At the peak of the winter season, we often find ourselves daydreaming about the beach, yearning for warmth and sunshine. At this time of year, the days are shorter and darker, and there isn’t enough coconut oil in the world to soothe our dry, scaly skin.
What are GAGs?
Before we can treat the symptoms of our winter skin woes, it’s important to understand the structure of the skin itself. The dermis (the layer of skin under the most superficial/outer layer, which we show to the world) houses special proteins responsible for keeping the skin hydrated, youthful, and resilient.
Imagine the dermis as the scaffolding of the skin, and the collagen as one of the many support beams holding up this scaffolding. Within this structure, a substance called glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs, act like the glue.
What’s important about hyaluronic acid?
Collagen enhances the activity of the enzymes responsible for producing GAGs, including hyaluronic acid, a big player in skin health. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, providing moisture to that outer layer of skin we were discussing earlier, called the epidermis.
As one might imagine, the more hydrated this layer of skin, the smoother and fuller the appearance. Collagen itself, in its most abundant concentration within this layer of dermis, can become twisted if compromised and will affect the integrity of this entire structure.
Why do we lose collagen?
The loss of collagen in our skin can occur for a number of reasons, one being the reality of aging. Other causes of collagen loss include stress, alcohol consumption, sun exposure, and eating processed foods that are void of essential vitamins and nutrients.
We can’t neglect the importance of hydrating with water throughout the winter months as well. Not drinking enough water every day is at the crux of many dermatological and digestive complaints—two systems of the body that are inextricably linked.
How do we replace lost collagen?
So what is a healthy and sustainable solution? Collagen supplements are not new, but they’re certainly not created equal. Ensuring the collagen you take contains clean, non-GMO-derived collagen peptides is important. Just as critical is a solution that mixes well with water, so you can accomplish two necessary tasks for taking care of your skin—in all seasons.
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