The Truth About Collagen & Skincare

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Collagen is the “supplement of the moment”, everyone asks about how to increase their collagen. Do collagen powders work? What facial treatments increase collagen? 

Everyone is obsessed with it and for good reason. It’s not a new development that collagen supports healthy glowing hair, nails and SKIN but, the type you take matters….

First a bit of science and understanding about what collagen is:

What it is: Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body.  It’s in just about every tissue in our body including tendons, blood vessels, our digestive system, skin, bones, and muscles. Its high tensile strength and elasticity, especially type 1 collagen, literally holds us together. You might often hear it called the body’s “glue.”

While complicated, collagen is essential, understanding the role of collagen is important when wanting to slow down aging. Collagen helps with the function of healthy cells and about 70-80% of our skin is collagen.

How’s it made: In our body, collagen is formed naturally from the combination of specialized cells called fibroblasts and the combination of amino acids. Lab created collagen also combines amino acids (glycine + proline), vitamin c, zinc and copper are additional necessary ingredients to create proper building blocks.

How does it affect aging?

There are 13 types of collagen, the most common being type 1 – 5. In our 20’s collagen begins to slow down approximately 1% each year after 20, leading to a loss in firmness and elasticity and this occurs more in women than men. Diet and lifestyle play a role in maintaining and building collagen as well as sun exposure. Here is a rundown of the five most common types of collagen and their functions in our body.

Type I Collagen

Type I Collagen is by far the most abundant in our body: making up 90% of our total collagen. It’s known for both its strength and flexibility, so you’ll see its effects in the structure of our skin, bones, nails, blood vessels, tendons, and other connective tissues in our bodies.

Type II Collagen

Type II has a more fibrous texture and is most prevalent in cartilage (the connective tissue in joints, ears, the nose, and rib cage – basically, the structures in our bodies that are rigid, but not bone). When your Type II Collagen is depleted, your joints can ache, click, and grind since the connections at the end of your bones are not as padded as they once were.

Type III Collagen

Often found with Type I Collagen, Type III is also a fibrillar collagen, but more responsible for the pliable and flexible features of the skin and other organs. It’s helpful to think of Type I and Type II as a blend of fabric: one cloth that is woven from a blend of fibers that work together for a strong fabric that is still flexible.

Type V Collagen

Collagen Type V is often thought of as the hair and nails collagen, but it plays a much larger role in the balance of our body.  Type V collagen balances out the stretch and flexibility of other collagen types and provides critical structure for the skin, joints, and blood vessels. A depletion of Type V can be seen in the hair and nails externally, and internally, in the weakening of blood vessels and internal organ tissue.

Type X Collagen

The dense Type X collagen carries the structural trait responsible for bone strength and density – something that we naturally lose as we age. To preemptively battle aging brittle bones, a Type X Collagen supplement can give our body the foundational protein it needs to help build strong bones. 

So let’s build more! Ok how? Choosing the right collagen treatment plan.

Collagen peptides are usually considered the best form of collagen for ingestion. Hydrolyzed collagen should be taken if a person wants to take a collagen supplement. Hydrolyzed collagen means the collagen has been broken down into small peptides, which are easy for the body to digest. The choice between collagen powder and capsules depends on personal preferences and lifestyle. If you prefer convenience and a tasteless option, capsules might be more suitable. On the other hand, if you like versatility and customizing your dosage, collagen powder may be a better fit.

How it helps in skincare: When your body produces less collagen, you see it in the mirror as more winkles and less elasticity in the skin and the dermis thickens. Increasing collagen levels through the collagen-rich foods and supplements can help supply the difference in addition to certain topicals and treatments.

Because collagen is a large molecule, the body has to assign it as amino acids for function. So the component of the collagen in a supplement must come from food sources such as animal and vegetables: bone broth is an excellent source. So will taking a supplement improve skin…probably not drastically, however it’s still a good source of protein or amino acids that can benefit overall body health. Bottom line is: don’t rely on a supplement solely for skincare purposes.

When applied topically: collagen cannot integrate into dermis, meaning it is too large to enter. So how is it stimulated? Topicals including retinoids and vitamin C work at the level of the fibroblast (remember: where collagen is made) to speed up and make more collagen. Growth factors work to increase the production of collagen at that cell level as well. Controlled injury is another way to stimulate collagen: therefore microneedling aka collagen induction therapy and chemical peels. These invoke a healing cascade to promote production of collagen. Both must be done synergistically and consistently. Just one treatment per year and one bottle of retinol will not work. 

Keep in mind that if all this is done and you’re not wearing sun protection – it was all for nothing. Smoking, unhealthy lifestyle choices, inflammatory foods, etc all make bodily functions more difficult and harder to achieve visible results.

It’s important to note that while collagen supplementation has shown promising benefits in some studies, more research is needed to fully understand its effects on various aspects of health. Additionally, individual responses to collagen supplementation may vary, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

Amazing Face Spa blog and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on the Amazing Face Spa blog is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.