Beauty experts, especially those trying to sell us something, would have everyone believe that collagen is the ‘be all and end all’ of youthful-looking skin. But is it?
The Greeks’ early interpretation of the compound, ‘glue’, gives us a clue.
In fact, collagen makes up the greatest amount of protein found in human connective tissue – around 35 per cent of all proteins in the body, according to scientists. Comprised of bound amino acids, this important compound is not just in the skin. It is present in the tendons, ligaments, bones, and elsewhere in our bodies. It has more than three dozen variations, too.
Produced by cells, especially the fibroblast, it forms something called collagen helix – a term commonly banded about by skin care brands.
So, why is this protein so important when it comes to anti-ageing? The answer can be complex, but for the purposes of common understanding… Quite simply, it is because collagen keeps the skin plumped up and firm. As we age, cells are less able to produce it. They become damaged, allowing fine lines and then wrinkles to develop. This is why retinoids, for example, which accelerate cell renewal, are considered game-changers in skin care.
Topical Application of Synthetic Peptides
Man-made peptides which have characteristics similar to those of collagen have been found to be highly effective in reducing the signs of ageing during clinical trials.
An ‘in vivo’ study by E Bauza 1, G Oberto, A Berghi, C Farra Dal, N Domloge* found that a gel containing three per cent of a synthetic peptide and a booster molecule reduced the surface and depth of wrinkles by up to 75 per cent.
The oldest person to take part in the double-blind trial was 62 and the youngest 40. It demonstrated that, over the course of a month, twice-daily topical applications had a significant impact on the appearance of the skin, including the delicate area around the eye.
While peptides are often listed as ingredients in anti-ageing products, their performance is dependant on their ability to help cells repair and renew.
Numerous studies have also been carried out on the benefits of collagen food supplements.
Top-Performing Skin Care Products
While synthetic peptides have proven their worth, natural sources of collagen protein are revered for their potency and for being environmentally friendly.
Marine collagen is derived from fish scales. This source is considered sustainable because scales and skin are a by-product of fish that is often wasted. Highly absorbent, it is made up of miniscule particles that are considered superior to bovine and other collagen peptides which struggle to adequately penetrate the skin. It has almost all the amino acids required by the body to keep cells healthy and is rich in glycine.
If you want to invest in an anti-ageing product that lists collagen as an ingredient, always check the label before purchasing. Marine collagen is an excellent choice for topical application and hydrolyzed collagen if absorbed as a food supplement.
So Do Collagen Face Masks Work?
Inexpensive masks that blend bovine or synthetic collagen with hyaluronic acid and vitamins are considered helpful in boosting the skin’s overall appearance. As well as evening out the tone, they can reduce other signs of ageing such as fine lines.
Many women use masks because they are a cheap yet effective way of improving both the skin’s firmness and elasticity. They can also calm the face and improve the smoothness of its surface.
For more information about hyaluronic acid, read our article Hyaluronic Acid: The High Hitter In Rejuvenating Skin – Regime Skin Care
*Int J Tissue React, Vincience Research Center, Sophia Antipolis, France
National Center for Biotechnology Information
Wikipedia (Greek origin)
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