Welcome to the first in our series of blog posts on the subject of collagen. If you're not up to speed on how important collagen is, you won't want to miss this!
In this post, I introduce collagen. We will look at what it is, why it's important and who swears by it.
So, let's get to it!
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein and it is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up from 25% to 35% of the whole-body content. It is mostly found in fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and skin. Collagen makes up 75% to 80% of your skin, indicating just how important it is for how skin looks and ages. Along with elastin (another protein found in skin), collagen is responsible for warding off fine lines and wrinkles.
Collagen tissues may be rigid (bone), compliant (tendon) or have a gradient from rigid to compliant (cartilage)
The name collagen has its origins in Greek, "kolla" meaning "glue" and "gen" denoting "producing".
Over 90% of the collagen in the human body is type 1 collagen. As of 2011, 30 types of collagen have been identified.
Why is collagen important for your skin?
As collagen begins to diminish, our skin loses its firmness and begins to sag, while wrinkles that used to show only with a smile or frown become visible all time time. While the loss of collagen can begin earlier, it's more significant for women during menopause. Research indicates that women's skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause. After that, women lose about two per cent of their collagen every year for the next 20 years.
Who's serious about collagen?
Famed for her radiant, youthful skin, Jennifer swears by collagen and credits her stronger nails and glow to it.
Kourtney is a big fan of all things natural and includes collagen in her daily routine.
The Oscar-winner credits her youthful appearance to collagen and makes bone broth to get her daily intake!
Victoria has taken to Instagram to share her commitment to collagen, reminding us to look after our skin and hydrate when travelling.
What damages our collagen?
Sunlight: exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light breaks down the skin's connective tissue (collagen and elastin fibres) which lie in the dermis (the deeper layer of skin).
Sun damage and the breakdown of collagen can lead to wrinkles - so don't forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
High Sugar Diet: A high-sugar diet increases the rate of glycation, a process where blood sugars attach to proteins to form new molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs damage nearby proteins and can make collagen brittle, dry and weak.
Smoking: Many of the chemicals present in tobacco smoke damage both collagen and elastin in the skin. Nicotine also narrows the blood vessels in the outer layers of the skin. This reduces skin health by reducing the delivery
Autoimmune disorders: Some autoimmune disorders cause antibodies to target collagen. Genetic changes can affect the quantity and quality of collagen. The collagen that is produced can be lower, or it may be dysfunctional mutated collagen. The ageing process causes collagen levels to deplete naturally over time. There is no way to prevent this.
What next? In our next post, we will jump deeper into the subject of collagen looking specifically at what damages our collagen, how we can prevent collagen loss and how we can boost collagen levels in our bodies.