Eat a Diet to Boost Collagen Production

What nutrients does your body require for healthy collagen production? Can you help your skin stay smoother and more supple through your diet? Here are my own food recommendations to help boost collagen production and to keep your skin as young-looking as possible.

The skinny on collagen

Collagen fibers, which are made from proteins, make up part of our connective tissue. This tissue is part of our skin as well as other materials — tendons, bones, cartilage. Having plenty of collagen is key for firm, smooth skin. As we age production slows, while at the same time there is a tissue breakdown due to free radical activity. Why this waterfall of collagen loss? Well, we absorb less nutrients as we get older (that's why keeping your body in amazing shape with juice cleanses, etc, to revamp the digestion system may not be a bad idea) and we are exposed to more sunlight and environmental toxins, increasing free radical activity over the years. The well-oiled machine of childhood (think of the perfectly smooth skin and silky hair of a child) fades and dulls.

A healthy diet, in theory (why not?), full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to support healthy collagen fibers should help. There isn't exactly a lot of research in this area, but for your own benefit, here are the nutrients that may help to boost collagen production and where to find them.

Collagen vitamins and more

First, the amino acids, which are the protein building blocks. World's Healthiest Foods lists proline and lysine as key amino acids. Eggs, wheat germ, and legumes are great sources, as are fish, lean meats, and dairy – essentially, protein. Don't take this to mean that a meaty diet is a skin healthy diet, quite the contrary. You need things like fiber and antioxidants for a beautiful complexion.

My suggestions, start snacking on raw nuts. Prepare beans from scratch once a week (sultry Sunday afternoons?) and then enjoy them throughout the week. Eat tofu, a lot! Go for one to two servings of fish (wild salmon is best) a week. Throw boiled eggs on your salads once in a while. A yogurt a day is a great healthy eating choice, and then enjoy lean meats as your body craves, which for me is about once every couple of weeks.

Vitamin C and silicon are two other important nutrients for collagen production. Vitamin C is an easy one; berries, citrus, green leafy vegetables, onions, mangos, papayas. Silicon is found in brown rice and oats as well as soybeans, bell peppers, cucumbers, radishes, apples, almonds, and flaxseeds. Herbs such as horsetail, oatstraw, and burdock root are all good sources as well.

And finally — antioxidants, which protect your collagen fibers from breaking down. They are found in all the fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, and beans listed above, as well as the queen of healthy skin foods, green tea. Drink a cup a day. It is so worth it.

3 Vitamin C Mask Recipes

Vitamin C is really good for your skin. Why? There are two major, anti-aging benefits that are enough to make you put one of these vitamin C mask recipes on your to do list.

1. Collagen boosting

Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue that helps to keep your skin smooth and young looking (the other is elastin). It naturally breaks down as time passes, aka you age, and because of sun exposure. This breakdown = wrinkles, sagging, and thinner skin.

There are a lot of factors that go into the collagen boosting solution matrix — diet, lifestyle habits, daily skin care products — vitamin C face masks are a small piece of the puzzle, but a helpful, attainable piece. Vitamin C is a nutrient that is used for the production of new, healthy collagen.

2. Antioxidant protection

The other reason to love this vitamin is antioxidant activity. Powerful C scavenges free radicals and helps to stop, prevent, and sidetrack some of the destruction to your skin from time and beautiful, golden sunlight.

Try these homemade vitamin C mask recipes and give your skin a fighting chance against wrinkles and other signs of aging.

Rose hip face mask

  • 1 tablespoon rose hip tea
  • 1 teaspoon rose hip oil
  • 1 tablespoon rose clay powder

Brew a cup of rose hip tea, take out one tablespoon (drink the rest) and mix with the oil and clay powder.

Berry face mask

  • 1 tablespoon acerola berry powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed berries of choice
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey
  • orange blossom water, enough to form a workable paste

Acerola berries are packed with super C. Mix all, adding just enough orange blossom water.

Tomato face mask

  • 1/2 tomato or 3 to 4 cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

For this face mask, blend all in the blender. Smooth over clean skin. 


Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Spa Facial Benefits — Are They Worth It?

What are the advantages of splurging on a spa facial? Is it worth it or can you do the same work at home yourself?

Let's face it, treatments are expensive. It is not easy for many people (myself included!) to fit a regular spa visit into the budget. Alright ladies, and skin care conscious gents, why not take a look at the cost-benefit ratio of professional spa services.

Putting your skin in the hands of a facialist

Time is money. When you go to the spa for a facial treatment, you are taking the time of a professional facialist, someone who has probably put in (and paid for) at least 600 hours of training. She does deserve a reasonable fee (think of how much you pay for an hour with a lawyer, doctor, mechanic, or other professional!). Unless you are her first client, you get the benefit of her experience as well; skilled blackhead extraction, peel application, facial massage, and other skills are a huge plus for your complexion. You may even get a few good skin care tips from a pro, although watch out for product pushing.

Sure, you can do an at home facial, which I highly recommend. Depending on your budget (don't forget to ask for a spa gift certificate for your birthday or x-mas) getting a facial treatment once every month or two or once a year is solid value for your dollar. 

Doing the work 

A facial involves cleansing, steaming, exfoliating, extraction, a mask, and then your finishing serums and moisturizers. This does take some effort on your part to do at home — you have to set up all your ingredients, make the facial sauna, etc.. At a spa you get the advantage of high-quality products, professional application, and effective techniques and add-ons that you can't do at home like oxygen infusion and microdermabrasion.

At home you have more control over the ingredients and what is actually done on your skin. Once you do the whole process one or two times, the set-up, etc., isn't that big of a deal, it can even be enjoyable steaming your skin, massaging, relaxing with a mask and a cup of tea in the comfort of your home.

In a nutshell, a spa facial treatment is worth it, even if it is a once a year splurge. You simply cannot recreate everything (the equipment, expertise, products) that a good spa can offer. However! Do your own home treatments as well to keep your skin beautiful and healthy in between visits. Also, keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. Going to the spa all the time is not as valuable as going on occasion, unless you just really love it.



Disclaimer

While I love my skin, I am not actually a dermatologist or a medical professional. The information on this site is not meant to treat or diagnose any health issues.