Why is collagen key to skin health?


When we talk about collagen, one can inevitably think of cosmetics or injections to improve the appearance of the face.

The truth is that it is the most abundant protein in our body, and as such, it fulfills different functions. Here we will see what its effects are, why it is good for skin health and how to obtain it.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a group of proteins (28 types have been identified to date) that make up about 1/3 of all proteins in the body.

Despite its abundance, collagen is not eternal and inevitably begins to decline with age (from the age of 30 approximately).

This is because as we age, the body loses the ability to synthesize and regenerate collagen, although other factors can contribute to this decline, such as:

  • Drinking alcohol in excess.
  • Excessive exposure to the sun.
  • Smoke.
  • Not sleeping properly.
  • Be sedentary.
  • Having an unhealthy diet, consisting mainly of ultra-processed products.

As a consequence of the loss of collagen, you may experience:

  • Joint pain.
  • Bone diseases, such as osteoporosis.
  • Symptoms of skin aging, such as wrinkles, marks, spots or loss of elasticity and shine in the skin.
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What are the effects of collagen on the skin?

As we noted, as we age our body produces less collagen, which leads to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles or marks.

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This is because collagen plays a key role in skin strengthening, as it is used by the body to improve the elasticity and resistance of tissues, thus determining the appearance of the skin.

Fortunately, there is scientific evidence showing that taking collagen peptides or supplements that contain it can help delay skin aging.

A study published in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found after analyzing almost 70 women, that those who took supplements containing between 2.5 and 5 g of collagen, for eight weeks, had a greater increase in skin elasticity and less dryness compared to those who did not.

There are also works, such as those published in Journal of Medical Nutrition & Nutraceuticals or in Clinical Interventions in Aging, which show that taking collagen supplements daily can promote skin hydration and significantly reduce the depth and presence of wrinkles.

Experts believe this is because these supplements stimulate the body to produce collagen on its own.

It also happens that collagen supplements can promote the production of elastin and fibrillin, proteins that help protect skin structures.

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Other benefits

Not only will you get benefits for the skin if you start including collagen in your diet. As different research shows, these proteins are also associated with other benefits:

  • Relieve joint pain.
  • Stimulate hair growth.
  • Strengthen the nails.
  • Increase muscle mass.
  • Improve mood.
  • Lose weight.
  • Prevent bone loss.
  • Promote proper bowel function.
  • Protect cardiovascular health.

How to get collagen

Currently, there is no clear consensus among professionals and manufacturers on how collagens supplements should be manufactured and presented in order for the body to take advantage of them.

There are other proven treatments or options to increase collagen in the body, although they are not as attractive and accessible as taking powders, capsules or liquids:

  • Radio frequency– Deep layers of the skin are heated to help reactivate collagen production. Being a relatively new treatment, only a few small studies have been done on its efficacy, but the results are promising.
  • Microneedles: to induce collagen a roller with many small needles is used, which when rolling over the skin accesses the deeper layers.
  • Light peels.
  • Treatment with different types of laser.

However, most experts agree that the best way to ensure the presence of collagen in the body is by maintaining it as we have it naturally. To do this, it is advised:

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  • Maintain an adequate diet, rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meat and legumes.
  • Maintain proper hydration.
  • Take care of your skin, especially using sunscreen regularly.
  • As it is impossible to know with certainty what each dietary supplement contains, it is advisable to consult a health professional before starting to consume them. Although it is not common, acne, dizziness, a feeling of heaviness in the stomach or diarrhea have been linked to the use of these products.

    To remember:

    Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.

    Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.

    Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.

    Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institute of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

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