Tag Archives: What is Collagen

Anatomy of the skin

Collagen and Elastin

What are Collagen and Elastin?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body and it is found in the skin, bones and connective tissues. This strong, fibrous tissue connects and supports tissues including your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage and organs. There are over 16 types of collagen, but about 80 percent of the collagen in your body is either type I, II or III collagen. Type I collagen is stronger than steel wool gram for gram. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissues, and your body needs it for your skin to be supple and firm.

Elastin is another essential protein that is found in connective tissue and it is another protein that is vital to your skin. Elastin is responsible for giving structure to your skin and your organs, and it allows your skin to return to its normal shape after stretching or contracting. Collagen and elastin work together to keep your skin firm and to help it retain its shape. As you age, your natural collagen levels slow – after the age of 20 you lose about one percent of your total collagen per year – and when your skin loses collagen, it also loses its elasticity. Fine lines and wrinkles appear and become far more prominent as your skin loses its collagen levels.

Woman applying sunscreen

How to Increase Collagen and Elastin
Although you can’t stop your body from losing collagen, there are lifestyle habits that you can adopt to help replenish your collagen levels.

  • Wear Sunscreen – You know that you need to wear sunscreen every day to protect you from signs of aging, but you may not know exactly how sunscreen helps you. Both UVA and UVB rays do damage to your skin by weakening the skin’s natural support of collagen and elastin. As this damage occurs, fine lines and wrinkles become more visible.
  • Use Good Skin Care – The needs of your skin change, and as you age, antioxidants and other anti-aging ingredients become even more essential to your routine. Antioxidants help your skin fight off oxidative stress and they also help your skin maintain collagen and elastin levels. Retinol, the anti-aging wonder ingredient, is another important thing to look for in your skin care products. Retinol stimulates cell production, which helps to reveal newer, healthier and firmer skin.
  • Eat Well – What you put into your body appears on the outside of the body, so it’s important to fuel yourself with healthy foods. Eggs, beans and seeds are all a great addition to your diet because they all contain a high level of collagen-boosting agents. Antioxidant-rich foods like pomegranates and berries help protect damage to your body’s collagen levels.

Collagen and elastin are crucial for firm, supple and strong skin. While aging is inevitable, an overall healthy lifestyle that includes a nutritious diet, plenty of exercise and great skin care can significantly impact how your skin responds to aging. Boost your collagen and elastin by using the proper skin care ingredients and eating a diet with collagen-building foods to see skin that looks and acts younger.

How Topical Collagen Works

Even if you aren’t familiar with the exact science, your have certainly heard of collagen in regards to skincare. This skincare ingredient is a protein that is naturally found in your body, but your levels of collagen decrease naturally as you age. Because collagen is largely responsible for keeping your skin looking young and healthy it is a commonly sought out skincare ingredient.

Woman getting serum treatment.

What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found in your body. Think of collagen as the “glue” that holds things together, because essentially this is the function of collagen. Collagen is found in your skin, hair and nails as well as muscles, tendons and bones. Amino acids are found in large amounts in collagen molecules. These collagen molecules are what keep your skin looking smooth, firm and glowing. Additionally, collagen encourages cell repair and healthy cell renewal.

What is Topical Collagen?
Simply put, topical collagen is collagen applied to your skin. Most often, this is in the form of creams, lotions and other moisturizers. Some face masks also make use of collagen in their formulations.

How Does Topical Collagen Work?
The thought behind topical collagen is that when it is applied to the skin, your skin will absorb it increasing skin firmness and health. However, there is some evidence that collagen creams or lotions may not be as beneficial as they were once believed to be. The problem is with the size of the collagen molecule. Many experts believe the collagen molecule to be too large to actually penetrate the skin and to be absorbed. This leads to collagen simply sitting on the surface of your skin until it is washed away.

But don’t throw away your collagen-laced skin care products yet. Just because the actual collagen molecule is not effectively absorbed by your skin does not mean there are no benefits to collagen creams, lotions or other moisturizers. The peptides and amino acids that comprise the collagen molecule can help encourage new collagen production by increasing the elasticity of your collagen fibers and increasing resiliency of collagen structures on the skin. The other major benefit to topical collagen is its moisturizing ability. Collagen is a type of moisturizer known as a humectant. Humectants not only add moisture to your skin, they keep this moisture in place for long periods of time. Topical collagen does effectively moisturize, and keep the moisture in your skin.

Woman applying skin cream

Is Topical Collagen Worth the Investment?
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether or not you believe topical collagen products to be worth the investment. Collagen is an excellent moisturizer, but it does not offer the miraculous skin benefits that it claims.

How to Get Collagen More Effectively
Because collagen really is quite effective under your skin, you may want to consider alternative ways to get the benefits of this protein. A great way to increase your collagen levels is by adding collagen-rich foods into your diet. Dark greens, red and orange vegetables, fish, soy, citrus fruits and berries are all tasty ways to incorporate collagen into your eating plan. Collagen supplements are another option. Research is still being conducted on the optimal levels of and delivery system of collagen supplements, but taking one could benefit your skin, hair and nails. Our last post focused on collagen drinks, which haven’t been proven to be useful or useless, but it seems that most experts suggest taking an oral collagen supplement over using collagen drinks.

Collagen is a highly beneficial protein that can dramatically improve your skin, hair and nails. However, the traditional delivery systems, topical collagen products, may not be as effective as they were once believed to be. By eating a varied, nutritious diet you should be able to achieve optimal levels of collagen. If you want an extra boost for a healthy complexion, try a collagen supplement and of course, be diligent about you skin care routine.