Everyone’s using it – from Hollywood A-lister Jennifer Aniston to Asian filmstar Tavia Yeung. After a couple of years in the spotlight as the defacto buzzword in beauty circles, collagen has become synonymous with skincare and anti-ageing.
What is collagen?
The word collagen originates from the Greek word for glue (kólla) and the French suffix, gen which means producing or produced by. Like the word suggests, collagen acts as a glue to bind cells together. It is found in abundance in the human body and is responsible for the structural integrity and elasticity of the skin.
Here’s a fun fact: Vitamin C actually helps stimulate the production of collagen in your body! If you are afflicted with scurvy, a prolonged deficiency of Vitamin C, your body can literally fall apart!
“Collagen binds out wounds, but that binding is replaced continually throughout our lives. Thus in advanced scurvy – reached when the body has gone too long without Vitamin C – old wounds long thought healed will magically reappear!”
– Geoff Manaugh; Infinite Exchange
Collagen aficionados like 31-year-old Jodiey swear by collagen elixirs and bone broths to fight the inevitability of ageing (think wrinkles, joint pains and liver spots on dull skin). It even has the stamp of approval from royalty! Empress Dowager Cixi of China was noted to regularly eat a collagen-rich donkey hide stew known as E’jiao to help her skin remain smooth in old age.
Now, our bodies are perfectly capable of producing collagen on its own, so why do we need to supplement?
Because as early as 20 years of age, collagen production declines and the skin and body begins to show signs of ageing. By the age of 50, 20%-40% of the body’s collagen would have been lost to the times.
That’s where collagen supplements come in to add on to the body’s production of its own collagen. Aini, a nutritionist at Kinohimitsu, recommends regular adults to get at least 2,000mg to 5,300mg of collagen a day for equilibrium.
Is a tiny bottle of collagen enough for your skin?
When supplementing, Aini mentions that the human body can only absorb so much. “A normal adult only needs about 5,00mg a day, any more than the recommended amount is discarded by the body.”
Benefits of collagen
Imagine turning the clock back on your skin, Collagen’s main allure is its ability to seemingly age the skin backwards; It firms, tones and locks in skin moisture to reduce the appearance of wrinkles for a soft, baby-skinned look. And because the skin is made out of 80% collagen, supplementation gives a push to the skin’s natural healing process. In fact, fish skin bandages – which are rich in collagen – are being used in medicine to help heal the wounds of burn victims!
The many advantages of collagen are not limited to just skincare alone.
“Because collagen is found all around your body, it helps joints, bones, hair and nail health as well,” Aini mentions.
With the amino acids in collagen-boosting bone and joint health, older users might find their persistent joint aches and pains to be lessened while younger users can find their aches and injuries from an active lifestyle to be reduced.
But should we apply or ingest?
While the opinions of the issue may vary, a recent review in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology concludes with the result that oral supplementation of collagen is superior to topical application when it comes to improving the signs of skin ageing. After all, you are what you eat.
But don’t go racing to the isles of your nearest pharmacy yet.
Not collagen products are made equal. So what should you look out for when you’re looking to supplement with collagen?
The answer is to find your right type! There are over 20 different types of collagen found inside your body, with type I to III being the most common.
If your main concern is beauty, you should look out for type I collagen. It helps your skin, hair, nails, bones and joints and is considered by many beauty gurus to be the best form of collagen for the skin.
Those with an active lifestyle or the elderly with joint issues would find type II and III collagen to benefit the most by improving bone, tendon and ligament quality.
So what else should we look out for?
Ours is great skin.
So for your product to work for good skin and health, the keyword here is bioavailability. The term refers to the percentage of a nutrient that is absorbed from the diet. So while collagen can be obtained from different sources like from cows, fish, chickens and plants – the efficacy of products made from different sources may vary due to the bioavailability of the collagen.
As compared to collagen from other sources, piscine (that’s fish for us regular people) collagen has a lower molecular weight and is thus absorbed readily into the body to be used all around.
Thinking of supplementing with collagen?
With all things skincare related, keep in mind that YMMV (your mileage may vary). Though results have been proven by studies, (one found that skin elasticity improved significantly when participants took a collagen supplement for eight weeks!) your results may or may not be seen immediately.
We typically find that results are best after a month or two of regular supplementation, which fits in with the skin’s renewal cycle of about 28 days or longer for some people.
Is collagen really the elixir of youth? With all the wonders it works on our insides – we sure think so!
Sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles, pores, we have something for it all. Kinohimitsu has something for every skin concern out there. Made from all-natural active ingredients blended together with the purest marine collagen, we’ll get you back into the bloom of beauty with every bottle.