Collagen and elastin are two proteins that work hand-in-hand in the body to give connective tissues their structure. Collagen gives the body’s tissues firmness, while elastin gives them flexibility. As people start to age, their bodies begin to produce less of these proteins. The result is noticed in the skin, which begins to lose its moisture and become dehydrated. This causes sagging and wrinkling. Healthy diet and lifestyle are factors that can stimulate collagen and elastin production in the body and slow the deterioration of the connective tissues.
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Things you need
- Antioxidant-rich foods
- Foods containing vitamin C
- Foods rich in zinc
- Vitamin A cream
- Vitamin C cream
Include antioxidants in your diet. Tomatoes, carrots, soy, flaxseed and dark chocolate are just a few foods containing antioxidants that fight free radicals (molecules in the body that cause proteins not function as they should). In the absence of free radicals, collagen and elastin production can be increased with proper diet.
Eat lots of foods that contain vitamin C. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, dark berries and leafy green vegetables. Collagen cannot be produced in the body without vitamin C. It keeps the organs and blood vessels functioning properly.
Include foods that contain a lot of zinc, such as shellfish, fish, lean meat, and dairy products. Zinc helps maintain collagen and elastin fibres and links together with the building blocks of protein to form new collagen.
Apply creams that contain vitamin A (retinol) and vitamin C to your face daily. These creams stimulate the cells in the skin that are responsible for producing collagen and elastin. They can be purchased anywhere skin care products are sold. A dermatologist can prescribe a stronger formulation of vitamins A and C if desired.
Exfoliate your skin with a facial scrub two to three times a week. This will increase cell renewal, stimulating production of healthy proteins, including collagen and elastin. Be selective when choosing an exfoliant. Though their intention is to remove dead skin, some products contain large granules and sharp edges that can cause microscopic tears in the skin, leading to more skin damage.
Have chemical peels at a skin care clinic on a regular basis. As the top layer of the skin is peeled away, collagen and elastin production speeds up. Skin care specialists recommend a chemical peel once every four weeks as a maintenance program for strong healthy skin. Treatments can be performed on almost any area of the body, including the hands and back.
Boost the effectiveness of your chemical peel by including a microdermabrasion treatment. As the diamond-like particles scrape away skin, the cells that develop connective tissues are stimulated, boosting the production of collagen and elastin fibres.
Tips and warnings
- Stop smoking. Smoking leads to premature ageing by damaging collagen and elastin.
- Avoid unnecessary sun exposure. The rays of the sun include harmful UV rays that destroy collagen and elastin in the skin.
- Some skin types can be sensitive to vitamins A and C. If topical creams containing these vitamins irritate the skin with daily use, apply the creams every other day.
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