There are 29 forms of collagen in the human body. It’s the main component in connective tissue. The skin contains type 1.
Collagen is extremely strong. The type 1 collagen in the skin is also flexible and the support it provides helps ensure wrinkle-free, firm skin and a good complexion. Collagen also supports the healing process whenever the skin is damaged or hurt. Doctors often use collagen dressing to treat burn patients. It has many other surgical uses as well and is a valuable resource during bone grafting procedures.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein manufactured by the body’s fibroblast cells. It works alongside another protein, called keratin, and helps keep the skin smooth, strong, and resilient.
Collagen & Ageing
When you are young the fibroblasts are very efficient and provide the skin with an abundance of collagen, but the cells become less active as the body ages. This causes the skin to become weaker and makes you start to look old.
The main signs of depleted collagen are:
- Sagging skin around the neck (turkey neck)
- Lines around the eyes and mouth
- Poor complexion and skin tone
- Skin wrinkles
Cuts, gashes, and other wounds may also take longer to heal.
Factors That Can Cause the Skin to Age Prematurely
The ageing process is not the only factor that can cause skin collagen levels to become depleted. If you fail to use a good sunblock, and allow your skin to get too much sunlight, the harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays can seriously damage the fibroblasts’ ability to function in an efficient way.
Diet can also be a contributing factor. If you fail to eat a healthy diet that provides the body with all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs, the fibroblasts will be robbed of the raw materials they need to support the manufacture of an adequate amount of quality collagen.
Although a lack of good things going into the body can interfere with the body’s natural collagen making machine, filling the body with toxins can throw an even bigger spanner into the works. Smoking and alcohol are two of the biggest culprits and their effects can sometimes be very clear to see. Have you ever noticed how smokers often show so many fine lines around the lips?
The damage is not restricted to the area around the mouth though. Science has proven smoking decreases collagen production in the skin. Alcohol makes you look older sooner by robbing the body of the Vitamin A the fibroblasts need to manufacture quality collagen. It also contributes to early ageing of the skin in a number of other ways.
Restoring the Collagen Balance
Nobody wants to look old, so collagen treatments have become very popular with people who want to attain a more youthful appearance.
Although they can be expensive, and the procedure can be painful, collagen injections continue to be very attractive to people who want to look younger.
During the procedure the surgeon injects collagen into multiple areas of the face. It’s presence restores the collagen balance, causing the skin to become firmer, and stretches it sufficiently to hide fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing. But nothing is perfect. The procedure can sometimes results in facial swelling and, in extreme cases, it can lead to a “trout pout”.
Allergic reactions and bacteria infections are two further collagen injection side effects that cannot be ruled out. Even when the procedure is a success the effects can sometimes wear off in as little as 6 months.
The collagen used in such injections is usually taken from bovine sources, but it can also be taken from pigs, so dermal fillers of this kind are not a suitable option for anyone who is vegetarian.
Collagen creams offer a more gentle way to rejuvenate the skin. They are also more natural because, instead of forcing collagen (obtained from external sources) into the skin, they stimulate the fibroblasts and cause them manufacture and increased amount of collagen protein.
Although finding a good collagen cream has its challenges, some of the better brands can restore the collagen balance and make the skin look younger. As science progresses such creams are improving and one cream has been proven to make the skin look over seven years younger in less than three months. Read more on collagen creams
The relationship between collagen and young-looking skin is undeniable. As is the fact that collagen levels can become depleted as the body ages, because of bad diet, and when the body is bombarded with toxins (alcohol, tobacco smoke).
Fortunately, collagen levels can be restored via the use of collagen creams and injections. The creams are likely to be the best option for people who don’t want to pay out large amounts of money once or twice per year, for anyone who is vegetarian, or for people who are unwilling to suffer the pain involved.
Collagen creams also work in a more natural way than injections, do not present the same risk of side effects, and the best ones should offer longer-lasting results