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Is there anything we can do about wrinkles?

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Healthy Ageing Nutrition Health Coach

Wrinkles are an inevitable part of ageing. A few facial lines can be charming and add character, but it is likely that most of us want to keep them at bay for as long as we can. Once we have wrinkles, the likely hood of reversing them without intervention is low, but we can take on diet and lifestyle changes to slow down their manifestation.

So where do we start? Let’s start with the basics, collagen. Collagen is one of the main structural proteins in our body and it is most abundant in our skin - it makes up our extracellular matrix, which is the scaffolding of our skin. It plays crucial roles in cellular processes such as tissue repair, immune response, and cellular communication while providing tissue support.

As we age, our body produces and maintains collagen at a lower rate, leading to its fragmentation and reduced quality. Studies have even shown that even as early as our mid twenties there can be a decline in collagen production but this will be variable according to our skin type, genetics, etc. There are certain times in our lives when collagen production diminishes at a rapid rate, such as during the menopause. The skin's thinning, sagging and wrinkling is caused by a decrease in collagen and another structural protein called elastin. In addition to the skin, the integrity of the collagen found in the skeletal system decreases with age as well, leading to reductions in bone strength.

There is currently a big buzz around supplementing with collagen to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines and to support bone health but does it really do what it is claiming to do?

I guess it is widely assumed that when you take a collagen supplement, that supplement contains the structural support your skin needs and that it will go straight to the areas it needs to go to. This isn’t actually the case. When you take a supplement, the peptides it contains are supposed to trigger the cells that make collagen to make more of it. The scientific evidence to support this claim is fairly inconclusive and some skin health experts think is it unlikely that this happens.

Leading consultant dermatologist Dr Emma Wedgeworth is of the opinion that there may be a small benefit in taking collagen supplements but that sun protection, diet and not smoking are much more likely to have an impact on the ageing of your skin. However, there is evidence out there that using topical vitamin A or topical retinol does have an effect on reducing wrinkles.

Smoking is known to degrade collagen and cause skin to age, increase wrinkles and decrease elasticity. Excessive drinking has also been shown to speed up skin ageing by lowering collagen production and damaging skin repair mechanisms.

Following a high sugar diet or eating ultra processed foods can lower collagen turnover and interfere with its ability to interact with surrounding cells and proteins. Excessive sun exposure degrades collagen’s capability to interact with surrounding cells and proteins. We do need a little bit of sun exposure so our bodies can synthesis the very valuable vitamin D. About 30 minutes exposure without suncream would be sufficient for this in the summer months.

If you are looking to slow down the visible aging process of wrinkles and fine lines then, as your body naturally produces collagen from amino acids, it would make sense ensure you are eating adequate protein from foods like poultry, fish, beans, legumes and eggs. Consuming a diet high in valuable plant compounds could help improve skin health by reducing inflammation and protecting against collagen depletion.

In addition to amino acids, your body needs other dietary components for collagen production and maintenance. Vitamin C is needed for collagen synthesis, having low or deficient levels can lead to impaired collagen production.

So with all this in mind, it is seems that the best thing we can do is look after our skin though protection and diet.

If you are ready to rejuvenate your health and learn more about how to support the body in the ageing process, book in for a free connection call and check out the ways we can work together.

Let’s kick-start your health journey

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