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Collagen is a common word in the beauty industry mostly because it’s the most abundant protein source in the human body. Scientists estimate collagen to cover around 30% of the total human body’s protein content as it’s the main connective tissue found in the skin. In non-scientific terms, collagen is the glue-like structure that keeps the skin firm, supple, and resilient. Collagen production in our bodies starts to decline around the age of 25. This process is further accelerated by lifestyle factors, such as pollution, chemicals in skincare products, UV exposure, poor diet, and stress. In your 30s, depending on the level of collagen in your body, wrinkles might start forming. With that said, you can tell why there is so much hype surrounding collagen. The simple explanation is that collagen is the key to a wrinkle-free, scar-free and non-sagging skin.

What Is Hydrolyzed Collagen?

While collagen is the natural protein that our bodies produce to keep the skin tight, Hydrolyzed Collagen is the chemically or enzymatically processed collagen. The process involves breaking down collagen fibers into smaller chains of amino acids known as peptides. Nowadays, Hydrolyzed Collagen has become a popular protein substitute used in beauty products.

Hydrolyzed Collagen and Skincare

Hydrolyzed Collagen is found in dozens of skincare products touting to get rid of wrinkles and improve skin elasticity. Other applications include nail conditioning agent, hair conditioning agent and also as a humectant.

Collagen can be obtained from animal bones or skin, which are transformed into lotions, pills, or powder that can either be ingested or applied to the skin. There have been claims that these peptides can penetrate the skin cells through the outer skin barrier into the dermis. While it may seem possible that a cream or lotion full of collagen particles can increase the production of collagen in the body, (as long as the peptides can reach the dermis), we are yet to find concrete evidence to support this theory.

It’s a fact that skincare products formulated with collagen will leave your skin feeling smoother and softer, and the wrinkles less visible. But, according to a section of dermatologists, this is just on the outside, and it’s temporary. Studies suggest that collagen molecules are too thick to penetrate the epidermis, let alone the dermis where all the magic happens.

Medical centers researching hydrolyzed collagen say that mature collagen is enzymatically processed and broken down into tiny bits to enhance its absorption once applied to the hair or skin.

Do Collagen Supplements Really Work?

The answer is controversial. As we mentioned earlier, collagen is the main structural protein in your connective tissues, such as the skin. It’s a complex structure that’s formed of long chains of amino acids that combine to form helices. These helices then connect and stack on top of each other to form clusters known as fibrils. As you can tell, collagen molecules are huge and won’t penetrate the epidermis. Most products use collagen substitutes, what we call hydrolyzed collagen. These peptides are used in lotions and pills and are thought to be small enough to penetrate your epidermis. In regards to helping your skin stay young and healthy, the scientific evidence to support this claim is still vague. However, according to several studies, there are claims that taking collagen supplements can have the following benefits on your skin and health:

Might Fix Wrinkles

The skin loses its ability to produce collagen as we age. Other factors like sun exposure, food, and pollution accelerate its decline and expose the skin to early aging. Since collagen is the primary compound that keeps your skin tight, it makes sense to increase its production using collagen supplements, lotions, pills, fruit chews, and injections. The effectiveness of the products you choose depends on the method used to make up the collagen. Several studies support this theory saying that taking supplements containing collagen peptides might actually reduce wrinkles, increase hydration and improve skin health. However, since there isn’t much evidence to support the effects of applying collagen-containing creams on your skin, you should proceed with caution. What we know to be a fact is that the main benefit you can get is a moisturized skin with a nice glow.

Boost Heart Health

Theories are suggesting that taking collagen supplements benefits the heart. Collagen does more than just tightening your skin. It also strengthens your arteries, thereby preventing heart-related conditions. Some studies found that collagen supplements increased the level of HDL (good) cholesterol by up to 6 percent.

Boost Muscle Mass

Muscle tissue is composed of around 10 percent collagen, which is responsible for keeping your muscles strong. Researchers claim that taking collagen powder or supplements helps to prevent loss of muscle mass. There are also claims that these supplements may boost muscle growth after an exercise, although more research is required to draw conclusive results.

Conclusion

The perceived benefits of collagen products on your skin may be overstated. While applying them on your skin is harmless, you should speak to your dermatologist for advice on how to minimize collagen loss and prevent skin aging.

All images by Pixabay

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