Last updated: August 11, 2021

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When we are young our skin usually looks smooth and radiant, but we never consider the lifestyle we lead; full of stress, worries and, let's face it, poor diet. All this causes terrible damage to our skin. From the age of 25 we start to see some negative effects on it.

Some of these effects can be wrinkles or fine lines. To combat this, the cosmetic market offers a wide variety of products, the key component of which is collagen. If you want to know what are the properties of collagen, pay close attention.




The most important facts

  • Collagen is a very abundant protein in our body, which acts as a support between various tissues and organs.
  • Collagen production decreases with age, which has systemic and cosmetic consequences. In addition, there are other factors related to our lifestyle that can decrease collagen production.
  • Collagen is mainly used to combat the signs of ageing. For this reason, it is increasingly present in cosmetic products. Side effects from the application of collagen on the skin are minimal: collagen is considered a safe compound with many beneficial properties.

The Best Collagen: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about collagen

Before deciding on any collagen cosmetics, you should know the main aspects of this protein. For this reason, we have included the most relevant information about it, as well as the most frequently asked questions among consumers.

Collagen has multiple beauty-related properties.
(Source: Tom: 44191752/ 123rf.com)

What exactly is collagen?

Collagen is one of the most abundant proteins in our body. It is responsible for giving structure to our body. This means that collagen acts as a support between different tissues, such as tendons, teeth or skin. It allows these tissues to maintain their structure and stability, and to function properly.

Over time, collagen fibres become damaged and lose their function, which has repercussions not only on a structural level but also on a cosmetic level. Collagen degradation causes the skin to lose its firmness, become flaccid and wrinkles appear.

What is the role of collagen in our body?

Contrary to what you may think, there is no single type of collagen. We can find up to 20 different types of this protein in our body. 99% of the collagen in our body corresponds to types I to V. The table below shows the distribution of each of these categories of collagen in the body.

Type of collagen Location in the body
Type I Bones, tendons, ligaments, skin
Type II Cartilage, eye structures
Type III Liver, lungs, blood vessels
Type IV Kidneys, internal organs
Type V Cell surface, hair, placenta

Collagen, as a structural protein, is part of the body's connective tissue. That is, the tissue responsible for maintaining structural organisation, support and cohesion between the parts of our body. Collagen also provides tissues and organs with hydration, strength, elasticity and flexibility.

To simplify concepts, we could say that collagen is like "the glue" that holds our body together and keeps it functional.

In short, collagen has an essential function. Moreover, it is present in most tissues of our body. This makes collagen an essential component of the human body.

What are the beauty properties of collagen?

As mentioned above, collagen is present in multiple tissues and organs of our body. Therefore, its properties in terms of beauty are not only limited to the face, but can also involve nails and hair. Here are the main benefits of collagen in terms of cosmetics. Take note!

In the skin, collagen is widely used for its anti-ageing properties. It promotes skin regeneration, allowing it to fill small wrinkles and smooth fine lines. It also provides greater elasticity and softness. Now you know that skin rich in collagen will look much younger and healthier!

Apart from fighting the signs of ageing, collagen gives us other advantages at the skin level. For example, it reduces inflammatory processes of the skin, such as acne, eczema or psoriasis. It also prevents the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks and helps to improve healing.

Collagen improves the appearance of our skin, hair and nails.
(Source: Karalak: 60484932/ 123rf.com)

As already mentioned, collagen also acts on hair and nails. Its main functions are to promote strong and healthy hair growth, giving it a shiny and smooth appearance. Nails will also be less brittle and more resistant.

What other benefits does collagen have for my body?

The properties of this protein are not only at the level of beauty, it has also been shown to have antioxidant power, regulate blood pressure and reduce body fat levels. In addition, it also has reparative functions in skin, cartilage and tendons.

Good levels of collagen contribute to less muscle and joint pain. Supporting tissues, such as bones, cartilage and tendons, will remain strong and healthy. Finally, this protein also aids muscle recovery after exercise.

The following table summarises the health and cosmetic benefits of collagen:

Beauty Health
Diminish wrinkles and expression lines Antioxidant
Less acne and inflammation Regulates blood pressure
Prevents cellulite and stretch marks Controls body fat
Better healing Tissue repair
Smooth, youthful, glowing skin Strong bones, tendons and cartilage
Strong, shiny hair Better muscle recovery
Strong, healthy nails Less joint, bone and muscle pain

Where does the collagen we use in cosmetics come from?

For use in cosmetics, collagen is obtained from two types of sources: natural and synthetic. Natural sources can be animal or vegetable. Because it is cheaper and easier to obtain, it is mainly extracted from cattle. This can lead to allergic and sensitivity reactions, as well as disease transmission.

To avoid these drawbacks, synthetic sources of collagen have been developed. This involves modifying collagen molecules so that they are more compatible for use in humans and do not harm our health. The only "little big" drawback with this type of collagen is that it is more expensive and less effective than natural collagen.

Collagen from marine animals is now being used in greater quantities. It is a natural source of collagen and therefore more effective. It has no risk of transmitting diseases or producing side reactions. Although bovine collagen is still the most widely used, marine collagen could replace it in the very near future.

The following table summarises the advantages and disadvantages of collagen sources:

Natural source: bovine and porcine Natural source: marine Synthetic source
Effect +++ +++ ++
Price +++ +++ +
Adverse reactions ++ +/- +/-

When is it recommended to start using collagen cosmetics?

As we have already mentioned, collagen fibres lose their properties with age. As they are generated and degraded over time, our skin loses its youthful appearance. In fact, scientists say that after the age of 25, we lose 1.5% of collagen per year!

This is why it is particularly advisable to use collagen-rich products from this age onwards. It is also a good idea to incorporate products that stimulate collagen production into our diet. This will increase the properties of this protein not only cosmetically, but also systemically.

What factors cause us to produce less collagen?

There are many factors involved in collagen production and among the most important are our habits and lifestyle. We will show you a list of the main factors that affect the production of this protein, so you can consider modifying or correcting them. Among them are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Insufficient vitamin C intake
  • Sustained exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Sun exposure

All these aspects can damage, in one way or another, our skin, in addition to decreasing the production of collagen in our organism. It is therefore essential to lead a healthy lifestyle and avoid exposure to these factors. In this way, we will be able to show off a healthy skin inside and out.

Does collagen have any harmful effects on health?

In cosmetics, collagen is applied topically (creams, lotions, gels). In this way, it can cause very few side effects. These include allergic or hypersensitivity reactions. This is because some people may be allergic or sensitive to some components of collagen depending on the source.

Collagen can be extracted from bovine, marine and synthetic sources

Therefore, care must be taken to ensure that the product we use does not contain substances that may cause unwanted effects. By doing this, we will be able to provide safe care for our skin.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of collagen?

Below is a table summarising the advantages and disadvantages related to the use of collagen-rich cosmetics. It is important to note that these aspects refer to the topical use of collagen.

Advantages
  • Anti-ageing effect
  • Rejuvenated and firmer skin
  • Reduces acne and inflammation
  • Active against cellulite/stretch marks
  • Improves healing and tissue repair
  • Strong and healthy hair/nails
Disadvantages
  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Allergy

Purchasing criteria

When buying a collagen-rich cosmetic, it is important that you take into account a series of characteristics in order to make a good choice. Below, you will find the most relevant factors to take into account when buying your product:

  • Composition
  • Purpose
  • Quality
  • Price

Composition

To avoid allergic reactions or skin sensitivity, it is important that you check the ingredients of the product. You should make sure that the cosmetic does not contain any compounds that could be harmful to you.

This type of reaction, as we have seen in previous sections, is especially frequent with collagen of animal origin. Since it is the most commonly used in cosmetic products, it is advisable to take into account the composition of the product.

Thus, if you have sensitive skin, we recommend that you opt for marine or synthetic collagen.

Purpose

Regardless of the product you are looking for, always ask yourself the question: What am I looking for? You should consider that collagen is not only a product with anti-ageing properties. In addition to this, it brings many other benefits to our skin and our body. So it is very important that you consider what function of collagen you need.

The adverse effects of the application of collagen on the skin are minimal.
(Source: Rido: 30273048/ 123rf.com)

Quality

If you are not sure which one is the best quality. The first thing to do is to look at the total collagen content of each product. Read the ingredients carefully as some of them have elements that could damage your skin. Therefore, you should be very careful and fully analyse the formulation of the product.

Pay close attention and don't be fooled. We will always find "miracle" products, but the amount of collagen they contain is very little. This is why we recommend that you take your time and research more about the product, so you know if it is of good quality or if you are just being scammed.

Price

This is an aspect that should be considered before making any purchase. As always, remember that price is not synonymous with quality. Therefore, it is important that you make a balance between the quality of the product and its price. You should choose the one that best suits your needs and your pocket.

Summary

Collagen is an essential protein in our body. In addition to its multiple systemic benefits, it has proven to have exceptional beauty properties. All this has made collagen-rich cosmetics a "must have" for any beauty routine.

It is worth mentioning that the cosmetic industry is researching new sources of collagen; more effective and without side effects for our health. More and more people are incorporating collagen into their daily lives. Among them are experts in cosmetics and dermatology. And you, have you already decided to try it?

If you liked our guide to collagen, share the article on social media or leave us a comment.

(Source of the featured image: Guillem: 50532393/ 123rf.com)

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