimize Enlarged Pores and Blackhead Removal

Enlarged pores and blackheads are irritating and cause discomfort. Apart from this, what makes dealing with them harder is that they tend to last for a long time. 

Reasons for Pores to Get Enlarged

There are 3 primary reasons that cause pores to get enlarged.

  • Excessive sebum: When the sebaceous gland produces excess oil, it creates oily skin.

  • Low elasticity around the pores: When the skin becomes less supple, it makes the pores appear enlarged.

  •  Higher volume of hair follicles: When the pores at the end of a hair follicle get clogged.

What can be done?

1. Wash your face regularly

Enlarged pores and blackheads are caused due to dirt and excess oil that gets trapped within the skin. Washing your face helps you stay dirt-free and regulate your skin’s natural oil levels. 

Washing your face is the easiest way to keep pores and blackheads from enlarging and preventing them. The appropriate time to wash your face is once during the beginning of the day and once at the end of the day. It is also important to wash your face shortly after traveling as our faces are prone to getting dirty during travels. Having a clean face also makes us feel and look younger.

2. Always remove makeup at night

It is very important to wash your makeup before going to bed. If you leave makeup on overnight it slowly seeps into your skin. 

Pores that are blocked by makeup and oil also tend to build up bacteria and get infected and enlarged. These pores leave behind scars on your skin that are persistent and hard to get rid of.

3. Exfoliate your skin

Everyone should exfoliate their skin at least once a week, and two-three times if you have oily skin. Exfoliating helps you to remove dead skin cells, excess oil, and dirt from the skin. 

The right exfoliating products will contain Salicylic acid. This is a natural acid that breaks down dirt, makeup, and dead skin cells that have clogged your pores. 

Exfoliating provides quick results, however, over-exfoliating could cause your skin to dry up and form dead skin cells. This could lead to skin irritation.

4. Use Genuine Comedo Suction Microdermabrasion

Comedo Suction Microdermabrasion

The Genuine Comedo Suction Microdermabrasion by Krasr is a tool that was until recently only available to dermatologists. This pore vacuum comedo extractor comes with 4 beauty probes that provide 4 different results. 

Using the right attachments, the pore vacuum comedo extractor by Krasr is able to solve rough skin, blackheads, dark spots, and fine lines. The device helps in keeping your skin smoother, clearer and tighter without leaving a trace.

The pore vacuum comedo extractor also doubles as the best blackhead extractor tool. The powerful suction of the comedo extractor drags out the dirt, oil, and makeup that is present within blackheads. 

Most blackhead extractor tools are complex in nature, however, with this comedo extractor by Krasr, you are able to clear all blackheads without the help of an expert. 

With the help of this blackhead extractor tool, you are able to maintain the health of your skin in the comfort of your home.

5 Skin Care Tips for Rosacea

Rosacea is a common disorder that predominately affects the skin on the face. Those with rosacea may experience redness on the nose, forehead, chin, and cheeks. Pus-filled pimples and red solid bumps can also develop in some cases. If you have rosacea, it’s crucial that you take good care of your skin. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are 5 helpful skin-care tips.

Learn Your Triggers

Each person who has rosacea will have different triggers or things that cause their rosacea to worsen. This can include ingredients found in skincare products such as makeup, cleansers, and moisturizers. For many who have rosacea, figuring out which skin products work best will take time and patience. To be confident with your skincare products, it’s best to try out new products on a small area of your skin for a couple of weeks first. If you notice any signs of redness, stinging, or burning, it’s advised that you look at other alternatives. 

Avoid Products That Dry Skin

When shopping for skincare products, always check out the labels and be on the lookout for ingredients that may dry out your skin. Ingredients such as alcohol, peppermint, menthol, and camphor can cause dry skin and make your rosacea worse. Although it may feel like a chore to look at the ingredients each time you purchase a new skincare product, you will be thankful in the long run when it comes to keeping your skin healthy.

Use Sunscreen Each Day

One of the main triggers for individuals with rosacea is sunlight. To help combat the disorder, there are several things that you can do, such as applying sunscreen each day. Be warned, however, there are ingredients in sunscreen that can irritate your skin, so you will need to be smart and savvy about which type of sunscreen you pick. It’s recommended you pick a sunscreen that has a physical blocker like titanium dioxide, rather than picking one with a chemical blocker. While chemical blockers serve their purpose, they can cause irritation. Those who don’t wear sunscreen every day will be putting themselves in danger, so make sure it is a top priority for protecting your skin.

Keep Your Skin Moisturized

Whether rosacea causing your skin to become oily or dry, it’s crucial that you understand the importance of moisturizing. Not only does moisturizing help to hydrate the skin, but it can reduce irritation, making your skin feel smoother and more comfortable. Applying a rosacea-friendly moisturizer can rejuvenate your skin and leave it glowing and looking fresh.

Consider Microneedling

While there are numerous surgical procedures that you can try to help treat rosacea, more and more people are going for minimally invasive cosmetic procedures like micro-needling instead. Otherwise known as collagen induction therapy, micro-needling is said to help reduce the symptoms of common skin conditions like rosacea. 

If your rosacea is having a major impact on your health and self-esteem, performing the most basic day to day tasks can be challenging. Thankfully, there are plenty of skincare tips that may help improve signs of rosacea, helping you to feel more confident in the skin you’re in.

How to Banish Sun Spots on Your Face

Do you find yourself feeling self-conscious as of late due to the sun spots on your face? Do you find yourself suddenly wearing a heavier foundation or concealer in an effort to cover up those sun spots? Does it feel like they have just come out of nowhere and seem to be growing bigger each day? The fact is that sunspots are quite common, and you don’t have to be in your senior years for them to pop up. While they tend to be most common for people over the age of 40 and with fair skin, they can happen before that.

What can you do to fade and even get rid of those sun spots? Here are some tips and advice.

Try Using Retin A

A great place to start is with Retin A, which you can actually get at prescription strength. What this ingredient does is exfoliate discoloration. Keep in mind this works best on minor discoloration, so it's a good starting point when you first start to notice sun spots. For dark spots that have been there a while, this likely won't have enough of an impact.

Chemical Peels Can Be Useful

You can also pick up a chemical peel to start using, as these can offer some great results. These tend to work better for medium-depth sun spots, so this is the next step up. When shopping for a chemical peel, be sure to look for one that has glycolic acid or trichloroacetic acid, which is also called TCA. Both of these ingredients will cause a superficial injury on the skin, which then sparks the healing process to occur. This healing process is what helps to banish the dark pigment or those sun spots.

Start Using Targeted Serums

A serum can also be added to your daily skincare routine; look for one that targets dark spots. These tend to work best on surface-level sun spots.

Consider Laser Treatment

Another treatment option that has grown in popularity over the past few years is laser treatment. Laser treatment can be used to address skin discoloration, which includes redness and sun spots. The laser is focused directly on those areas of concern and works to lift the discoloration out, taking you back to the original skin color and tone. This kind of treatment usually requires a few sessions in order to get the best and most impactful results. Mill City Laser is a good example of a clinic that offers laser treatment packages that will help you address your sun spots.

Always Wear SPF on Your Face

While this tip won’t get rid of your sun spots, it will certainly help prevent more from forming. Wearing SPF on your face each and every day is vital to your skin’s health. 

You Can Banish the Dark Spots

While sun spots may have you feeling self-conscious now, the good news is that with the proper treatments and products you can banish them and prevent more from developing.