Collagen is advertised as the ingredient that can plump the skin, keep the hair shiny, the nails and bones strong. Does this super anti-ageing ingredient really work? Or is it just an ingredient hyped by clever marketing?
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. It is found in our muscles, bones, skin, our organs, blood vessels and ligaments. It is also an important component of the skin because it provides elastic and structural support.
Types of Collagen?
There are at least 16 different types of collagen, with different functions in our skin and body. Let’s run through a few common types in the skin and how they contribute to healthy skin.
Type I Collagen
This is the most commonly found collagen in our body. It is also the strongest and it’s found in our dermis layer of the skin, bones and ligaments. In young skin collagen type one makes up 80% of our dermal collagen (Collagen - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, n.d.), however, decreases with age.
Type II Collagen
Type II collagen is mainly found in our cartilage.
Type III Collagen
Type III collagen makes up 15% of our dermal collagen coexists with Type I to give the skin its elasticity and firmness. Type III collagen increases with age. Interestingly, this is the type of collagen that is found most abundantly during wound healing, while it is strong, it is also less elastic compared to Type I. This collagen is found in keloid scars and abnormal scarring of the skin.
Type IV Collagen
Type IV collagen is an important part of our dermo-epidermal junction which supports our skin to hold its frame against the effects of gravity. It also provides a cushion for the skin tissue above this collagen.
We Lose Collagen As We Age
After the age of 20, we begin to gradually lose our body’s collagen supply. We can start to see signs of ageing on our skin appear, such as wrinkles, sagging skin and cellulite. We can even feel the loss of collagen in the form of joint pain. Lifestyle and environmental factors can quicken this collagen loss, for example, constant exposure to UV rays or a diet with poor nutritional value.
How Can Collagen Supplements Help?
There are emerging studies that suggest collagen supplementations can improve the skin’s hydration and elasticity, hence helping the skin to look younger and firmer. There is also research that shows collagen supplements can potentially improve muscle mass and reduce joint pain caused by ageing. But do bear in mind that research has not been able to link consuming collagen directly to stronger bones and better skin.
Collagen supplements can come from many sources and in many forms, it can be confusing to choose which to consume, so how do you choose the right collagen to take?
Choosing Collagen Supplements
Go for Clinical Proof
Choose collagen supplements that contain well-researched ingredients that are proven to support the production of collagen in the skin. While consumption of collagen may how may not help with your skins collagen production, there are proprietary ingredients that are being developed to help with the body’s natural production of collagen. IOMA Miracle Capsule is one such research-proven (Jenkins et al., 2013) collagen supplement. You can see better skin moisturisation, less wrinkle depth, softer and smoother skin and more beautiful hair in 14 weeks of treatment.
Other Way to Support Collagen Production
Protect Yourself From Activities That Speed Up Collagen Loss
Stay away from cigarettes. Protect your skin from harmful environmental pollutants with pollution protective skincare. You have to go out to the sun wear protective clothing is and use more topical antioxidants such as vitamin C and vitamin E. Remember to apply sunscreen with enough protection when you are exposed to the sun.
Drink Bone Broths
Many Chinese and Western cuisine have soups that are made with bones of chicken, pork and beef and simmered to cook for many hours. This is one of the simplest and most economical ways of increasing collagen consumption. Not to forget, there are many minerals released from the bones into the soup, this can provide holistic support to your health and beauty needs.
Collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed through your skin. So keep in mind that the creams, serums and masks that claim to contain collagen to help reduce wrinkles do not work. Save your money and invest in collagen supplements, holistic food and skincare products that contain vitamin C and ingredients that support collagen production.
Collagen - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/collagen
Jenkins, G., Wainwright, L. J., Holland, R., Barrett, K. E., & Casey, J. (2013). Wrinkle reduction in post‐menopausal women consuming a novel oral supplement: a double‐blind placebo‐controlled randomized study. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 36(1), 22–31. https://doi.org/10.1111/ics.12087