How to take care of your skin has become a recent hot topic and we hear many advising that everyone should put sun screen daily and introduce collagen to protect and help our skin remain youthful. For those living in the tropics, this is for you. We look at how does the sun and its ultraviolet rays affect our skin and how collagen can be helpful.
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Is it good to be under the sun?
Spending time under the sun, in moderation, has its benefits. Research has suggest that the health benefits of moderate sun exposure outweighs the risks and would recommend for people to go out in the sun once in awhile. It can improve bone health, brain function, sleep quality and others. With some sun on the skin, vitamin D is produced. In particular, vitamin D3 is formed and is significant to bone-strengthening and the avoidance of fractures.
It is important to however note that there is always another side to the coin. Sun rays is known to cause wrinkles, sagging and skin cancer. And breaks down collagen at a faster rate as compared to normal ageing. When UV radiation hits the skin, enzymes are produced which in turn breaks down collagen. Overexposure thus further increases the process of wrinkling and sagging.
Whilst sun exposure has its benefits, we do have to take note that it is in moderation that this is encouraged. Experts suggest less than 15 minutes of direct sunlight daily. With that, it is encouraged to wear sunblock of Sun Protection Factor 50.
What is collagen and why do its levels fall?
After water, collagen is the 2nd most abundant substance in the human body. It amounts to 30% of total protein and can be found in skin, muscles, bones and tendons. Its fibre-like structure forms connective tissues, which plays an important role in holding body cells firmly together. A tough and fibrous protein, collagen provides elasticity and strength to the skin.
Good collagen levels result in skin elasticity, healthy joints and a healthy cardiovascular system. You can identify the fall in collagen levels by looking out for:
- Wrinkled skin
- Sagging skin, notice around the eyes or on the face
- Weakened muscles
- Stiff tendons and ligaments
- Joint pain or more prone to cartilage damage
The human body has a plentiful amount of collagen. However, some experience the effects of a fall in collagen levels over the years. While it is know that as we age, collagen levels fall, there are other factors that contribute to the fall. These include:
- A change in hormone levels due to pregnancy, menopause and health conditions
- Lifestyle (i.e. smoking and diet)
- Overexposure of sun (ultraviolet rays can trigger a breakdown of collagen)
- Low levels of vitamin C
Why do we need collagen?
Living in the tropics would mean being exposed to considerably high levels of sun exposure. Which, from the above, overexposure can cause skin-related abnormalities and the breakdown of collagen.
Collagen’s primary role is to provide structure and support throughout the body. Not only does it play an important role in replacing dead skin cells, provide a protective layer for organs and strengthen joints and bones, it also helps with new cell growth. By introducing collagen to our body, it thus help combat the effects of sun overexposure to our skin and potentially may slow down the process of wrinkling, and saggy skin.
How to prevent collagen loss?
- Rid of unhealthy lifestyle habits
- Engage more in physical activities
- Protect skin from sun exposure. Wear sunscreen daily.
- Fuel vitamins and antioxidants
- Introduce supplements and other foods in diet
Living in a tropical climate means having your skin exposed more directly to sunshine, and more prone to having collagen in the body broken down at a faster rate. By introducing collagen, one may be able to lighten the harsh effects of UV rays and help the body remain youthful looking.
Post Image: Mikhail Nilov