Collagen replacements have become something of a buzz word when it comes to anti-aging treatments. There are a plethora of collagen-related topical beauty solutions are increasingly available. Collagen replacement procedures and products are also growing in popularity. But will they really take ages off your skin?
What Is All The Fuss About Collagen?
Collagen is one of the main supportive, structural proteins found naturally in your body. In your bones, muscles, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. It simply works as a ‘glue’ that holds your body together. However, in your skin it provides strength and elasticity. The issue is that your collagen production naturally begins to slow down as you age.
Collagen makes up 80% of our skin when we are young. After the age of 25, we lose it at an estimated rate of 1% per year. Meaning, we can credit most of our natural signs of aging on the remission of our bodies’ natural production of the protein. However, environmental factors such as smoking, high sugar consumption and unprotected sun exposure all contribute to premature aging as well.
According to health and wellness specialist Dr Madelyn Fernstorm, You can slow down your body’s loss of collagen by steering clear of these harmful habits. However, the new-found idea that you can replenish the lost collagen in your body by means of replacement products is simply not possible. Furthermore, there isn’t enough science behind it to confidently prove most of the claims.
What Are The Natural Benefits?
There are many health benefits to collagen found naturally in our body. Collagen improves the health of your skin and hair and repairs your joints. It also helps leaky gut; boosts your metabolism; strengthens your teeth and nails; helps you detox and reduces cellulite and stretch marks. Making the desire for its replacement completely understandable.
Is There A Way Of Accessing The Benefits Of Collagen Naturally?
The best ways to help your body retain collagen include:
1. Providing your body with collagen “precursors”.
2. Avoid unprotected UV exposure.
3. Take collagen precursors orally through medically approved supplements.
Collagen Replacement Products
Today’s popular movement towards improving healthy aging is “outside in,” as opposed to ” inside out”. Here are three common efforts in trying to replace the collagen lost in our bodies over time:
- Cosmetic Products
- Cosmetic Procedures
- Food or Drink Supplements
Do they work?
In terms of cosmetic products, there are plenty of creams on shelves that promise to help introduce natural protein to the skin. However, as previously mentioned, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to confidently prove this true.
However, according to a professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Eva Hurst, “the collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the outer layer of skin.” Dr. Hurst states that even the more broken down version of the collagen molecule, hydrolyzed collagen, has no scientific evidence behind it to support claims of its added benefits. Meaning, collagen-rich creams may give your skin a slight bit more of a glow depending on the quality, but that’s as far as the benefits are expected to go.
Although not as popular as it used to be, collagen injections have been used as a filler to promote healthy aging by preventing wrinkles and giving the skin a fuller and smoother appearance. Injecting collagen, as we know, has proven great for smoothing creases, but its benefits do not last long.
There is no scientific proof that collagen supplements have any effect on skin health or appearance at all. Thus there is no way of saying whether taking supplements such as juices and collagen powders will be any more effective than any other source of protein. Although, scientifically speaking, the reason taking collagen powders, tablets or drinks would not work is because most collagen supplements contain bulking agents that your body breaks down and excretes. And, as previously stated, our bodies naturally get rid of their collagen. If you try and put collagen back into your body it naturally secrets it.
What’s In Them?
Apart from bulking agents, you would be advised to keep an eye on the ingredients in your collagen supplement of choice, as some supplements contain unidentified ingredients. For example, the connective tissue found in animals or fish has been boiled into a substance called gelatine. Which, has been renamed “collagen” and put it in drinks, pills and powders.
According to Dischem’s QA manager, Christelle Bekker, Collagen supplements can come in various shapes and forms. These products typically contain either chicken or bovine collagen and occasionally vitamins and minerals are also added. Excipients such as flow agents, anti-caking agents and sometimes flavorants can also be added. Bekker says that they sell one variant that comes in a powder format. This product contains non-nutritive sweeteners.
In terms of added sugars, it really depends on the selected dosage form. In capsules there might be a flow agent or anti-caking agent which will most probably be a carbohydrate base. However these are considered excipients and would only contribute minimally to the diet. Powders that need to be mixed may contain a sweetener, typically a non-nutritive sweetener. The majority of our collagen sales, however, are from capsules and tablets.
Want to Read More? Here are 4 Ways to Create Collagen Rich Skin, click here.