Have you ever wondered why skin ages differently? Young children often have a clear canvas that is one color. However, when we age, skin becomes thinner, discolored, and loses moisture.
Collagen production decreases by around 1% annually as we age, which causes the skin to sag. A decrease in collagen synthesis with age causes transdermal water loss and enzymatic collagen degradation. These all contribute to skin that appears older.
Read the blog below to know more about collagen and its benefits for keeping skin healthy. Learn which topical ingredients can help boost collagen production.
What is collagen?
The most prevalent and plentiful protein present in the human body is called ‘Collagen’. As a structural protein, it contributes significantly to organisational stability such as the strength and structural integrity of tissues, muscles, and bones. Collagen protein is also known to reinforce and maintain cell structures of the tissues thereby increasing skin's elasticity, suppleness, and hydration. It not only works wonders for the skin but has multiple health benefits, such as improving nail strength, balancing blood pressure, increasing hydration and elasticity, etc.
Factors that lead to collagen depletion
The process of skin ageing is a complex mechanism and is directly proportional to collagen depletion. To briefly understand the factors influencing this depletion, aging can be classified as-
1. Internal aging
Internal ageing is brought on by changes in-
- Hormones and Cell Metabolism- Excessive levels of estrogen are associated with high collagen synthesis because estrogen is essential in stimulating fibroblasts that secrete collagen protein. When the estrogen levels decline (during menopause, for instance), your collagen production also decreases.
- Emotional Stress- Excessive levels of stress can degrade the skin's collagen and elastin leading to wrinkle formation. Chronic stress can also exacerbate inflammation, hastening the ageing process of the skin and the appearance of fine lines.
As a result, the skin's supply of elastin, collagen, fibroblasts, hyaluronic acid, and other components decreases causing skin wrinkles, dark skin, and diminished suppleness
2. External aging
It is caused due to the following factors-
- Prolonged Sun Exposure (UV radiation)- Free radical activity induced by UV radiation leads to oxidative stress in skin cells, resulting in the deterioration of collagen and elastin of the skin. Skin changes can include lentigines (big freckle-like patches), rough leathery texture, and fine and coarse wrinkles.
- Unhealthy Diet- Skin needs specific essential nutrients, just like the rest of your body. The main nutrients for healthy skin are glucose, carbs, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals. The formation of collagen and elastin, which keep your skin supple, depends on the overall protein intake.
- Tobacco Smoking- Smoking changes the balance of extracellular matrix turnover in the skin and lowers the rates of Type I and III collagen formation in vivo. The premature ageing of the skin brought on by tobacco use also involves reactive oxygen species causing dry and wrinkled skin.
As a result, there is a drop in collagen levels resulting in wrinkles, fine lines, dehydrated and thin skin
How does collagen help in keeping skin youthful?
While elastin provides flexibility and suppleness, collagen and hyaluronic acid give the skin strength structure, and moisture.
This anti-aging element that gives the skin a natural, bouncy, and glowing texture has multiple benefits, such as
1. Effectively firms the skin
The three layers of the skin functions as-
- The epidermis serves as a waterproof barrier and shield for the body against injury from the environment.
- The dermis, which is made up of collagen, sweat glands, hair follicles, and connective tissue
- The hypodermis, a layer of subcutaneous tissue composed of adipose (fat) cells and connective tissue, lies beneath the dermis.
Collagen offers skin strength and elasticity by aiding in the adhesion of skin cells present in all the above layers. It also gives a boost to the production of fibroblasts in the dermis layer and works in conjunction with the other layers.
2. Helps smoothen out wrinkles
Collagen has a dual function in the skin-
- First, it strengthens the skin barrier and acts as an important building block of the skin by producing essential amino acids.
- Second, it attaches to fibroblast receptors in the dermis to initiate the formation of hyaluronic acid and elastin, enhancing skin elasticity and texture.
Boosting the creation of hyaluronic acid and peptides in the skin causes fibroblast migration and further strengthens collagen, giving the skin a hydrated and firm texture.
3. Boost elasticity in the skin
Collagen is known to have a number of beneficial features in addition to boosting skin elasticity, such as-
- Prevents cell damage from free radicals
- Treats blood pressure
- Reparative effects in damaged skin.
Collagen functions in the skin by providing the components needed to make collagen i.e. elastin and attaching to receptors on fibroblasts present in the skin layers. This promotes the production of more collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid.
4. Skin maintenance, repair, and rejuvenation
As collagen is a structural protein, it aids in regenerating dead or damaged skin whilst restoring its original radiance. The wonder component collagen promises to rejuvenate and restore ageing skin.
5. Diminish scars and aid in moisturising
The amino acids in collagen aid in reducing the visibility of acne scars and dark patches. Collagen encourages the growth of healthy tissue, which quickens the healing process and allows the skin to heal naturally. Additionally, collagen polypeptides attenuate the harm caused by UV radiation and aid in good moisture absorption and retention.
3 Most effective topical ingredients to boost collagen production
Numerous substances can aid in raising the body's collagen levels. The most efficient ones include retinol, vitamin C and niacinamide. Fortunately, these are the substances that integrate themselves well to boost collagen production and firm up the skin. Carrot seed, lemon, frankincense, geranium and neroli essential oils can all increase collagen production. For a healthy skin cell renewal, these oils are quite helpful.
Make sure to keep these three ingredients active on your radar for the following reasons-
Retinol works best when incorporated in your night care skin regime as it tends to make the skin more sensitive in the daytime to UV radiation and further reduces the efficacy of the whole skin routine. Retinol exfoliates the skin and boosts collagen synthesis, which reduces the visibility of wrinkles and fine lines giving the skin a younger, plumper appearance.
- Retinol works by enhancing the number and activity of fibroblasts, which in turn stimulates the production of collagen fibers in your skin.
- It also improves skin suppleness by removing degraded elastin fibers and encourages formation of new blood cells.
- According to research, retinol also increases the formation of elastin fibers while promoting the synthesis of collagen type I.
- Unclogging pores and treating pigmentation
- Proliferation of new cells
- Increases collagen production
Removes fine lines and wrinkles
2. Vitamin C
Integrating Vitamin C-enriched serums in your day skin-care routine has been known to maximize anti-aging capabilities. It refines the texture of the skin and revitalises sallow skin by boosting collagen production. Let’s understand the mechanism involved-
- Collagen synthesis in the skin is highly dependent upon vitamin C. Research shows that vitamin C affects collagen synthesis and is a crucial cofactor for activation of essential enzymes needed to produce collagen and impart structural strength.
- It aids in cell renewal whilst fighting free radicals and delaying the onset of premature wrinkling.
- Brighter and even skin tone.
- Removes dark circles and promotes collagen production
- Firms skin giving out a bouncy texture
- Lighten dark spots
Vitamin B-3, an essential nutrient, often known as niacinamide is known to considerably promote the formation of collagen in the skin by almost up to 54% and further stimulate the production of elastin and skin proteins. In toto, topical niacinamide:
- Lessens the appearance of wrinkles
- Red blotches and scars
- Hyperpigmented patches
- Improve pore size appearance
- Enhances the ceramide lipid barrier and retain moisture
Effective and potent food to increase collagen production
Despite collagen’s legitimate and fantabulous advantages, regular collagen supplements/creams aren't suitable for everyone. They might also be expensive and not suitable for certain body types. In all honesty, many prefer to start with a food-first strategy, as one can produce more collagen if the diet is supplemented the right way. Top foods rich in collagen that can be included in your diet, according to scientists are-
- Citrus/Berries- Choose your favourite berry enriched with Vitamin C, a substance that aids in collagen synthesis. Vitamin C, must be consumed, best in natural form as our bodies are incapable of producing it on our own.
- Fish- Fish scales, skin, and bones contain the maximum amount of collagen. Go for sardines, if you're opting for whole-food approach for collagen.
- Egg whites- Egg whites constitute natural collagen. Egg whites include all nine of the necessary amino acids as well as a total of 18 amino acids.
- Sweet potatoes- Vitamin C, one of the major components of sweet potatoes exhibit rich antioxidant properties and is essential for collagen formation.
- Sunflower seeds and almonds- Sunflower seeds include oleic and linoleic acids, which aid in the synthesis of collagen and elastin.
Embrace a lifestyle that ensures an optimum dose of vitamin C, sulfur, and vitamin E since these nutrients combine with topical treatments to boost collagen from the inside out.
Skin that glows naturally is usually healthy and well-hydrated and it can be achieved gradually by establishing a strategic skincare regime whilst adopting dietary and lifestyle changes.