What is Collagen?
Collagen is a long-chain amino acid and the most abundant protein in the body. It is composed of the individual amino acids Glycine, Proline, Hydroxyproline and Arginine and in nature is found exclusively in tissue, especially bones and connective tissue. It actually occurs naturally in our bodies but levels declines as we age.
Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is what is responsible for giving skin elasticity, hair its strength, and connective tissue its ability to hold everything in place. In fact, the collagen protein makes up 30% of the total protein in the body, and 70% of the protein in the skin!
Collagen is an important building block for elasticity, and its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines, cellulite, wrinkles and scarring. This protein is also necessary to firm sagging skin, and can even help even out your skin tone. Along with helping to keep your skin flawless, collagen can also improve joint and tissue health, arthritis pain and injury rehabilitation.
While collagen is beneficial to the entire body, it is most noticeably beneficial to the skin. This is because as a person ages, the epidermic (outer layer of skin) thins and loses elasticity in a process known as elastosis. As this happens, a person tends to show more signs of aging and acquire more wrinkles.
The good news is that these changes do not seem to be permanent or irreversible. In fact, a double-blind placebo study found that women who took collagen hydrolysate (the peptide form) regularly for 8 weeks saw a 20% reduction in wrinkles. This study also showed that collagen consumption can increase skin elasticity and hydration levels, which decline as we age. (study)
Collagen is not only an effective treatment for aging skin – it’s also critical in treating all kinds of wounds, including scarring.
A few weeks after you break out, a scar will form. New blood vessels move into the area and provide the skin with nourishment. Collagen starts to form in the area many months later, filling in the injured skin. Collagen is a tough, fiber-like protein that stimulates cellular migration and contributes to the development of new tissue. Collagen also provides immediate improvement to scars by replacing lost volume. When your skin is injured, fibroblasts produce collagen to fill and close the wounds. The crater-like scars that blemishes commonly leave behind are caused when collagen contracts or doesn’t grow back completely after a pimple heals.
Supplementing with Collagen
Collagen Powder (hydrolyzed) contains proteins broken down into individual peptide chains. This form is typically easier to digest and is often suggested for people with digestive problems. One advantage to this particular form of collagen is that it easily mixes into most hot and cold drinks and is tasteless,
Add these ingredients to work alongside collagen for maximum benefits:
- Vitamin C
- Amino Acids
- Hyaluronic Acid
Which supplement to choose? Look for a grass fed collagen powder.
A Dermal Roller
Ever heard of a dermal roller or skin needling? A dermal roller contains hundreds of tiny needles. When in use, these needles create small injuries on the skin, which in turn sends collagen and elastin production into overdrive to compensate as it heals—leaving your complexion tighter and plumper than it was beforehand. This makes it an ideal method for filling in fine lines and wrinkles, thickening and plumping the skin under the eyes (lessening the appearance of dark circles and bags), and even plumping up lips. Micro-needling is also a very effective treatment for acne scars and discolouration since it penetrates the skin so deeply. Plus, when used in conjunction with a serum (as it should be), it boosts ingredient absorption up to 90%.
Your skin may appear flushed as blood is rushed to the area for healing. But it shouldn’t bleed or hurt beyond little prickles. You can start with a needle size of 0.25mm or 0.5mm, choosing 1mm if you are targeting scarring.
Collagen in Skin Care
Fish or marine collagen peptides are known to have the best absorption and bioavailability due to their smaller particle sizes compared to other animal collagens. It is a rare and expensive skin care ingredient. Together with regular supplement use, collagen can prevent and improve many signs of skin ageing.