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Collagen benefits for your skin
Collagen benefits for your skin


Collagen benefits for your skin

Collagen has many benefits and plays a vital role in keeping your joints and skin healthy. It’s a protein that can be found everywhere in your body, from your bones to your muscles and blood. Not only that, but it makes up 75% of your skin, excluding the water content. It’s safe to say, collagen is important.

However, as you get older, your body starts to produce less collagen, and the existing proteins whizzing around your body begin to break down. This leads to your skin losing its elasticity and, thus, the formation of fine lines and wrinkles. This is nothing to worry about - it’s just a natural part of the ageing process. However, some people look to collagen supplements and other products to help reduce the impacts of their body’s loss of collagen.

In this article, we’ll break down exactly how collagen can affect your skin and what it does to help. From eating healthy to using collagen-boosting skincare and supplements, read on to discover more about this powerful protein.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein that helps to strengthen and provide structure for tissue, muscle, bone, and skin. It plays an important role in the general goings-on around your body. In fact, it makes up around 30% of your total protein.

This 30% is composed of 28 different types of collagen, all with an important role to play in keeping your body healthy. Don’t worry, we’re not going to make you remember all of them, but there are four key types of collagen that help to provide your body with the support it needs:

  • Collagen Type 1 – this main type makes up 90% of your body’s total collagen. You can find it nearly everywhere in your body, as it helps to build and strengthen your bones, skin, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Collagen Type 2 – this type helps to keep your cartilage stretchy and elastic, meaning it does the important job of supporting your joints.
  • Collagen Type 3 – the third type of collagen is found in your organs, muscles, and arteries.
  • Collagen Type 4 – and finally, type lV is found in your skin, and helps to keep it elastic and firm.

What does collagen do for skin?

There are multiple ways collagen benefits your skin, including:

Improves skin firmness

Collagen strengthens and increases skin elasticity and firmness, which helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It also prevents skin from sagging, which can occur as collagen begins to break down as you get older.

Supports skin hydration

Collagen is pretty clever. It’s a key component of the skin’s extracellular matrix, which is important for retaining moisture. The protein’s triple helix structure helps contribute to the strength of this structure.

Maintains younger looking skin

Considered to be a ‘fountain of youth’ by some cultures, collagen does have some more tricks up its sleeve. The protein can support skin renewal by helping to replace dead skin cells and encouraging the growth of new ones.

Supports blood flow

Type lll collagen helps to build and strengthen your blood vessels and arteries. Because of this, it’s no surprise that some studies have shown that an increased amount of collagen can help boost and support blood flow in your skin.

Aids wound healing

Another purpose of collagen is that it has been found to help heal wounds by stimulating blood vessels and skin cells, as well as supporting the body in the production of bone cells. It also has the important job of regulating each step of the wound healing process, meaning a decrease in collagen production could result in your body taking longer to heal.

How to introduce more collagen for your skin

There are a few ways you can introduce collagen into your routine for healthier-looking, happier skin. These can include using certain cosmetic products, supplements, and even making changes to your diet.

First, though, there are a few changes you can make to your lifestyle and some healthy habits you can follow, which can help to increase collagen production. These include:

  • Wearing sun cream: Even if it looks overcast, up to 80% of the sun’s UV rays can still make it through the clouds, which can lead to skin damage, reduced collagen production and a faster breakdown of existing collagen.
  • Stopping smoking: Smoking can reduce your blood flow by constricting your blood vessels, which means less irrigation of the tissues, and skin in particular. Nicotine inhibits the synthesis of collagen.
  • Getting enough sleep and exercising more: As with any other bodily function, your natural collagen production process needs enough rest and fuel to be properly supported. Getting enough sleep (between seven to nine hours) and plenty of exercise is one of the best ways to ensure healthy collagen levels. Some studies even show that exercise can help slow down skin cell activity associated with signs of ageing.

As we take a look at ways to encourage collagen production below, it’s important to keep in mind that supplements and cosmetic products aren’t a substitute for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With this in mind, here are some extra steps you can take that may encourage higher collagen levels:

Collagen supplements

Although research around the benefits of collagen supplements is a little lacking, there have been some studies which have suggested that taking them can benefit your body in certain ways. Some have found that taking supplements can help to boost skin elasticity and hydration, while others have found them to help with improving joint health.

Skincare products

Collagen skincare products often come in the form of creams and serums. Rather than working like oral supplements to increase the amount of the protein in your skin, collagen-based creams and serums instead act as a protective barrier that helps prevent water loss from the skin. This is because collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin surface into the deeper parts of the dermis layer, where the collagen is produced.

Certain skincare products, such as the NEUTROGENA® Visibly Renew Body Lotion and NEUTROGENA® Visibly Renew Hand Cream contain collagen boosting minerals. Some – like the NEUTROGENA® Retinol Boost range – contain retinol, which has been shown to boost skin’s collagen production.

Adapting your diet

Maintaining a well-balanced diet can help support your body’s collagen production. By eating all the foods you should be eating, your body can generate the fuel that’s needed to naturally create collagen.

The raw ingredients you should look to eat more of to ensure you’re getting this vital collagen-creation fuel are:

  • Amino acids – notably proline and glycine. These can be found in protein sources such as eggs, meat, and fish, but also certain vegetables, nuts, and wheat.
  • Vitamin C – this can be found in a lot of fruit and veg, such as oranges and broccoli.
  • Zinc – zinc is found in a lot of leafy vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grain foods. You can also find it in red meat, poultry, and seafood.
  • Copper – this mineral is found in shellfish (like lobster), but also nuts, seeds, and mushrooms. You can also find copper in tofu (soy products) and dark chocolate.

    To conclude, collagen is an important protein that serves many purposes and is a key ingredient to keeping your skin, bones, muscles, and organs healthy. When production starts to decrease, there are some ways to easily integrate extra collagen into your everyday lifestyle – even if that just means maintaining (or improving) good, healthy habits.

    Collagen FAQs

    How much collagen per day is recommended?

    Research shows that daily collagen supplements can offer a number of benefits, including an improvement in skin elasticity and hydration, as well as a potential reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. Studies show that taking collagen supplements is generally safe and effective, with a dosage of around 2.5g per day showing benefits to skin health and hydration. However, depending on your desired benefits, you may choose to take more. Be sure to always check the dosage recommendations on the packaging.

    How long does it take for collagen supplements to start working?

    When taking collagen supplements, it can take around 12 weeks to start seeing results. However, you may notice changes to your skin sooner, with some studies finding that people who took 2.5g or 5g of collagen per day noticed an improvement to their skin elasticity in just eight weeks.

    What is collagen peptides?

    Collagen peptides are the building blocks of protein which can be found in fish and meat, beans, and lentils. When taken orally, they could offer improvements to wrinkles, skin elasticity, and hydration.

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