Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and accounts for over 30%, with many benefits such as helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, improving skin elasticity and preserving hydration.
What is Collagen?
Collagen’s main role within our body is to provide structure and support. It is made of strong fibres that work like glue to hold together and strengthen aspects within our body such as the skin, hair & muscles. Collagen is made up of the amino acids hydroxyproline and glycine that help your cells grow and stay healthy.
There are 28 types of collagen, but some of the most common are:
- Type I – makes up to 90% of the body’s collagen, it is primarily found within the skin and is vital to building the skin structure and maintaining it.
- Type II – found within the elastic cartilage, which provides joint support.
- Type III – found in the muscles and organs.
What decreases the natural production of collagen?
One of the biggest factors that decreases collagen production levels is ageing. As we age, our collagen production slowly decreases, resulting in visible changes to the skin such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Overconsumption of Sugar
A high sugar diet can cause collagen to become very weak, dry and hard to replenish.
Smoking can cause a lack of collagen production, leading to wrinkles, fine lines, and damage to the elastin in the skin. This can further result in wounds healing much slower, as well as the prevention of oxygen and nutrients reaching the skin’s surface.
Exposure to Ultraviolet Light
Too much sunlight can cause collagen fibres in the skin to become damaged and cause them to break down rapidly.
What increases the natural production of collagen?
Retinols increase collagen production as they unclog pores and exfoliate the surface skin leading to a reduction in fine lines, wrinkles and overall, brighter, smoother skin.
Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy uses low wavelength red light to improve the appearance of your skin. It reduces wrinkles, scars, and acne.
Eating high protein foods such as red meats, chicken & bone broths can increase natural productions of collagen as well as foods rich in nutrients like vitamin C from citrus fruits and zinc and copper from fish.
Wearing sun protection can protect collagen from becoming damaged, which slows down visible effects of skin ageing.
Using Supplements to Increase Collagen Production
Supplements are often one of the most effective and quickest methods of increasing collagen production, depending on what kind you choose to take. Collagen supplements are available in different forms such as capsules and powders and can result in added moisture to the skin, reduction of wrinkles and fine lines and increasing elasticity.
There are 3 different types of supplements:
- Hydrolysed Collagen – These supplements are already broken down into smaller fragments of amino acids, which makes them easier and quicker to absorb by your body.
- Gelatin – In gelatin supplements, the collagen is only partially broken down into amino acids.
- Raw – These supplements contain collagen that is fully intact and has not been broken down.