Let’s talk collagen! What is it? Why do we need it? Why do we lose it and can it be replaced?

What is collagen?

Collagen is a protein, the most abundant one found in our bodies. It can be found in our skin, muscles, bones and tendons. It essentially holds our body together. It is what gives your skin strength and elasticity!

Your body naturally produces its own collagen. We know age is just a number here at +Skinfluential. But realistically, once you reach 30 your existing collagen stores begin to break down and it gets harder for your body to produce more. As a result of this, collagen levels start to reduce. This has implications for your joints, muscle mass, and bones.

Today we’re looking at the effect this reduction in collagen has on our skin. We are +Skinfluential after all.

Collagen is the scaffold for hyaluronic acid and elastin, which provide your skin with hydration and elasticity. Without enough collagen, these two cannot do their jobs properly. As a result, you may find that your skin becomes thinner, drier and starts to lose its elasticity. You may also start to notice wrinkles forming. This process starts to occur as a natural part of aging. But it can also be sped up by environmental and lifestyle factors, such as UV exposure, pollution and diet. So once again, we know we sound like a broken record but wear your SPF!

Is it possible to replace the collagen lost? 

There are several approaches to replacing or reducing the amount of collagen you lose. It has been shown that smoking affects your body’s natural ability to produce collagen, so this is another reason to kick the habit. You may also want to look at your diet; protein, vitamin C, zinc and copper are all required to make new collagen, so including foods rich in these will help to boost your natural collagen production. 

Including a collagen supplement is also an option. Some studies have shown an improvement in the elasticity and appearance of the skin when taking such supplements. We currently stock the True Collagen supplement by Ancient+Brave. This is a form of hydrolysed collagen which means it has already been partially broken down, making it easier for your body to absorb. Collagen production is a slow process, so you need to be consistent, you may not see visible results for up to 8 weeks.

Can skincare help?

In short yes, but not by applying collagen directly to the skin. There is little evidence to suggest creams and lotions that contain collagen are anything other than good moisturisers. The collagen molecules contained within them are just too large to penetrate the skin barrier and have any influence on our skin’s own collagen levels.

However, there is evidence to show that topical vitamin C (a much smaller molecule) can increase collagen and elastin production in the skin. So, if you don’t already include this in your regime, it would be a good addition. If you’re not sure about vitamin C, you can catch up on our blog here. Our favourite serums are the Obagi Professional C and the Medik8 C-tetra ranges.

Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the body. So maintaining sufficiently high levels is not only good for our appearance but also vital for our overall health!