Collagen is a protein located in the bones, muscles, skin, and tendons that provides structure in holding these parts of the body together.
There are two types of collagen. Endogenous collagen is the collagen produced by your body. Exogenous collagen is created by an outside source, like supplements. Today we will discuss collagen’s role in the body, as well as the uses of exogenous collagen as we seek to answer the question: does collagen in beauty products really revitalize the skin or reverse the skin’s aging process?
Your body needs to produce endogenous collagen to function. A lack of collagen can lead to health problems. Exogenous collagen is used for many different purposes which we will go over today.
Here are some quick and interesting facts about collagen taken from a Medical News Today article:
- Collagen occurs throughout the body, but especially in the skin, bones, and connective tissues.
- Some types of collagen fibrils, gram-for-gram, are stronger than steel.
- Collagen production declines with age and exposure to factors such as smoking and UV light.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a strong, fibrous protein that acts as a tough chain link between cells. I like to picture it as the supporting beams or chains of a bridge. There are at least 16 different types of collagen and it makes up one-third of the protein content in the body. Most of the collagen in your body is limited to three main types of collagen, each with its own structure and function.
As a skincare company, type one interests us most…”Type I collagen is the most abundant collagen in the dermis. It comprises about 80% of dermal collagen and plays a major role in providing tensile strength to skin. It is composed of two identical alpha chains and a third chain of different amino acid composition. The genes for these different chains are thought to be on chromosomes 17 and 7 respectively.” (Weedon’s Skin Pathology)
Roles: What does collagen do?
As you can see in the diagram, collagen acts as a supporting structure for the epidermis. Collagen also plays a part in replacing and revitalizing dead skin cells. As you age, the body naturally produces less collagen and the quality of collagen produced decreases as well. So is there a way to produce more collagen?
Uses of Collagen: Medical and cosmetic
Collagen injections can improve the contours of the skin and fill out depressions.
Wound dressing and healing
Collagen can help heal wounds by attracting new skin cells to the wound site. It promotes healing and provides a platform for new tissue growth.
Guided tissue regeneration
Collagen-based membranes have been used in periodontal and implant therapy to promote the growth of specific types of cell.
Collagen tissue grafts from donors have been used in peripheral nerve regeneration, in vascular prostheses, and in arterial reconstruction.
Treatment of osteoarthritis
Collagen supplements or formulations may help treat osteoarthritis.
Do products with collagen actually rebuild skin? Science sadly says no.
“Many products containing collagen, including creams and powders, claim to revitalize the skin by increasing collagen levels within the body. This is unlikely, however, as collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin. Any benefit is probably due to the moisturizing effects of these products. They do not directly increase collagen.”– James McIntosh, Medical News Today
We do not add collagen to our products for this reason, but we do include ingredients that may improve, stimulate, and encourage collagen growth and production.
Our Bamboo Shampoo Bar contains silica due to it’s bamboo content. Natural Silica rebuilds collagen when it has been damaged by free radicals.
Our Antioxidant Beauty Facial Soap contains sea buckthorn. Sea buckthorn contains a collagen-creating Omega 7 fatty acid.
Preventing collagen loss naturally
Keeping skin moisturized and healthy is important. Using soap with ingredients that protect skin and encourage collagen production can’t replenish collagen, but they can aid in the process of keeping skin healthy
Maintaining a healthy diet with nutrients that may support collagen formation include:
- Proline: In egg whites, meat, cheese, soy, and cabbage.
- Anthocyanidins: In blackberries, blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.
- Vitamin C: In oranges, strawberries, peppers, and broccoli.
- Copper: In shellfish, nuts, red meat, and some drinking water.
- Vitamin A: Occurring in animal-derived foods and in plant foods as beta-carotene.
List of nutrients obtained from Medical News Today
What damages collagen?
A poor diet that is high in sugar, smoking, and sun exposure are leading factors in damaged collagen.
Avoiding tobacco and excess sun exposure and following a healthful dietary and exercise regime can help reduce visible aging and protect collagen, keeping the skin, bones, muscles, and joints healthy for longer.
So let’s all make some smoothies with kale and take a jog, huh?