What is collagen and why we should care – Doctor Skin Collagen

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What is collagen and why we should care

In recent times, Collagen has emerged as a key player in the world of skincare, strengthening its position as a leading supplement for antiaging and overall health.

What is collagen?

As the most prominent protein in the human body, Collagen is undisputedly a powerful component in your body’s cell development, the so-called ‘glue’ that provides structure to the body’s bones, skin, ligaments and muscles. 

A foundational protein providing strength and structure throughout the body, collagen is incredibly robust and resilient. Making up around 75% of the dry weight of your skin, the protein is abundant in amino acids, proline and glycine; essential nutrients to repair and restore muscles and tendons. The molecules within are compounded together forming long fibrils which in turn, support cell structures and give us that elasticity and firmness recognised and desired in youthful skin.

Types of collagen

Collagen can be classified as endogenous - biologically produced collagen, and exogenous -synthetically produced collagen.

Why should we care about collagen?

As we age, we naturally start to produce less collagen, usually from the early to mid 20s onwards, in turn affecting the elasticity and suppleness of our skin. With a direct correlation to the skin's appearance, it becomes apparent how important it is to adequately and effectively combat this natural loss by stimulating the body’s own production of collagen.

The science behind its role in our composition and how it impacts the skin's aging process is well researched.

What to avoid to improve collagen production?

Skin aging occurs in two ways, related to our genes and our environment. Evidence suggests that only about 30-40% of skin ageing results from our genetic makeup, with 60-70% being related to environmental factors.

Genetic and chronological factors are out of our control. These are deemed ‘intrinsic’ factors that are inherent to our biology. As we age, our body naturally starts to produce less collagen and as a result, the structural integrity of the skin declines, and fine lines start to appear. Generally speaking, women tend to lose around 1% per year during their mid-20s, with a dramatic decrease (30%) in production during post-menopausal years. 

On the other hand, there are various environmental and lifestyle factors that accelerate skin aging. Unsurprisingly, the main offenders include excessive sun exposure, refined sugar consumption and smoking. These ‘extrinsic’ factors are perhaps even more detrimental to your natural production of collagen than your genetic profile.

The best approach for maintaining skin collagen is to limit or avoid these three main culprits, and work on stimulating your body’s natural collagen production to counteract its age related natural decline.

 Loberg, K., Bowe, W. (2018). The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out. United States: Little, Brown.