What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of the major structural proteins in our body, making up an abundant 70% of the protein within our skin. It contributes to the elasticity and strength of our cells. It’s made up of amino-acids: glycine, proline, hydroxyproline, and arginine, which help our body’s connective tissue stay healthy. Aside from our skin, collagen also helps to strengthen and give structure to our hair, nails, bones, ligaments, and tendons.
What Makes Collagen Break Down?
Age and environmental factors can limit our body’s natural ability to produce collagen. Collagen levels start to taper off and so does the quality of the collagen our body produces, causing our skin to become fragile and lose elasticity. Our own body’s enzymes break down collagen causing our skin to lose fullness and form wrinkles. Environmental factors like free radicals, pollution and over exposure to the sun on a daily basis cause further damage to our skin. Taking collagen internally and applying it topically can help replenish your skin and body’s health.
What Are The Different Forms?
Serums, Creams, and Masks Applying collagen topically in the form of serums, creams, and masks improves the texture of your skin and temporarily fills in fine lines and wrinkles while softening, smoothing, tightening, and plumping the skin. Topical applications like serums and creams are filled with an extra solvent or delivery system to allow the skin to absorb more of the active ingredients. While sheet masks help prevent quick evaporation and extend the time frame of the ingredients in the serums and creams penetrating the skin.
Powder Form Typically, when you're buying collagen in a powder form, this is a "hydrolyzed" collagen, meaning that the amino acid chains have been broken down into smaller units which allows them to dissolve in both hot and cold liquids. When collagen is broken down (it's a big protein), it makes it easier for your body to absorb. This type of collagen can be added to pretty much anything, from your morning pancakes and coffee to your green juice. In powdered form, it also gets absorbed by your body quicker and plays nicely with protein powder.
Pill Form As a pill, it's quick and easy to take. They are easier to transport because they don't take up much room and you don't need to worry about the taste or added sugars and flavors. With capsules, there is a delayed release of the collagen while the capsules dissolve in your stomach.
Fillers Injectable dermal or wrinkle fillers are known to immediately soften facial creases and add volume. New studies also show that certain fillers stimulate collagen production by stretching collagen cells, also known as fibroblasts. However, results are temporary and require multiple or repeat injections to maintain your goal. Results are also dependent on the experience of the injector.
The most important thing to know and remember is to make sure to protect the collagen you already have. You can focus on prevention by using sunscreen and stimulate the tissue by using topical growth factors and peptides.