What Is Collagen And How Does It Benefit Your Skin?
With 55,000 monthly searches, collagen was the fourth most searched for skin ingredient in the UK in 2021. Indeed, online searches for collagen have tripled over the past five years, demand for collagen supplements has increased by 401% in the last 12 months, and the global collagen industry is set to be worth £775 million by 2023.
Celebrity fans of the prodigious protein, which accounts for 75% of the protein in our skin, include Khloe Kardashian, Jennifer Anniston, Victoria Beckham, Davina McCall, Halle Berry and Drew Barrymore. But exactly what is collagen, what does collagen do, and what are the benefits of collagen for skin? Read on to find out...
What is collagen?
Beauty’s biggest buzzword and the most abundant protein in the human body, collagen is often referred to as the body’s scaffolding. There are 28 different types of collagen, but over 90% of the collagen in the human body is type one. Particularly capable of being stretched, type one collagen fibrils are stronger than steel!
Rope-like in appearance, collagen is a long, fibrous, structural protein that, amongst other important functions, acts as one of the building blocks of healthy skin, bones, hair, and nails. Absolutely essential for skin health, collagen is the main contributor to plump, youthful-looking skin, providing it with strength, volume, elasticity, and hydration. Unfortunately, ageing and external factors mean that, over time, the collagen in our skin breaks down and by the age of 60 most females have lost 80% of the precious protein.
What causes collagen loss?
From our early twenties, collagen production slows down at a rate of 1-1.5% every year due to natural ageing. However, collagen depletion doesn’t happen at the same rate for everyone due to the added woe of lifestyle factors. Smoking, for example, is known to degrade collagen, as is excessive drinking of alcohol and too much exposure to the sun. Additionally, overconsumption of sugar can induce a process called glycation which reduces collagen turnover and diminishes its ability to interact with surrounding proteins and cells.
How can you increase your intake of collagen?
Although it’s produced naturally by our bodies, collagen as a molecule is too large to penetrate the skin’s surface, which means the way to up your intake is via ingestibles. The body produces collagen from amino acids so you can support collagen production by eating a diet rich in meat, poultry, fish, and eggs. However, absorption from food may not be as effective as that from supplements that have been broken down into shorter chains of amino acids, known as collagen peptides. These peptides, found in collagen supplements, stimulate the natural collagen production in the body, leading to tangible results over time.
What are collagen supplements?
Available in different forms, including collagen drinks, liquid shots, powders, and pills, the collagen in most supplements has undergone a process called hydrolysis, which breaks the protein down into smaller pieces, called peptides, so that the body is better able to absorb and utilise it. Boosting collagen from the inside out, one review of these ingestible elixirs found that taking between three and 10 grams of collagen a day for an average of 69 days led to improved skin elasticity and hydration.
How does the skin benefit from collagen supplementation?
A meta-analysis of 19 studies found that the skin benefits of collagen supplements included reductions in the appearance of wrinkles, increased elasticity, and improved hydration. A separate study revealed that a significant number of those taking a liquid collagen supplement experienced improvements in skin dryness and sun-induced photo-ageing. Recent research showed improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, smoothness, and density after 12 weeks of taking oral collagen supplements, whilst an additional study found a 20% reduction in eye wrinkles as a result of taking collagen supplements for eight weeks.
How long does it take for collagen supplements to work?
Most studies suggest waiting a minimum of eight weeks before expecting to see noticeable results from collagen supplements.
When should you start taking collagen supplements?
As is the case with most things, prevention is better than cure so the sooner you start to supplement with high-quality hydrolyzed collagen the better.
Our 4 favourite collagen supplements
A Beauty Shortlist Wellbeing Awards winner, Rejuvenated Collagen Drink Shots contain a high strength blend of 10,000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen, plus antioxidants, vitamins, and hyaluronic acid. Recommended by Elle and Glamour, the collagen drink has a unique amino acid profile which has been formulated to increase the production of collagen naturally. Within a matter of weeks, skin is smoother, firmer, and plumper. The fish used for these collagen drinks is sustainably sourced, ensuring they are low in sodium and eliminating the potential for mercury contamination.
Get all the skin benefits of collagen in a sugar-free formula with Totally Derma Nutraceutical Skin Drink. One serving delivers 10,000mg of high quality bio-absorbable nutraceutical collagen. The formula of collagen amino acid peptides also includes hyaluronic acid, and high levels of key antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and minerals to facilitate collagen production and repair. Great tasting, with a hint of vanilla, a single dose of Totally Derma Nutraceutical Skin Drink contains the equivalent of 26 capsule alternatives.
Recommended by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, Glamour, You, Get the Gloss, and Sheerluxe, Skinade Collagen Drink is loved by celebrities including Victoria Beckham, Millie Mackintosh, Emma Louise Connolly, Jen Atkin, and Frankie Gaff. After completing a course of the drink, consumers reported collagen skin benefits of increased hydration, suppleness, and radiance, fewer fine lines and wrinkles, and healthier looking hair and nails. The multi-award-winning collagen drink, which has been developed by leading UK scientists, delivers essential micronutrients to re-build the collagen matrix in your skin. Each bottle of Skinade Collagen Drink contains 7,000mg of high-grade marine collagen peptides sourced from fresh-water fish.
Specifically formulated to bring the collagen benefits of skin firming and wrinkle reduction, each bottle of Mesoestetic Collagen 360 Degree Elixir delivers 10,000mg of enriched marine collagen. The drinkable nutricosmetic, which is the result of years of research, encourages collagen synthesis, increases skin volume, and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Firming from the inside out, skin appears smoother, more elastic, and re-densified after just six days of taking Mesoestetic Collagen 360 Degree Elixir.
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