We all want to look our best, which is why we exercise, eat well, get our sleep and supplement with quality nutritional and nutricosmetic products.
Collagen is one of the more versatile supplements at our disposal as it not only supports joint and tissue health but also helps to develop healthy skin, hair and nails. And no holistic lifestyle plan is complete without a skincare regimen that improves your skin condition both from the outside in, and inside out.
In this feature, we explore the skincare benefits of collagen (look out for a follow-up feature on the joint and tissue health benefits, coming soon).
A wonderfully complex organ
In terms of its function, the skin is an incredible organ – the body’s biggest organ, in fact. According to the Hopper Institute, the skin is often classified as an organ because it contains several types of tissues and a membrane and it covers the entire body.
The skin includes associated organs and various tissues such as hair, nails, glands, and specialised nerve endings. One square centimetre of skin contains approximately 70 cm of blood vessels, over 100 glands, and well over 200 sensory receptors!
The skin also has some very specific functions, like maintaining body temperature and protecting our other organs from bacteria, which requires specialised tissues.
From a structural perspective, skin is an incredibly elastic living organ and constantly regenerates itself by replacing dead cells.
Each layers has different types of cells. The cells on the outer layer (the epidermis) are constantly shed and replaced with new cells, while the skin cells under the epidermis tend to have a lower turnover rate.
These lower layers – the dermis and sub-dermis – consist of elastic connective tissues, fibres, blood vessels and various other components that can stretch or contract.
Stretching and sagging
Factors such as age, poor nutrition, dehydration, excessive sun exposure, smoking and weight loss (especially when it happens rapidly) causes skin to lose its structural integrity and elasticity.
This can lead to saggy skin and stretch marks, which occur when the middle skin layer (dermis) tears due to excessive and consistent stress.
The dermis makes up roughly 90% of the skin’s thickness and its elastic fibre and collagen composition helps to retain the skin’s shape and tautness. The dermis can lose its elasticity when it is placed under severe stress due to excessive weight gain, significant muscle development, or during pregnancy, and can subsequently tear, which then forms stretch marks.
Hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, exercise (mainly weight lifting) and hormone replacement therapy can also cause stretch marks.
The implicated hormones (called glucocorticoids) prevent the body from forming more of the collagen and elastin fibres that keep skin taut. This impacts the skin’s structural integrity and makes it easier for it to tear when placed under stress.
Collagen to the rescue
Thankfully, there are treatments and products available that may help to reduce stretch marks and firm up loose skin. Some of the most commonly used options include supplements and creams that provide or stimulate collagen growth and the formation of new elastin.
Collagen is a complex protein that makes up 30% of the body’s protein and contains 19 different amino acids, which are vital building blocks for tissues, including skin. Collagen is present in our muscles, connective tissues such as ligaments and tendons, and in skin, hair and nails. From an aesthetic perspective, collagen helps to give our skin elasticity and firmness.
There are at least 28 different types of collagen. The most common are types 1 to 5, with type 1 the most plentiful, accounting for 90% of total collagen in our bodies. It is a vital form to create firm skin because it has a densely-packed fibre structure.
Boost your skin routine
In supplement form, collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen offer the most effective products for skin health. A product like Biogen Collagen with Peptan® contains this important type 1 Hydrolysed Collagen. This Peptan® is a high purity natural bioactive product containing more than 97% protein (on a dry weight basis), and is supplied in a form that your body can easily digest and use.
Hydrolysed collagen, which is contained in effective supplements like Biogen Collagen, undergoes a process called hydroxylation, which breaks down collagen into peptides for optimal absorption.
This collagen helps the body form new connective tissue, including skin, and also supports joint health.
Innovative supplements can also help you simplify your skincare approach with products like the convenient and incredibly tasty Biogen Collagen Refresh Ready To Drink. This sugar-free sparkling drink is available in Blueberry & Pomegranate and Passion Fruit Coconut flavours, with 10 g of collagen in every can.
Added nutrient support
The extensive Biogen RE | NU Nutricosmetics Range combines nutraceuticals and supplements to further complement your beauty regimen.
Certain products in the range combine collagen with various other ingredients in their formulations to deliver the nutrients our bodies need to rejuvenate and renew the natural radiance of your skin, as well as your hair and nails. In addition, RE | NU Collagen & Skin capsules is an advanced nutricosmetics skin health supplement that helps to reduce the signs of ageing and maintain healthy radiant looking skin.
And you can revitalise your skin from within with RE | NU Beauty Glow Shake, an advanced beauty cocktail that includes the Verisol® blend of Bioactive Collagen Peptides to improve skin elasticity and appearance, and reduce wrinkles and signs of ageing.
Diet double up
You also get collagen and other important skin-supporting nutrients like elastin from your diet, which generally come from protein-rich food sources. Other important diet-derived nutrients for skin health include essential fats, vitamins A, C, D and E, and zinc, which support natural collagen and elastin production.
Optimal hydration is also vital to maintain skin elasticity. Aim to drink at least two litres of water a day for skin health and vitality.