What role does Collagen play in your Skincare routine?
We all want to look younger for longer and ideally turn back time. Looking at old pictures of us and seeing a smooth and tight face. Many search for the magic bullet that retains that longer youthful looking skin. And if you go to Google, Bing, or other search engines and you search for anti-ageing skincare products. No doubt you have come across the keyword: collagen.
Many brands claim that collagen is the answer to fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. Marketing claims like "replenish your collagen" "boost collagen production for a tighter and firmer skin appearance". But without much scientific backing or in vitro studies. Let's have a closer look at collagen and what it can do.
Collagen: where to find it in our body
Collagen is the main structural protein of the extracellular space in various connective tissues, including the dermis, the middle layer of skin that lies below the epidermis. The connective tissue of the dermis provides strength and elasticity to the skin through an extracellular matrix composed of collagen and elastin fibers.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, making up 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content. To date, 29 types of collagen have been described, however, over 90% of collagen throughout the body is of types I through V, with type I being the most abundant. Below outlines where collagen types I through V can be found.
- Collagen type I: skin, tendon, vascular, ligature, organs, bone
- Collagen type II: cartilage
- Collagen type III: reticulate fibers
- Collagen type IV: forms basis of cell basement membrane
- Collagen type V: found in tissues containing type I
Why is type I collage the most abundant one? As it is found across your entire skin which is our largest organ. And collagen provides the beauty features we all yarn for: strength and elasticity.
Collagen: The slowing of the miracle wonder
However, when we turn 30, many of our processes in the body start to slow down. This means that collagen starts to break-down more than it is being replenished in our skin. And as a result, our skin starts to become increasingly thinner, losses elasticity, strengths followed by sagging and wrinkle development. All three layers of our skin are effected by this natural process. It has been stated in various scientific papers, that collagen production decreases by approximately 1% with each year of age after maturity, leading to a loss in firmness and elasticity of skin. (Cosmetic Dermatology)
Collagen: is the ingredient worth the hype in skincare products
As far as our research go, we haven't found any scientific papers that outlined that collagen deterioration can be stopped with collagen topical application. However, even though there is no proof, there are many products claiming the opposite. Despite the important role of collagen in skin, adding collagen in a topical product does not do much. The reason being, the molecular size of collagen is too large to penetrate the first skin layer. That means it cannot travel into the deeper levels to have the anti-ageing benefits that we all desire. The main benefit of applying collagen is to moisturise your skin. However, there are many more inexpensive ingredients that can provide hydration to your skin in an effective way.
What can you do instead to protect and rebuild collagen?
A healthy Skin Barrier
Healthy and functioning skin barrier is an important protector against dehydration, penetration of various microorganisms, allergens, irritants, reactive oxygen species and radiation. The skin barrier may be specifically adjusted to allow penetration. For this reason daily skin care including the right ingredients can increase skin regeneration, elasticity, smoothness, and thus temporarily change the skin condition. However, it is necessary to stop the degradation of the skin primary structural constituents, such as collagen, elastin, to prevent the formation of wrinkles. Although the technology required to suitably deliver these compounds into the skin has not yet been developed, some products do promote the natural synthesis of these substances. Another approach preventing wrinkle formation is the reduction of inflammation via topical antioxidants which should be used in combination with sunscreens and retinoids to enhance their protective effects. Since you now understand that using topical collagen products is not very effective in terms of anti-aging treatments, there are still ways to slow down the deterioration of collagen.
Topical vitamin C
Studies have shown that Vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid with concentrations between 5% and 15% has proven to have a skin anti-ageing effect by inducing the production of collagen types I and III. (Dermatoendocrinol. 2012) You don't need to go above 15% because your skin cannot metabolise more than 15%. Please note, this is only valid for L-asorbic acid and not the different Vitamin C derivatives available in the market today. Explore our Antioxidant Defence Booster that is rich in L-Asorbic Acid allowing you to mix a fresh Vitamin C boost in your bathroom everyday.
Retinoids have been scientifically shown many times over to increase collagen production in the skin, thereby reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They do so by accelerating your skin's natural turnover cycle. When this happens, you have more healthy, fully functioning skin cells: These young cells are better able to produce collagen. While Retinol is more potent and can achieve results after a few applications. You can also choose Phyto-Retinol which will help your skin collagen production in a more natural and subtle way.
Glycolic acidThis has been shown to increase collagen production when used topically. It's thought to do that as it triggers a restorative healing response in the skin, which spurs collagen production.
There are also more invasive treatments such as laser treatment, chemical treats and Co and those are best to be discussed with your dermatologist.
Lifestyle is key and influences how we look when we grow older. It is about protecting and working preventively to slow down the deterioration of the collagen that you have and make it remain stable.
- Manage stress. Stress causes an increase in hormones like cortisol, which research has found can decrease the production of collagen. Additionally, when we are stressed, our bodies redirect nutrients to organs like the lungs and brain, meaning the skin doesn't get as many resources to produce a healthy amount of collagen.
- Sleep. Beauty sleep is real: The REM cycle is actually when the body is able to do most of its cellular rejuvenation, collagen included. During this time the skin sees a surge in HGH (human growth hormone) in the nighttime sleep cycle. The release of HGH helps rebuild body tissues and spurs increased cell production to replace cells naturally lost throughout the day.
- Practice smart sun care. We cannot say it enough. Natural light is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle but make sure you do use SPF to protect your skin from the sun. The sun accelerates the break-down and early signs of ageing will appear on the skin.
While we understand this might be quite a blow to some of you. We would rather you being aware and save your money. In particular during these tough times. On the other side, we do understand that collagen is an important part of our skin. Thus we need to understand how we can maintain it and rebuild it through skincare that fosters healthy skincare and works preventatively. What is a given is that we all age. And as one often says "ageing is a privilege". Let's age in a healthy and sustainable way by providing our skin with what it needs Everyday. As despite marketing claims, topically applied collagen is not going to get you the results you desire in terms of improving the firmness and elasticity of your skin. But you can still have a healthy everyday skincare regime that can help to rebuild and protect the collagen you have available to you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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PS: We will be working on a Guide how you can rebuild collagen naturally for a timeless beauty.