Many people speak about collagen when it comes to health and beauty, esp. skincare products, but what is it and how does it actually affect your skin and health?
So what is collagen? In short, it’s the main component of connective tissue, found in the skin, bone, cartilage, tendons, corneas, muscle tissue, gut, blood vessels, teeth, etc. in humans. It’s a protein that makes up 25-35% of the total protein content in mammals. That’s a lot. In fact, it’s the most abundant protein in mammals. That means we rely on it heavily for our health.
Collagen is used by the medical industry for a lot of different purposes, from bone grafting to dermal fillers and natural wound adhesives.
When people use collagen for health purposes on a more everyday level, it’s often to do with the skin. Collagen is an active ingredient in supplements, but when ingested collagen is broken down into an amino acid as it’s a protein. In other words, eating collagen won’t make your skin glow. The only thing research has indicated is that eating collagen may help reduce pain from osteoarthritis in humans and dogs.
Likewise, collagen is often part of creams for the skin, but collagen is such a large molecule it’s unlikely to be absorbed by the skin and, therefore, unlikely to make any difference to the health of your skin. Used as a filler in cosmetic surgery, collagen can help reduce wrinkles and improve scars, however.
Collagen is a hot topic in the beauty industry because collagen is part of what keeps your skin elastic and “young.” Age, as well as smoking, a high consumption of sugar and exposure to UV light, can reduce your ability to create collagen. Something you want to avoid at all costs if you want to stay looking young!
So how can you help your body to produce collagen to stay both healthy and retain a young look? Well, first of all, eat a healthy diet. Proline, found in egg whites, dairy products, soy, cabbage and meat help with the production of collagen. So does vitamin C, that can be found in literally all fruit and veg. Anthocyanidins (found in blackberries, blueberries, cherries and raspberries), as well as copper (found in shellfish, nuts, red meat and some water) and vitamin A (found in veggies containing betacarotene, which includes practically all red and orange veggies such as carrots and beetroot) also help. A cream containing natural vitamin E might also stimulate the production of collagen.
Laser therapy, as well as red light therapy, can also stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. This is why we offer red light therapy – it helps people get younger looking skin, as well as heal certain scars. In fact, red light therapy was originally developed by NASA for plants in space but they discovered it helps humans too and it was then used on cancer patients to help heal wounds to the skin. Today it’s used by beauty salons!
So, to sum it up, collagen is important, and if you go into detail about medical research, you will find even more uses for it than mentioned here. What is important for you to remember is to eat the foods and live the kind of healthy lifestyle that supports the production of collagen, in addition to using red light therapy in case you want your skin to start looking younger.