These days, you can’t navigate the beauty aisle without seeing the word “collagen” brandished in just about every product imaginable. From serums to sheet masks, each product claims to either preserve, boost or restore its production. But before you dismiss this collagen craze as just another beauty fad, let’s take a look at what it is exactly and why we need so much of it in the first place.
What Is Collagen—and Where Does It Come from?
Collagens are a protein peptide that comprises 30 percent of our body’s total protein mass—making them the most abundant protein in mammals. Found in the skin as well as tendons, cartilage, ligaments and linings of bones and blood vessels, it allows the body and the skin to retain its shape and resist tearing and deformation.
The Skin Benefits of Collagen
Among other things, collagen is responsible for keeping skin firm, supple and smooth. Many believe ingesting collagen can improve the overall look and feel of skin. As of now, there isn’t a lot of good, conclusive data on ingesting collagen via pills and powders and what it does to your skin.
However, there is plenty of evidence that Omega 3, Vitamin D, C, E, A and K are an essential part of your health regimen. It is, after all, your body’s largest organ.
Collagen also improves elasticity, which reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Hyaluronic cocktail injections are one treatment that can help prevent new stretch marks from forming and fade existing ones by increasing collagen production.
How Collagen Breaks Down
Unfortunately, our body loses collagen over time. Starting in our 20s, its production goes down by 1 percent each year. The breaking down of collagen is also further affected by other factors such as pollution, smoking, alcohol and stress.
But all is not lost. Collagen production can be increased by improving the metabolism of the skin.” Laser and radio frequency procedures can help encourage the production of collagen, with topical retinoid and retinol being alternatives to procedures. Collagen supplements—particularly those with collagen-boosting ingredients like vitamin C, zinc and hyaluronic acid—and a healthy diet and lifestyle, can also help prevent the destruction of collagen.