Dear collagen, please don’t leave me!

How to slow collagen loss, amplify your lifestyle and still enjoy some sunshine.

Collagen has become one of marketings “it” words, and seems to be making an appearance in everything from supplements, to food and drinks, to topical skincare products – but with all this buzz, it’s hard to remember what it actually is.

Collagen is a hard, insoluble, fibrous protein which helps anchor our cells together, giving our skin strength and elasticity. To say collagen is important is an understatement; This protein makes up one third of the protein in our bodies, making it the most abundant protein we have.

A black and white image of a woman's face

As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, which causes the structural integrity of our skin to decline. This is the reason our  skin begins to sag and deeper wrinkles form. Although the most dramatic loss of collagen happens for women during menopause, our skin begins to slow its  collagen production starting as early as the age of 25. 

Though collagen loss is a natural part of aging, there are some well researched factors that can dramatically accelerate the process. At the top of this list include smoking and UV exposure. Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays generates free radicals in the skin, which aid in actively and directly depleting skin’s collagen. And as far as smoking goes, do we really even need to get into the damage caused?

In addition to those factors, lack of sleep and poor nutrition such as not getting enough vitamin C can also ramp up the depletion of collagen in your skin

A aerial image of the desert

Now that we’ve got all this ‘exciting’ information on the table about how our skin is doomed, let’s talk about what you can do to slow the process. First, it’s important to note that the idea of freezing or stopping the aging process entirely is antiquated and, well, plain old ridiculous. 

Beauty nutritionist Frances Phillips said it best in an article for Well+Good:

“Collagen depletion is an unavoidable part of the aging process. Rather than focus on ‘anti-aging’ which is a flawed concept, as we all age, I like to think of it as preserving the integrity of the skin.”

We need to first embrace the fact that aging is inevitable. Rather than spiral out of control in an attempt to cancel it, let’s cancel the idea that aging is bad, and focus on aging incredibly well! Let’s be honest, healthy aging looks a heck of a lot better than anti-aging in real life.

A woman blowing dandilion

So, let’s dive in and take a look at three “best practices” to stimulate your body’s collagen production and turn anti-aging into healthy aging. 

1. Wear Sunscreen.

If you know you’re going to be spending a day outside, apply non-chemical sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (50 is even better) like Super Goop. Be sure to re-apply every four hours, or after you’ve been in the water, even if your sunscreen is waterproof. Wearing hats and sitting under shade can also help protect your skin and allow you to enjoy being outside. 

2. Seek Nutrition

Eating a diverse, largely plant-based diet full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals is always one of the best ways to maintain great health and great skin. It can be difficult to get everything your skin needs strictly from the foods you eat, so we recommend supplementing with products that contain ingredients that are precursors to collagen production, like Horsetail Extract, Acerola Cherry, Japanese Knotweed Extract, and Polypodium Lectumous (luckily STUNN AM+PM cover all of these bases!). Natural, plant-based collagen precursors aid in stimulating your skin’s own natural collagen production to radically slow the depletion process much more effectively than consuming collagen containing products

A woman closing her eyes

3. Prioritize Sleep

Lack of sleep is one of the most serious causes of premature aging, but as we all know, consistently getting a good quality sleep can be elusive. Whether it be because of your job, your family situation (i.e kids), your sleep environment, or even your own mind, it is paramount that you make it a priority. So what can we do to take control of something that feels so out of our control? Creating a sacred evening routine, unplugging from technology, and sleeping in as cool and dark an environment as possible are just a couple ways to get a leg up in the battle of sleep and start improving your sleep-wake cycles

We should be proud of our skin, and embrace the aging process. Let’s wear our age like a badge of honor, and strive to be known as that person who is aging incredibly well by taking back the factors in our control, and embracing the factors that are not.

Written by the STUNN Collective team.

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