Collagen is a protein that gives our skin its structure. It also gives skin its appearance of smoothness and youth. Collagen works like netting that holds skin cells together. Collagen is continually produced in the body, but as we get older that production begins to slow down. As production slows and the collagen net begins to break down, the skin is one of the first areas we notice it in, with wrinkles and other signs of aging. There are steps we can take, however, to prevent collagen breakdown and to help the body rebuild new collagen.
Use sunscreen. The first step to rebuilding skin collagen is to prevent any further damage to the skin cells. Using a facial and body moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or more is a must. Avoiding UVB and UVA ray exposure is recommended, but if you can't stay out of the sun, stay out of a tanning booth and use sunscreen when you are outside. Wearing a wide brimmed hat will help protect your face from harmful rays.
Add Vitamin C to your daily routine. A Vitamin C study conducted in 1981 and referenced by author Linus Pauling, Ph.D., shows that exposure of skin cells to Vitamin C had an eight times increase in collagen production. Vitamin C is necessary in every step of collagen production. Our bodies do not make Vitamin C, so intake of it with food and supplements is vital to rebuilding skin collagen.
Take extra Vitamin E. Vitamin E works hand in hand with Vitamin C in rebuilding collagen. Vitamin E protects the cells against free radical damage and it is this damage that causes the signs of aging.
Take a CoQ10 supplement. Coenzyme Q10 is produced in our bodies, but we don't produce enough of it. CoQ10 can be added to our bodies internally and externally. Taking supplements and using a topical cream both help stimulate collagen production. When used as a topical treatment, moisturizers enriched with CoQ10 absorb through the skin and produce collagen and elastin. It is also an anti-oxidant supplement and fights free radicals that lead to skin damage.
Use a skin cream with retinol. In a "New York Times" article, retinol was reported to promote the production of collagen in aged and wrinkled skin. Retinol concentration in the cream should be between 0.2 and 0.6 percent in order to be effective. Retinoic acid is also the only product approved by the Food and Drug Administration to support its claim on reversing the effects of skin aging.
Exfoliate your skin. When you exfoliate, your skin replaces the old skin cells with new ones. You can make an exfoliating scrub at home by adding just enough table sugar to olive oil to make a paste. Rub it into your skin in gentle, circular motions. Rinse off and pat dry.
If you use a retinol cream, be sure to use a sunscreen. Retinol allows more UV rays to enter the skin.
When using an exfoliate, never rub hard or pull on your skin as this can ruin the elasticity and cause skin damage.