Collagen and elastin, two types of protein found in the skin, provide structure and elasticity, respectively. When abundant, skin is plump, smooth and firm. When not, things start to head south. While some depletion is inevitable due to aging and environment stressors, there is a lot you can do to boost collagen production and make the most of the elastin you have. Here are some dos and don’ts for maximizing collagen and elastin levels—and keeping your skin healthy and taut.
Do eat foods rich in vitamin C
Studies have shown that vitamin C plays a significant role in collagen production, so making C-rich foods part of your daily diet will ensure you always have an ample supply. Some easy-to-find options include; citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes), yellow peppers, kale, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and strawberries. Feeling more adventurous? Try lychees, papayas, blackcurrants, guavas, or cilantro.
Don’t go outside unprotected
UV rays can damage collagen, causing it to degrade—as well as cause the creation of abnormal, weakened elastin fibers. Wearing a broad-spectrum SPF 30 should be part of your daily skincare regimen, even on cloudy days or in mid-winter.
Do take a collagen supplement
Studies show that consuming extra collagen—even in supplement form—leads to higher levels of skin strength and elasticity. And, while most nutritionists would probably advise a food-first approach to boosting collagen intake, taking a supplement can help ensure your collagen levels are always abundant, even when stress, travel, or illness compromise the quality of your diet.
Don’t overindulge a sweet tooth
It’s been shown that high sugar consumption causes premature aging by damaging collagen and elastin in the skin. How? Sugar attaches to proteins in the blood, creating new molecules called Advanced Glycation End products (or AGEs) that degrade existing collagen and elastin. AGEs also inhibit the skin’s own natural antioxidant properties, leaving it more vulnerable to the aforementioned UV damage. So, try swapping out sweets and refined carbohydrates for foods lower in sugar, such as brown rice, chickpea pasta, and multi-grain bread.
Do drink Ginseng tea
Ginseng has been shown to promote the growth of collagen. And what’s a more relaxing, easy way to improve skin health than curling up with a warm cup of ginseng tea?
Smoking compromises collagen and elastin in two ways: First, free radicals in tobacco smoke attack and break down collagen and elastin. Second, nicotine constricts blood vessels, inhibiting blood flow and depriving collagen and elastin of necessary oxygen and other nutrients.
Do up your intake of omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3s, frequently found in fatty fish like salmon, trout, anchovies and tuna, contain potent antioxidants that battle collagen-and-elastin-destroying free radicals. Not a seafood lover? You can also get omega-3s in Brussel sprouts, spinach, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as foods fortified with them, such as eggs, milk, bread and yogurt.
Do skip that third cup of coffee
One mug of joe in the morning won’t lead to slack skin. But studies do suggest that drinking caffeinated beverages all day long, every day may cause some collagen degradation.
Do slather on Neolastin skincare
NUFLEX™ technology, the proprietary blend in Neolastin skincare products, stimulates collagen production in the skin—as well as strengthens elastin by depositing new elastin fibers in the skin (you will not find the latter benefit in other over-the-counter skincare). Developed by a team of scientists from Clemson University, the Neolastin skin-firming complex is a true scientific breakthrough. Bonus: NUFLEX™ contains an antioxidant-rich polyphenol that minimizes the collagen and elastin damage caused by the free radicals in pollution. Try any of the Neolastin products like Face & Neck Regenerative Serum, Rejuvenate & Hydrate Moisturizing Cream, and Revitalize & Firm Eye Cream and see the difference for yourself.