You've probably heard about how collagen helps your skin look fresher and younger. But do you understand what it is? Let's take a lesson on this essential agent.
What is collagen?
It is a long, fibrous structural protein that constitutes 30% of all protein in the human body. It connects and supports all the body's tissues and occurs in our tendons, skin, hair, bones, cartilage, and fascia. Collagen is most abundant in the skin, making up 70% of its total mass.
Collagen has immense tensile strength; that's why it can hold a lot of tension without breaking. It gives skin its elasticity and is the most prominent protein in the tendons that connect our muscles to the bones.
These elongated fibers are sturdy and tall when we're young, but shorten and become weak as we age.
What happens to collagen as we get older?
As we age, the body produces less collagen. From our mid-twenties, our bodies produce about 1% less collagen each year. Also, the collagen we already have deteriorates, and that has a significant impact on our bodies.
The reduction of collagen slows us down, and we have a harder time building muscle and retaining flexibility. We experience joint aches and pains more often, our hair thins, and our skin loses its luster. Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, and thinning of the skin become more prominent.
How do we counteract this breakdown?
Numerous companies have products that stimulate collagen production through procedures or consumables. These products appear to have results – but there isn't sufficient evidence that they're effective at stimulating collagen.
Can you apply collagen to the skin and experience its benefits? Science tells us this doesn't work. Collagen molecules are too large to reach the dermis (deep skin layer), for them to go to do any good. Even nano-particle collagen in skincare doesn't seem to give the skin the type of boost that it can utilize. So if you have a product with collagen as an ingredient, it probably doesn't do much.
Most scientists say that consuming collagen for beauty is pointless too. The body will break down this protein and use it for energy like any other protein. However, some people report a positive difference in their skin and nails after taking collagen protein products. How does it work?
Maybe the supplements have plenty of amino acids and phytonutrients that provide benefits for overall health. It could also be that the body uses the specific amino acids in the collagen protein to produce more collagen.
What scientists agree on is that vitamin C can contribute to this issue because the body uses it in the creation of collagen. Vitamin C is also a powerful force against oxidative stress, a significant cause of aging and environmental collagen degradation.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team