Collagen is a crucial part of what makes your skin healthy and beautiful.

A protein made of amino acids, collagen helps maintain your skin’s firmness and suppleness – and ensures consistent renewal of skin cells.

Collagen has become a bit of a beauty buzzword. Lots of experts are vocal advocates of marine collagen and indigestible powder, and lots of wellness-aholics around the world have been adding it to their morning coffees for its multitude of health benefits.

But collagen isn’t just a trend, it’s a vital component of youthful-looking skin, healthy hair and strong nails.

As nature would have it, during the aging process, our body’s ability to make collagen decreases. Because of this, our skin starts to lose its elasticity, so we need to work a little harder to keep things looking firm and glowing.

While you can’t stop the aging process, you can help stop your skin’s collagen from experiencing unnecessary damage. There are some everyday lifestyle habits taking a toll on your skin’s collagen production without you even knowing it. But fret not, these are completely avoidable – and with a bit of effort, your skin’s collagen stores will be topped right back up.

 

Sun exposure

You’ve been told that spending lots of time in the sun is bad for you your whole life, we know. But it’s true, and extreme sun exposure is really bad for your skin. One of the effects of UV damage is that it causes collagen to break down at a faster rate than it would naturally – resulting in what we know as wrinkles. You also probably know that UV damage causes free radicals. These increase the amount of enzymes working to break down collagen – depleting it of plumpness.

While you can’t avoid the sun all together, you can take steps toward minimizing its damage on your skin. Make sure you wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re out, and ensure you’re applying a minimum of SPF 30 to your skin.

 

Not eating your oranges

Or your broccoli, spinach, sweet potato, and tomatoes. What do all these foods have in common? They’re all very high in Vitamin C. Vitamin C, perhaps the most well-known of the vitamin family, is famous for its immune-boosting benefits. But Vitamin C is an absolute magician when it comes to stimulating collagen production, and fighting off the bad guys that want to break it down.

Your body has no way of producing Vitamin C by itself, so you have to incorporate lots of it into your diet. Eating foods like oranges and lemons, dark leafy greens like kale and red and yellow produce will ensure a diet high in Vitamin C.

 

Not enough sleep

Lack of sleep impacts lots of areas of your life (hello, fatigue!) – and one of them is that is compromises your immune system. A weak immune system has negative effects on the integrity and production of collagen – accelerating the signs of aging.

The answer is ensuring you get a solid sleep every night of the week, and making sure that you’re keeping your immune system happy with lots of vitamin-rich foods.