Collagen is one of the latest buzzwords in health and beauty. But how important is collagen to your health and aesthetics?

You are probably thinking of the collagen in your skin because this word comes up whenever we talk about skin aging. It is true that this protein plays a role in the youthful appearance of your skin, but that’s not all. Collagen is a protein and one of the main building blocks of our skin. It is also found in bones, tendons and ligaments.

Fun fact: collagen makes up 75% of the skin’s support structure. Think of collagen as the frame of your mattress. It gives your skin structure and support. To continue the analogy with the mattress, the springs are elastic fibers and the filling is hyaluronic acid.

Unfortunately, collagen begins to break down with age, and your genetics can influence the rate at which this breakdown occurs. We lose collagen year after year, and we make collagen of lesser quality. Free radicals damage collagen. They are the enemies of our skin. Environmental factors (such as UV rays or pollution), poor lifestyle habits (smoking) and poor diet (eg, high sugar diet) are all factors that lead to the formation of free radicals, which accelerates the breakdown of collagen.

Let’s talk a bit about smoking. One of the best things you can do for your skin is to never smoke. Or quit smoking if you do. Research suggests that smoking allows free radicals to attack collagen fibrils, making them weak and of poor quality. So it’s no surprise that a smoker’s skin tends to be damaged and wrinkled, especially around the mouth.

What’s in collagen? An overview of the structure of this essential protein

Collagen is made up of three amino acids: glycine, proline and hydroxyproline. The collagen molecule has the shape of a triple helix (triple spiral) that combines with other collagen molecules in the skin to form a mesh network in the dermis, which is the layer of skin below the epidermis and above the subcutaneous fat.

What are the benefits of collagen for your body?

Proteins have an important role to play in the body. Collagen gives body tissues their structure, strength, rigidity and texture. In the skin it is similar to a layer of leather. And when it mixes with the elastic fibers, it gives the skin its strength and resilience.

When collagen begins to break down in the skin and its levels drop in the body, you can see wrinkles, stiffer tendons and ligaments, weaker muscles, joint pain, and even gastrointestinal issues. Clearly, collagen is vital to the health of every system in your body. At the skin level, taking up to 10 grams (g) of collagen peptides daily can help improve skin elasticity, hydration and collagen density. Additionally, a review published in 2020 notes that taking hydrolyzed collagen may also protect against UV-induced melasma, a skin condition marked by patches of discoloration on the face, potentially through its antioxidant effects.

When it comes to joint pain, a study published in 2017 asked 139 young adult athletes with knee pain to take 5g of collagen peptides daily for 12 weeks. Compared to a placebo group, the collagen-supplemented group experienced less joint pain during exercise, possibly because the protein stimulated the repair of microdamages in cartilage and reduced inflammation that contributes to discomfort. In addition to your skeleton as a whole, there is the potential benefit to the bones. A study published in 2018 found that post-menopausal women who had age-related reduction in bone mineral density who took 5g of certain collagen peptides for a year benefited from increased bone formation in the spine. and the hip.

One of the most surprising benefits may be for your cardiovascular health. According to a study of healthy adults published in 2017, participants who consumed a collagen tripeptide for six months saw improvements in cholesterol levels and arterial stiffness, suggesting that collagen may help reduce blood sugar. risk of coronary heart disease.

Scientifically Proven Methods to Increase Collagen Production

Here’s a not-so-joyful reality: Every year after 30, we lose collagen, and our ability to produce high-quality collagen can diminish. Topical products that enhance collagen production can be used to help replenish collagen stores. One of them is retinoid or retinol, often formulated in anti-aging creams and serums. A study published in 2016 found that retinoic acid and retinol stimulate collagen synthesis in the skin. Applying products containing alpha hydroxy acids, such as glycolic acid, and peptides can trigger collagen formation.

You also have every interest in having a healthy diet. Protein-rich foods will provide the amino acids your body needs to produce collagen. Other nutrients, such as vitamin C, zinc, and copper, may also help. To maximize collagen production, eat a varied diet of whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean meats, seafood, and nuts. And yes, that sounds like the healthy eating advice you’ve been hearing for a long time.

Finally, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. This is the best way to ensure collagen health. Be sure to wear it every day, as even incidental sun exposure accumulates throughout life. Your first line of defense is to protect the collagen you have, rather than trying to catch up on bad sunscreen habits later.

There is some evidence to suggest that regular skin massage may promote procollagen-1 formation and enhance the benefits of anti-aging creams.

Also, don’t work against your body’s natural production of collagen. This means reducing alcohol consumption and quitting smoking. Both of these habits are associated with a loss of collagen which leads to the formation of wrinkles on the forehead, between the eyebrows, in crow’s feet, and deeper “smile” lines. Also, limit sugar intake, which leads to the formation of advanced glycation end products (“AGEs”) that eat away at collagen.

What are the different types of collagen?

There are 28 types of collagen. Yet resources indicate that types 1, 2, and 3 are the most abundant collagens in the body, and these are the collagens you’ll find touted in product marketing. As the list of 28 types of collagen is long, we will discuss the three most important types and their location in the body.

Type 1 The main collagen found in the skin is also found in tendons, bones, ligaments, teeth and some connective tissues.

Type 2 It constitutes the cartilage and is found in the eyes.

Type 3 This type of collagen also makes up the skin, as well as muscles and blood vessels. This type of collagen is sometimes called “baby collagen” because of its role in embryogenesis and early life in infants.

You don’t need a chemistry degree to decode your skin care product labels.

How to get more collagen?

There is no shortage of companies trying to get your attention on increasing collagen, whether topically, through a supplement, or through food. Here’s what you need to know about each.

Collagen powders and capsules

They are very trendy lately, as an addition to coffee and smoothies. There is some evidence that oral collagen supplements, including the type of collagen often found in powders, show “promise” when it comes to reducing the appearance of aging. That said, collagen powder is a protein, and when we ingest it, our body digests it the same way as any other protein source, such as chicken or fish. Powdered collagen will not go directly into the skin to plump it up.

Collagen creams and oils

The collagen creams available in the market claim to reduce the signs of aging by smoothing out wrinkles. They contain synthetic collagen which traps moisture in the skin and produces a plumping effect. But there’s a lack of research on how best to incorporate collagen into topical treatments.


Some people choose to drink bone broth, which is filled with collagen from animal bones. Although it is a dietary source of collagen, its consumption has not been proven to have anti-aging effects on the skin.

What are the side effects and risks of collagen to be aware of?

In general, there are no inherent risks associated with collagen. It is an important component of a healthy body. But if you’re taking collagen supplements, be aware that dietary supplements don’t need to be proven safe before they’re sold. If you want to take a collagen supplement, choose a high-quality supplement from a trusted brand. It should also be noted that the source of the collagen is important. If you are allergic to eggs or fish, for example, you may have a serious reaction to the collagen from these foods.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.