Collagen is a word that’s often thrown around when the topic of skincare gets brought up. You may have heard of it being in skincare products and supplements or have heard about it being a protein that our bodies naturally produce.
The reality? Both of these statements are true.
Collagen is often touted as one of the most vital components to get your skin looking good. As we grow older, our body starts producing less and less collagen. This, in turn, can contribute to skin imperfections like fine lines, wrinkles, and saggy skin.
These blemishes can chip away the youthful glow in our skin, whether we like it or not. If you want to fight signs of aging, collagen skincare products are often the advertised to use as a holy grail of skincare.
But are these products really any good—or are they simply a ploy to get you to spend more? Let us clear the air for you. Here’s all you need to know about this vital skin protein.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is an abundant protein that comprises 30% of all the protein found in the human body. It can be found in almost all areas of the body that are connected by tissue—from the cartilage and tendons to our skin and bones.
Collagen plays a very critical role in the body; it serves as the body’s primary structure and support. It does this by forming fibroblasts in your dermis and removing and replacing dead skin cells.
Through these functions, collagen helps improve the firmness and elasticity of the skin. If there’s not enough collagen in the body, whether through age-related collagen synthesis deterioration or harmful sun exposure, it can make the skin look less plump and firm.
What Exactly are Collagen Products?
Just as aging is inevitable, every human being on earth is susceptible to this slow and steady degradation of the skin. While we are big believers in aging happily and gracefully, there are may of us who want to reclaim our youthful splendor (or not let it go in the first place!).
This interest has seen a huge range of collagen-rich products enter the the market. These products range from supplements and collagen powders and collagen creams.
Despite the minor differences in the application of these beauty products, they all claim to do one thing: replenish the lost collagen in the body which in turn will make wrinkles start to faded away and plumper, hydrated skin return.
But is such a claim scientifically backed and true? Let’s take a closer look.
Can Collagen Reduce the Signs of Aging?
The short answer is yes.
The long answer: randomized controlled trials demonstrate that collagen, both in oral and topical forms, helps delay the aging process among individual in test scenarios.
The 2022 Dermatology Practical & Conceptual study revealed that there were no major differences among the two anti-aging products in terms of benefits.
These benefits were as follows:
- Improved skin moisture
- Improved elasticity
- Increased hydration
- Reduced wrinkling
- Reduced skin roughness
If you’re interested in maintaining a youthful complexion, there is no harm in considering collagen products to help you achieve your skin goals. Just be sure to choose quality skincare products and avoid those that contain any of these harmful ingredients.
3 Ways to Boost Collagen and Look Younger
Besides taking collagen orally and getting treatment from cosmetic facilities like the Victorian Cosmetic Institute, there are a number of ways you can increase your collagen stores—or at the very least, slow down the loss of collagen in your body. Here are a few ways to boost collagen naturally.
1, Consume a Collagen-Boosting Diet
Diet plays a major role when maintaining your skin health. A number of these foods have a bioavailable form of collagen that your body can utilize immediately. Plus, eating these foods can also help produce more of the amino acids that are responsible for collagen growth.
Here are some foods to consider if you want to improve your collagen levels:
- Farm-fresh eggs
- Leafy greens
On the flip side, you’ll want to steer clear from certain foods to keep your collagen levels intact. Foods like processed cookies, and white bread can damage collagen molecules, thereby resulting in diminished collagen levels and worsening skin.
2. Don’t Ditch The Sunscreen!
Sunscreen is your skin savior all year around. Sun rays produce harmful UV rays that can penetrate deep into your dermis and collagen. Inside, it can wreak havoc by producing elastin and accelerating jumpstarting the photoaging process.
To avoid this from happening, it’s vital to wear sunscreen. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more is ideal. Besides sunscreen, it’s also a good idea to prevent yourself from being exposed to sun in the first place. Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses whenever you plan to go out. Also, wear long-sleeved clothes that can protect your arms and legs when it’s hot outside.
3. Avoid Smoking and Excessive Alcohol
Your lifestyle can greatly contribute to your skin health. If you eat the right foods and hydrate yourself regularly, you’re likely to develop skin blemishes far later on in life than someone who drinks and smokes regularly.
Smoking cigarettes is associated with lowered production of type I collagen. It is also associated with premature facial wrinkling and facial aging. Drinking alcohol regularly can also adversely affect your body’s ability to produce collagen. It does this by depleting your vitamin levels, which will consequently reduce the fuel to produce more collagen.
With a few healthy life choices, good skin maintenance and supplementing with quality collagen products, we can maintain healthy skin and reduce the acceleration of aging.