It was difficult to spot the difference because you look at your face every morning. You stumble upon an old picture from college or even just five years ago. “My skin used to be so smooth and firm!” “Where did that saggy, extra skin come from underneath my chin?”
Skin issues can be emotionally difficult to deal with. We feel self-conscious when there is a giant, red pimple on our nose or when there are more dark spots and less firmness in our skin. It is the first thing people see and generally, we cannot hide it.
As a teenager, I struggled with acne and later in my twenties, I remember waking up one morning with dry, scaly patches on the bridge of my nose and on my neck. Seemingly overnight, I found myself dealing with moderately severe eczema.
People would ask, “What’s wrong with your neck? Did you get a really bad sunburn.” As much as I tried to convince myself that I was not self-conscious about my skin, these innocent comments from friends and family started to wear down on me.
I would hesitate to wear t-shirts because they exposed my neck, and I did not want to deal with the “innocent” comments or have to explain that I was not contagious. I tried different eczema creams and lotions but this was more than just dry skin.
As much as I disliked going to the doctor, my mom, who is a pharmacist, convinced me to make an appointment with my family physician. My doctor examined my skin and came back after 5 minutes with two tubes of medication—two different forms of topical steroid creams. He said, “Just apply these until the patches go away.”
“How long will I have to use these?”
“Probably off and on for the rest of your life.”
That just did not make any sense to me. This was one of those turning points in my life that started me down the path of looking for answers about what these symptoms mean and how to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just covering up the issue with medications.
Little did I realize, or did my family physician, that my form of eczema (also commonly called atopic dermatitis) was not primarily a skin disease, but rather a sign that my body’s internal environment was out of balance.
My mom was always the one encouraging myself and her customers at the pharmacy to use as few medications as possible. She promoted healthy lifestyle and nutrition because she understood that medications were not the answer to all health problems. You might see why I was inspired to look to a different approach to medicine. My holistic medical education at Bastyr University, an accredited naturopathic medical school, taught me to look at symptoms in the context of whole-body health.
Even if you do not have a skin condition, taking care of your internal environment will keep your skin healthy, radiant, and smooth.
Let me explain.
Produced by fibroblasts, elastin is an important protein that enables our skin to return to its original shape after it stretches or contracts. Elastin fibers are like little rubber bands in the connective tissue throughout our bodies. Eventually, the fibers lose their ability to snap back.
Through the years, there are many things that can take a toll on your skin, including the sun, bad habits, and pollution. Exposure to these elements can damage the elastin fibers in your skin, which causes the skin to sag and stretch.
Loose skin and tissue under the upper arm area due to damaged elastin is a common issue. Flabby upper arm skin may make you feel reluctant to wear sleeveless shirts and swimsuits. Factors that contribute to sagging underarm skin include aging, smoking, genetics, and weight loss.
When your weight fluctuates, it can break or weaken the elastin fibers in the dermis, which results in the loss of tensile strength. Therefore, the skin is unable to bounce back and regain its original shape, similarly to when a rubber brand is stretched beyond its limit. If you lose weight and simultaneously lose muscle mass, this leads to a loss of tone that causes the skin in the underarm area to appear flaccid.
Here are some tips for avoiding
and treating sagging underarm skin.
Nearly everyone has heard of collagen and its importance for skin health, but few people know how to tell the difference between the many truths and falsehoods that abound regarding collagen supplements. Most people’s skin care knowledge lies somewhere between science and pure hype, and many misconceptions about collagen supplements are spread through word-of-mouth.
Let’s expose the top 5 myths about collagen supplements, so you can ensure that you’re using proven treatments in a correct way while saving yourself time, money, and effort.
As a dietitian, I’m educated and trained to be skeptical of food products and supplements that sound too good to be true. For good reason, as it is my mission to help others make safe and beneficial nutrition decisions! So, when I decided to personally try the Taut Collagen program, I made sure to do thorough research on the product first for myself, while keeping an open mind for what benefits (or honestly, lack thereof) I might experience, before sharing with others. But before I tell you all about my personal trial, let’s first review the basics of collagen for skin health.
Aging is kind of a bummer, am I right?
Even though our mothers gave us the heads-up that things are going to change, we then wake up one morning (approx. age 35 for me) and realize that 1) Things HAVE changed, along with 2) Mom was right…AGAIN . And unfortunately, our skin is usually where we see the effects of aging in our bodies first. From dryness, to volume loss and fine lines, to perhaps even the oh-so-unfair adult onset acne, time has a way of wreaking havoc on our once pristine skin.
But the great news is, we can reduce these effects by nourishing our skin from the inside, out. And as a registered dietitian, I’m here to provide a few proven nutrition tips and real-life tricks, to nourish your skin to help keep it glowing and healthy for years to come.
Protecting your skin from the sun is important, no matter what time of year it is, but it’s especially vital in the summertime. While you might want to bare your skin in the summer to achieve a beautiful, sun-kissed complexion, UVA and UVB radiation from the sun can wreak havoc on your skin and cause premature aging if you aren’t careful.
UVA rays, which account for 90 to 95 percent of the UV radiation that reaches the earth, penetrate deep layers of the skin and cause tanning. UVB radiation accounts for only 5 to 10 percent of solar radiation, but it damages the epidermis, or surface layer of the skin, causing sunburn.
UVA rays cause the collagen in your skin to break down at a higher rate than normal aging . They do this by penetrating the dermis, or middle layer of the skin, and lead to the abnormal buildup of elastin. This elastin accumulates and results in the production of enzymes that break down collagen.
The more sun exposure you get, the worse the damage becomes. UV radiation also creates free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that increase the number of enzymes that break down collagen. An excessive amount of free radicals in your body can also weaken your vascular system, cause poor circulation, and lead to deteriorated eye health.
You’ve probably heard of good fats and bad fats, but what about good sugars and bad sugars? Sugar is a carbohydrate that is naturally found in a variety of foods. An example of good sugar is the naturally occurring sugar found in whole foods like fruits and vegetables. This type of sugar is bundled with water, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Bad sugar consists of regular table sugar or the refined stuff you find in sodas, candy, ketchup, or baked goods. The average American consumes about 22 teaspoons of sugar each day . Many of us consume sugar without even realizing it because ready-made foods, even savory ones like pasta sauce and bread, often contain sugar.
A protein found in connective tissues of our body, collagen gives our skin support and elasticity while keeping it supple and firm. Our body naturally produces the collagen it needs but production starts to decline as we age. This decline also results in our skin aging, causing fine lines, wrinkles, and skin losing firmness and elasticity.
The concept of ingesting collagen supplements to promote firmer, youthful skin originates from Japan and its now catching the attention of celebrities and beauty editors in the US and Europe. No wonder collagen supplements that promise beautiful, youthful skin are now the fastest growing anti-aging product category. As a result, there are many collagen brands and types to choose from-- but not all collagen beauty supplements are created equal.
Here are 7 tips for buying the best quality, most effective collagen beauty supplement that will benefit your skin, and help visibly reduce fine lines and wrinkles.
1. Repair, strengthen, and rejuvenate skin with collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body. It is a major structural protein, making up about 75% of our skin. Skin with healthy collagen levels looks smooth, plump, and youthful. After the age of 25, however, collagen production slows and you start to lose approximately 1.5% of your collagen each year. The breakdown of collagen causes the skin to get thinner and leads to the formation of wrinkles.
Collagen gives the skin its strength and smooth appearance, so it’s crucial to protect and promote collagen growth. The active collagen fragments in collagen drinks are absorbed into the bloodstream and distributed throughout the body and to the skin. Skin cells called fibroblasts produce collagen.
Collagen drinks containing hydrolyzed collagen promote collagen synthesis by stimulating these fibroblasts to produce new collagen. Clinical studies shows ingesting 10,000mg a day for a period of 8 weeks help to increase skin thickness and collagen density, reduce wrinkles. See Clinical studies.
2. Hydrolyzed collagen can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and stay in the dermis of our skin
In their natural state, collagen molecules are too big to penetrate the skin’s surface, so the effectiveness of many topical collagen products is limited. Collagen molecules are also too large for your body to absorb when ingested. The process of hydrolysis breaks collagen down into fragments that are small enough for your digestive enzymes to break down completely. Hydrolyzed collagen consists of small peptides with low molecular weight that are easily digested, absorbed, and distributed throughout the body.
While traditional collagen serums only penetrate the top layer of the skin, hydrolyzed collagen is more easily absorbed by the body and can thus boost collagen in the deeper layers of the skin. A 1999 study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Arthritis & Rheumatology showed that orally administered hydrolyzed collagen was digested and more than 90% of it was absorbed within 6 hours, with measurable accumulation in the skin and cartilage.
3. Collagen drinks are better than powder or pills
Collagen supplements come in all forms, including tablets, capsules, chewables, softgels, powders, and even marshmallows. The problem with collagen pills and powders is that they could pass through your digestive system without being broken down. Pills are also hard for some people to swallow. Moreover, they typically contain fillers, binders, stabilizers, and chelating agents, making them less potent than liquid supplements.
The secret to success with collagen supplementation is taking collagen in liquid form. Collagen drinks are absorbed into your bloodstream faster than other supplements because the collagen is already dissolved in the liquid. Collagen drinks are also a lot more convenient than pills and powders. They come ready-made in small bottles that you can easily carry in your purse, so you can drink them on the go. No messes or mixing necessary. Additionally, collagen drinks are a lot more potent than other collagen supplements, so you can get a higher dose of collagen.
4. The higher the potency, the better
While there is no recommended daily allowance for collagen, high-end supplements typically contain more than 5,000mg of collagen. For maximum results, drinking a collagen supplement with at least 7,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen is recommended. Anything less than that simply isn’t potent enough. LAC Taut® Premium Collagen drink contains 13,000mg of hydrolyzed collagen per 1.7oz bottle, which is two to six times the concentration of other collagen drink brands.
5. There’s more to collagen drink benefits than meets the eye