Know your makeup: What makes collagen essential for the skin

Collagen, Collagen ageing, Collagen face cream, Collagen oral intake

Collagen provides vital protection to the skin by impeding the absorption of toxins and pathogens.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, constituting about 35 per cent of the whole-body protein content and about 80 per cent of the skin’s epidermis. It is made of amino acids — glycine, proline, hydroxyproline and arginine. The human body makes its own collagen but its production slows down with age, making skin sag and joints break down.

Collagen has widespread use in cosmetic surgeries and related procedures as a healing aid for burn patients, for reconstruction of bone and numerous dental orthodontic and surgical procedures. It is also used in the skincare and wellness industry for its anti-ageing and skin fortifying tendencies.

A study published in Natural Ingredient Resource Center, as well as ISCD (International Society for Clinical Densitometry), was undertaken to investigate the anti-ageing effects of oral supplementation of sea-buckthorn oil, a plant-based ingredient that boosts collagen production in the body and its topical skin application. Both treatments significantly improved the skin hydration status and the overall skin elasticity of the subjects.

What is collagen? 

Collagen is one of the most important protein compounds that form in the body and is the primary constituent of fibrous tissues such as tendons, ligaments and skin. In the human body, the collagen content per unit area starts decreasing at the rate of 1 per cent every year. Therefore, it is essential to stop the breakdown of collagen to delay ageing and wrinkle formation.

It is also used in a multitude of food supplements as it improves skin health, provides relief from joint pain, helps prevent bone damage, aids in boosting muscle mass and also promotes a healthy heart. Collagen lends elasticity and strengthens the skin and helps in tissue and organ development. It consists of amino acids, generally found in egg whites, grouped together to form the triple helix of elongated fibrils. The fibroblast is the most common cell that creates collagen. It was earlier used to obtain glue by boiling the skin and tendons of horses and other hoofed animals.

The mineral silica, rock-forming minerals made up of silicate groups, is essential for optimal collagen synthesis as it activates the hydroxylation enzymes which help in improving skin strength and elasticity. Common sources of silica including fresh fruits, herbs and vegetables especially the edible peel of various fruits such as apples, cucumbers, carrot etc.

Here are some of the essential benefits of this magical ingredient:

* Collagen fortifies blood vessels and plays a vital role in tissue development. It is also present in the cornea and the lens of the eye in crystalline form.

* Most of the sources for collagen extraction are animal-based such as bovine (cattle), porcine (pigs), and marine.

* It also has many uses in the food industry especially in the process for producing gelatin which is used in many desserts.

* Collagen is also widely used in the pharmaceutical and photographic industries.

* Water is also a significant source of silicon dioxide, so make sure you keep body well hydrated.

* Made by simmering animal bones in water, this process is believed to extract the collagen. When making this at home, season the broth with spices for flavour.

* Besides, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, mint, coriander, beans, cashews, tomatoes, bell pepper, etc, also have enough collagen.

* Vitamin C plays a major role in the production of pro-collagen hence citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are full of this nutrient.

Nowadays certain plant extracts and herbs are gaining popularity as collagen builders that initiate synthesis in the skin. They are especially beneficial for vegetarians and vegans. Plant extracts also have the potential ability to scavenge free radicals and protect the skin matrix by impeding enzymatic degradation.

"There are both external and internal factors that lead to collagen degradation. While the Intercellular degradation is due to the proteolytic enzymes that hydrolyze the proteins into peptides in an acidic environment, the extracellular degradation is due to factors such as prolonged sun exposure, smoking, diet, lifestyle etc," remarks Mihir Gadani, Co-founder & COO of OZiva.

"Collagen deficiency in humans can be met through natural plant boosters and animal-based supplements. Otherwise, too, it has a variety of uses in industries and avenues. It is one of Mother Nature’s most essential and omnipresent building blocks and magical ingredient for your health and beauty," adds Gadani.