You’ve probably heard of collagen via TV adverts for skincare, in particular anti-ageing skincare, and for good reason. Collagen, along with another protein called elastin, forms structures in the skin that keep it young, strong and supple. Collagen is in fact a protein, but while all protein is good for skin, collagen is the main type needed for skin and joint health.
And in reference to those creams, unfortunately you lose your natural collagen as you get older, 1.5% a year after the age of 25 in fact (sigh….)
Stressors like not enough sleep, too much sun, smoking and a poor diet accelerate the decline in collagen in even more, so if you want to stay young and nimble then swap junk food and sunbathing for a diet rich in vitamin C (found in fruit and vegetables) as vitamin C in particular is needed for collagen formation.
What do I know about skin health? It’s a little known fact that pre-babies I was a senior beauty and holistic therapist in a 5* Spa, treating celebrities and footballers to massages and facials on a daily basis. I’ve seen a lot of faces up close and eased a lot of tight muscles (massaging a footballer….someone’s gotta do it…) so I came to see what really worked and what didn’t when it comes to keeping skin and joints young and healthy.
What’s less talked about but even more important as you age is the role collagen plays in keeping joints supple. I’m 34 at the time of writing and stay relatively fit and active, yet even I know the feeling of stiff knees after sitting for too long, or on a cold day. Collagen keeps your joints supple and flexible, and if there’s anything I’ve learned as I’ve got older (no I’m not ‘old’, but I’m not 18 anymore either…), it’s that being able to do the things you want to do without being held back by physical ailments is a key factor in having a good quality of life.
And sorry again, but losing collagen in your joints is part of ageing too. Another reason to swap boozy suppers for evening yoga (or other exercise) classes at least on some days.
Well you can do all the things I’ve already talked about; don’t smoke, minimise alcohol, sleep, exercise and eat a good diet. Good skincare helps, but lifestyle helps more, and diet plays a huge role of that. I know I hark on about the importance of what you put in your body but honestly it’s really that powerful. And while putting things on your skin is ok as some does get absorbed, putting things in your body is better, as it’s then processed within your body and sent to where it’s needed. And weird as it sounds, you can actually take collagen as a supplement, sometimes in capsules but more often as a power you can add to food and drinks at any time of day. It’s not stimulating and it’s not a replacement for food, though since it’s orange flavour you might want to stick to sweet foods, smoothies or water.
I came across Clean Performance collagen and while they’re not the first brand I’ve tried, they’ve actually added a few other skin and joint healing ingredients which do similar jobs of keeping things strong and supple. Hyaluronic Acid is another skin cream ingredient because it can hold up to 6 litres of water for every gram (!) so it’s absolutely brilliant at keeping skin hydrated. Cherry extract is very dense in antioxidants, which you’ll also know are vital for keeping ageing free-radicals at bay, unless you’ve been living in a cave. Chondroitin Sulphate and MSM you might recognise from the sports world or what your aunt takes for her bad knees – both parties are wise to do so since these really help calm inflammation and preserve joint health. I used to take it regularly when I was working in a spa doing massages all day as arthritis in the hands and wrists is common in masseuses.
Clean Performance collagen is from marine sources so unfortunately not suitable for people with fish allergies but at least means it’s fine for people avoiding bovine (meat) or gelatine (pork) sources. It’s also hydrolysed which means the tiny particles are easily absorbed and used in your body. It contains no sugar, soy or dairy, and is made from non-GMO sources in the UK.