Help for Aging, Dehydrated Skin

If forced air heating and cold winter winds are wreaking havoc with your skin, you are not alone. There are innumerable claims that beauty products and supplements can improve aging skin and it’s hard to know what works and what’s snake oil. 

A recent trendy supplement is collagen, which makes up 80 percent of the skin helping to keep the dermis elastic and plump.  Over time, the body begins to lose collagen and sun exposure, smoking and pollution can speed up the process.   Wellness and beauty companies claim that supplementing collage in the form of collagen peptides can help to hydrate skin from the inside and lessen the signs of aging.  Some companies also suggest that collagen can improve joint pain or increase bone density.  

But does it really work?

According to a recent New York Times report, a 2019 review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology suggests that collagen could improve skin’s appearance.  But it will take patience to see lasting results and a commitment to take supplements, which can be costly, for the long haul.   Topical collagen isn’t likely to penetrate through the skin to the deeper levels where it will make a difference, but it’s important to understand that ingesting collagen won’t send it straight through the body to your crow’s feet.  

A less costly alternative for people who want to experiment with increasing their collagen intake is to make bone broth from beef, fish or pork.  The bones and skin are the richest sources of collagen in these foods but most people don’t eat these bits.  Bone broth is also rich in amino acids which may help collagen be absorbed into the body.  Plant-based “collagen” doesn’t actually contain collagen and studies have not proven they help build collagen in the body. 

Other tips for preventing premature skin aging

Use sunscreen daily, avoid tanning and tanning beds, stop smoking, wear sunglasses to prevent squinting, eat a healthy, balanced diet, drink less alcohol, cleanse skin gently, use a daily moisturizer and avoid any product that irritates the skin.  Studies have shown that eating a high sugar or refined carbohydrate diet can also speed up skin aging.  The American Academy of Dermatology also suggests that regular daily exercise can improve circulation and boost the immune system giving the skin a more youthful appearance.   And of course, hydrate from the inside out by drinking plenty of water every day.