Sooner or later it happens to all of us. That once youthful skin - plump, wrinkle-free and glowing – suddenly appears thinner, duller and more wrinkled. Decreasing levels of collagen, an essential protein that keeps our skin supple, plump and youthful-looking, is primarily to blame. And while this decrease in collagen production is a normal part of the aging process, age is not the only reason (or even the main reason) for our collagen decline and the onset of wrinkles. Lifestyle plays a big factor too.
While there isn’t a silver bullet for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, we’ve compiled a list of a few everyday practices to help boost collagen levels along with a few other tips that, when worked into your routine, can help minimize both the appearance of existing fine lines and wrinkles and the onset of new ones.
Start with skin care products that include collagen-boosting ingredients
- Antioxidants like vitamins C and E can reduce free radicals that break down collagen.
- Alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, not only stimulate the growth of collagen but also exfoliate, hydrate and reduce hyperpigmentation, leaving skin appearing more youthful.
- Retinoids promote cellular repair and turnover, which is why it is touted as an effective anti-aging ingredient.
- Peptides encourage the growth of collagen and elastin while regulating the enzymes that break down these proteins.
- Within the Lexli line, products like AloeGlyC® glycolic acid exfoliator, which includes not only alpha-hydroxy acid but also antioxidants and vitamin A, and A-Firm-Ative peptide serum are recommended for anti-aging.
Reduce sun exposure
You’ve heard it said before but it is worth repeating. Limit your time in the sun and ensure you protect exposed skin! Overexposure and repeated sun exposure are the biggest culprits in collagen breakdown. Because some sun exposure is inevitable, it is essential to wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 on a daily basis year-round. For convenience, select a moisturizer that includes SPF in the formulation, like Lexli Day Moisturizer with SPF 30 featuring AloeGlyC Complex.
For more information about minimizing the effects of repeated sun exposure, read, How to Prevent Photoaging, the Main Reason for Premature Skin Aging. And if you're unsure about the appropriate SPF level for your skin, read "Is SPF 15 Enough?"
Keep Your Skin Hydrated
Dry skin tends to exaggerate the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. To keep your skin hydrated, apply a properly formulated moisturizer in the morning and evening that is appropriate for your skin type. Look for a formulation that is rich in humectants, occlusives and emollients, like Night Moisturizer, to help lock in moisture and minimize water loss.
Cut down on sugar intake
Diets high in sugar can damage collagen molecules by a process called glycation where excess sugar molecules attach themselves to the collagen fibers and cause them to lose their strength and flexibility. This process accelerates the effects of aging and causes wrinkles, loss of skin tone and more.
Get enough sleep
Experts advise that we get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Fewer than that and you may start to see it in the appearance of your skin. As you sleep, your body goes to work rejuvenating and repairing itself and producing new collagen is definitely part of the process.
Learn more about the importance of sleep and optimizing your night skin care routine.
The cardiovascular benefit of physical activity is not the only reason you should be consistently exercising. Doing so also helps to keep your skin healthy. Exercise increases blood flow, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells throughout your body and carrying away waste products, such as free radicals that rob the body of collagen.
Simply put, smoking accelerates aging. Smoking damages collagen and hinders the blood supply that keeps skin tissue looking supple and healthy.
Sleep on a silk pillowcase
While there is currently no clinical research to back the idea that silk pillowcases decrease or prevent wrinkles, the idea is that they help the skin retain moisture compared to cotton pillowcases that pull it away from your skin. Additionally, many believe that silk pillowcases help to minimize wrinkling because their smooth, frictionless surface doesn’t pull on the skin. While the jury is out on these benefits, sleeping with a silk pillowcase certainly can’t hurt. And as an added bonus, less friction on the hair cuticle just might help you to wake up free of bedhead and frizzy hair!
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking 8 glasses of water per day is recommended to keep organs (skin being the largest organ in the body) functioning properly. While drinking water doesn’t directly plump up your skin, by staying hydrated the body is better able to flush out toxins that may be affecting the health of your body, skin included. Proper hydration also ensures your cells can do their jobs efficiently, including that of keeping skin soft and supple.