Can Collagen Help Sun Damaged Skin?
What’s the biggest danger to your skin? No, it’s not aging, it’s sunlight. UV radiation from chronic sun exposure can damage your skin in more ways than one. While we can take precautions to help protect the skin from sunlight, thanks to broad spectrum SPF sunscreen and shade, what else can we do to help improve the skin’s health? Are there ways in which we can help improve sun damaged skin?
The answer is, yes, but first we need to understand what happens to our skin when it comes into contact with sunlight.
Sunlight Changes Skin Health
One of the biggest dangers to our bodies is something called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between antioxidants and highly chemically reactive molecules (free radicals) that causes damage to cell DNA. When more free radicals are present in the body than antioxidants, this is a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can increase the risk of a variety of health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart conditions, inflammatory diseases, and even Alzheimer’s. However, it can also present a danger to our skin.
UV rays from sunlight change the structural integrity of our skin. When UVA and UVB rays come into contact with the skin, it can increase the number of free radicals which damages the DNA in skin cells. This can cause overactive cell proliferation, or cell division, which can increase the risk of skin cancers and premature aging.
Changes to skin cell DNA can cause additional problems. It can damage cell functions, particularly in immune cells that live in the dermis. UV radiation can increase the inflammatory response, which can alter how quickly skin gets repaired and heals. It can also change the elasticity of our skin, and destroy essential proteins called collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in the body. It makes up connective tissues in nearly every system. Collagen can be found in bones, joints, cartilage, the lining of internal organs, and most importantly, in the skin. Collagen makes up about 80 percent of the skin, and it’s where the most immune cells reside.
Collagen production naturally starts to decrease as we age, but exposure to UV radiation can cause collagens to break down faster. This can make it more difficult for the body to replace those collagens with new ones.
How to Identify Sun Damaged Skin
Managing sun damage prevention and protection starts with understanding what sun damaged skin looks like. There are many indications of sun damaged skin other than the typical sunburn, although that should be taken just as seriously, as a high volume of sun burns can increase the risk of skin cancer exponentially.
However, what are some other signs of sun damaged skin?
Signs of sun damage include:
- Moles (cancerous and noncancerous)
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Dry skin
Moles can also be a sign of sun damage, depending on what it looks like. Not all moles are cancerous, in fact many are non-cancerous, but they should be given special attention to as a precaution. To better understand the difference between cancerous and noncancerous moles, first we need to know how moles are formed.
Within the skin are cells called melanocytes. These cells make up the natural pigments in skin called melanin. When melanocytes grow in clusters or groups, they create moles. Sometimes the rate at which melanocytes cluster is mild, other times they grow and cluster at a rapid rate. When these melanocytes create moles of considerable size and discoloration, this is usually a sign that the mole is cancerous.
What do cancerous moles look like? Cancerous moles can range in appearance, but they typically have a few commonalities.
Cancerous moles can have any one of the following observable qualities:
- Different shades of brown or black
- Can look red, blue, or even white as they grow
- Be large in size
- Be raised above the skin
You should schedule regular check ups with your healthcare provider to run tests to screen for skin cancers, especially if they are common in your family medical history.
Wrinkles and Fine Lines
While wrinkles and fine lines are a sign of natural aging, they can be worsened by chronic exposure to UV rays. Skin elasticity is dependent on the structural integrity of proteins and the amount of moisture retained by those proteins. Sunlight can weaken those proteins, which in turn, dries them out making skin less hydrated. This causes the skin to become heavier which can cause deep creases in the skin in the forms of fine lines and wrinkles.
For women who experience dry skin regularly, this may also be an indication of sun damage. Dry skin can be a sign that the skin is losing its elasticity at a faster rate than it naturally would during the aging process. We know that UV radiation from sunlight can break down collagens, which are where the majority of skin moisture is stored. However, it can also dry out natural oils that get produced in the skin.
The sebaceous glands are glands in the skin that release natural oils (primarily sebum). These natural oils help keep skin hydrated and help support the health of the skin microbiome. The skin microbiome is the collection of bacteria that live on the skin. These bacteria can help maintain the microbial health of the skin and work with immune cells to reduce the risk of other bacteria and viruses from spreading.
What Can You Do?
So if sun damage poses such a threat to our skin, what can we do to help combat it? Staying hydrated, using sunscreen, staying the shade, and moisturizing are all great ways to help reduce sun damage to a certain extent. However, is there more that women can do to help support their skin health?
Yes, there is. One of the things that women can do to help support their skin health is to stimulate collagen absorption and production. Maintaining steady collagen levels can help the body maintain immune cell levels and maintain moisture. So, how can women better maintain collagen production as they age?
Take a Collagen Supplement
When the body can’t produce new collagen as effectively, using a collagen supplement is the next best step. A good collagen supplement is made with collagens that the body can easily absorb. An excellent example of this is hydrolyzed collagen. Hydrolyzed collagen, also known as collagen peptides, are a group collagen that has been broken into smaller pieces. This makes it easier for enzymes in the digestive system to break them down and absorb them into the bloodstream.
Goddess Glow is a collagen supplement designed with these specific collagens to help support collagen levels in the skin. Goddess Glow is designed with supporting ingredients like hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C to help promote skin immunity and keep skin hydrated. Hyaluronic acid helps supply moisture to the skin, which can help prevent skin from drying out. Vitamin C helps the body absorb and create collagens, as well as help keep immune cells healthy.
With the help of Goddess Glow, you can help support your skin’s health by promoting healthy collagen levels, supporting the skin’s immune response, and keeping skin hydrated.
Combating Sun Damage Is Possible
Sun damage doesn’t have to put your skin at permanent risk. With the right tools and consistent skincare habits, you can help combat sun damage and keep your skin healthy well into your later years. Just remember these tips and if be sure to speak to a dermatologist about what other options are available for your specific skin care needs.