What is collagen?
Our body processes several compounds organically that play an active role in bolstering and supporting a variety of organs. Collagen is a protein produced naturally by our bodies. It helps in supporting and improving the skin structure. It is an essential ingredient for a majority of skincare products, specifically the wrinkle reduction products. Lately, many women seem to be inclined towards products infused with collagen to regain smooth skin and tone down on ageing effects. But before one gets into buying one of these products, it is crucial to understand what collagen is and what role does it play in skin improvement.
What causes loss of collagen?
Collagen is significantly essential for healthy skin. Loss of collagen may lead to wrinkles, early ageing effects, hyperpigmentation, and loss of glow and vitality. But the burning question is, what causes the loss of collagen? Well, there could be more than just one reason. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays, hormonal imbalance, genetics, dietary imbalances or even toxic chemical in skincare products may cause significant loss of collagen in your skin. Although the loss of collagen in the skin is due to the factors mentioned above, the good news is that the lost collagen can be restored in a variety of ways, which we’ll discuss later on in the article.
Skin Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body. Connective tissues that make up several of our body parts are composed of collagen. Let us now delve into the benefits of collagen for skin:
• Natural skin supplement
As a natural skin supplement, it strengthens the skin by aiding the skin in hydration and also keeps skin’s elasticity in place. Due to its hydrating properties, it prevents dryness at bay. When the skin is hydrated, there are lesser odds of the formation of wrinkles, fine lines, and discolouration on the skin.
• As an anti-ageing agent
Collagen in the skin primarily helps in reversing the pesky signs of ageing. It keeps the skin intact and in its optimal health. As we grow old, the production of collagen in our body slows down due to which our skin begins to loosen up, leading to various markers of ageing. Skincare supplements infused with collagen provide our skin with the vital dose of collagen to freshen up and tighten our skin.
• As a protective layer
Prolonged and unprotected exposure to sunlight may have damaging effects on the skin. The photons in the solar rays rupture skin cells and cause various skin woes. Collagen acts as a protective layer by replenishing the skin cells. Skincare products containing collagen can aid in relinquishing our skin cells and restoring the skin’s health.
• As a healing agent
The wounds and cuts you get over your skin are relieved by collagen in the skin cells. Collagen speeds up the skin’s healing process. The skin does need an adequate supply of collagen to keep its healing properties intact.
• Helps combat cellulite
Cellulite is a harmless skin condition common in women which causes lumpy flesh on thighs, buttocks and abdomen region. Collagen helps in fighting against this condition by providing the skin with firmness and elasticity.
Sources of Collagen
Now that you know what collagen is and the benefits associated with it. Let us now look into the sources to acquire them:
• Protein-rich food
Food items like fish, beef and other sources of meat are rich reservoirs of amino acids. Our body absorbs these amino acids and converts them into collagen.
• Bone broth
By simmering animal bones in hot water, we get the bone broth. This dense solution is supposedly a rich source of natural collagen.
• Egg whites
Egg whites are a remarkable source of collagen. Though they are devoid of connective tissue, it contains large amounts of proline, an amino acid. Our body assimilates this amino acid into collagen.
• Citrus fruits
Vitamin C plays a spinal role in collagen production. All citrus fruits are rich in this vitamin. The fact that this vitamin helps in collagen production accounts for its wide inclusion in numerous skincare products.
This ingredient is commonly treated as a taste enhancer in many recipes. Still, interestingly enough, garlic is rich in Sulphur which is a trace mineral that helps in production and breakdown of collagen into simpler parts.
• Marine Collagen
Collagen derived from marine sources, such as jellyfish and planktonophagous fish is one of the widely known ways of obtaining collagen naturally. No matter how bizarre it may sound, jellyfish (Rhopilema Esculentum) seems to take the skincare industry by storm lately. It’s enriched with various proteins, including collagen and glycoproteins. It doesn’t only amp up the level of collagen in the skin but also deeply hydrates it.
Types of collagen & its location
||Bone, skin, dentin, cornea, blood vessels
||Skin, ligaments, blood vessels & internal organs
||Basement membrane in various tissues
||Blood vessel wall, tendon, lung, bone, cartilage and skeletal muscle
How to Boost Collagen in Skin?
We can boost collagen production in the body via organic means in the form of food and also in the form of skincare products or medication. Following are some rich means to source out collagen:
• Vitamin C
It is one of the most extensively used ingredients in skincare products aimed at improving the synthesis of collagen in the skin. It facilitates the production of amino acids: hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline. Both are needed to bind the molecules of collagen. Citrus fruits and some vegetables are rich sources of vitamin C.
• Hyaluronic acid
This collagen-boosting ingredient makes up a large part of connective tissue in the body and aids in the production of collagen. Furthermore, it fortifies the natural lipid barrier of the skin and prevents collagen breakdown.
Antioxidants help the body against the free radicals and other harmful toxins in the environment, preventing collagen destruction. Although antioxidants do not directly help in enhancing the production of collagen, they retain collagen levels in the skin by neutralizing oxidative stress.
This derivative of vitamin A is well-known for its anti-ageing action. It works by promoting the production of collagen in the dermal layer of the skin and speeding up cell regeneration. Also, it helps to organize new and existing molecules of collagen.
• Peptides and Growth Factors
These collagen-enhancing agents work as gentle collagen stimulators. A myriad of skincare brands is using plant-based peptides and growth factors in their anti-ageing product lines to provide its collagen-boosting benefits to their users. Both these compounds encourage the synthesis of stem cells and fibroblasts, which lead to higher levels of collagen.
Skin in mammals is considered as the largest body organ. It protects the body against outer elements that may damage our bodily systems. It is also vital to protect our skin and provide it with all the adequate elements it requires to operate at its best. Collagen is vital to our skin, but its production slows down over time. Therefore, we must balance it via intake of food that regulates collagen or use skincare products that contain active forms of collagen.