Our skin needs collagen to be healthy. Collagen, in its many forms, is a vital structural protein within the human body. Each form plays a role in giving our body the structure that we know. Some help build up our bones while others provide the cartilage that gives shape to our face and cushions our joints. The collagen in your skin is generally what you’re going to be the most concerned with though because it must be constantly built back up to contend with sources of damage. Few areas are under such constant threat of collagen depletion as your skin. Collagen damage takes many forms though. We cause our share with the simple act of living continually folding our skin and wearing down the collagen in various areas. This might be one of the most prevalent sources of damage, yes, but the environment is against your skin’s health too.
Direct damage from the sun is actually one of the biggest collagen depleters in your environment. That’s why you should be applying sunscreen every day. UV rays do consistent damage skin by introducing free radicals to the skin as well as drying it out. They do the latter by depleting the skin’s moisture barrier that exists to help protect the skin from the sun. This dries out the skin and begins to damage the skin directly. As a result, you need to remember to apply sunscreen or a moisturizer with SPF as part of your skincare routine every day. It will help reduce the amount of damage that your skin’s collagen takes over time. There is no way to entirely prevent the damage or loss of collagen this way, but you can minimize it. This will allow you to age more gracefully later.
Intertwined with the previous issue is pollution. Various sort of pollution from humanity can actually damage your skin’s barriers as well. This allows the sun to have a more immediate access to your skin. In turn, you can expect an immediate increase in the overall sun damage to expect. There is plenty left that it does as well. Particular forms actually directly affect your skin. This is particularly true of several forms of smoke, including cigarette smoke, that can all have a pronounced negative effect on your skin. This is because the chemicals involve actually destroy collagen within the skin. As a result, notable shifts in pigment, elasticity, and firmness are fairly common in areas of pronounced pollution. Try to stay inside on days when there is a pollution warning if you can. If not, minimize the amount of time you have to be outside and exposed to unfiltered air.
Managing Environmental Factors
Environmental factors, as we’ve highlighted, are actually relatively easy to control for when it comes to collagen loss. Your skin will need all the help it can get to prevent environmental factors for getting out of control though. Sunscreen is the single biggest thing you can do for your skin, but you should also be cleansing and exfoliating routinely as well. You want your skin to have a healthy turnover rate to keep its natural protections in as good as shape as possible. Cleaning your skin effectively in this way will also minimize the potential effects of any pollution on your skin’s collagen by preventing the compounds from rest on or in your skin for terribly long. Beyond this you only really need to ensure that you regularly use anti-aging products that support collagen production. Look for products that uses vitamins A, C, and E prominently to be extra sure.
Collagen loss is a fact of age as much as it is the result of environmental factors. The best we can all do is mitigate and counter some of the loss. Good skincare is all about this. It helps to keep your skin healthy and minimizes damage so your skin ages gracefully later in life. Less damage earlier in life makes it far easier to properly care for your skin later. So remember to do your best to defend against these sources of collagen damage.