Stories about collagen usage in cosmetic products and cosmetic procedures are all over the news today. Whether you hear about someone getting collagen injections, or you read a list of product ingredients in a skin cream that includes it, collagen is pretty much everywhere. It’s been marketed and argued to be one of the key ingredients to looking young and healthy, because of its potential for positive effects on the skin.
Through the aging process the production of collagen slows and its breakdown become more apparent, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin. Collagen, as the primary protein in our skin, is obviously very important. But simply applying collagen to the skin is not probably going to have the results you want it to. Because it has a very complex molecular structure, there are a lot of different alterations and chemical processes that collagen must undergo before it is going to be in a form that’s useful to the body.
[pullquote] If you want a skincare product that boosts collagen don’t look for a product that contains collagen as an ingredient – it is ineffective if applied directly. [/pullquote]If you want a skincare product that boosts collagen don’t look for a product that contains collagen as an ingredient – it is ineffective if applied directly. What is needed is a formula that stimulates the special fibroblast cells in the skin. These are the cells that are responsible for producing collagen. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) such as mandelic acid stimulate these cells and increase collagen levels in the skin. Vitamin C and retinol are two other ingredient that boosts collagen when used in skincare products at appropriate strengths.
The other important way to maintain collagen in the body is through good diet. Not everyone may know which foods will help provide their body with this important protein, so we’ve composed a list of foods you may not have known boost collagen production:
Fresh Berries Adding fresh berries to your diet will provide vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which help protect and maintain collagen. Vitamin C is necessary to collagen production. In fact, a dietary deficiency in vitamin c causes collagen breakdown resulting in health issues such bleeding gums. The antioxidants in berries are necessary to protect collagen from damage. Furthermore, compared to most fruit, berries are relatively low in sugar, which is important because too much sugar in the diet damages collagen.
Dark Chocolate Cocoa contains a lot of great nutrients that will help keep you looking young, but make sure you are getting dark chocolate (it’s the only kind with the concentrations of cocoa that will do any good). Studies using 329mg of cocoa extract have shown that in otherwise healthy women it can improve blood flow to the skin, improve hydration of the skin, decrease roughness and scaling and decrease those inflammatory chemicals that can wreak havoc in the skin.
Turkey While turkey doesn’t contain collagen itself, it contains carnosine, a protein that works as a helper to build and strengthen the collagen that’s already in your skin. Research suggests that we need at least 1000 mg of carnosine daily to reach carnosine levels that are adequate to protect the body against aging. Vegetarians frequently have low carnosine levels, and may wish to consider supplements.
Fish collagen from marine fish is structurally similar to our own collagen. It has been theorised by Japanese researchers that oral fish collagen might help to maintain our own collagen and therefore slow down the visible signs of aging associated with weakening of collagen.
Oral fish collagen has been a mainstay beauty product in Japan for years, and recently, studies have shown that when used alone or in combination with antioxidants, it can improve the texture of the skin and reduce the fine lines and wrinkles associated with the aging process.