Collagen is a fibrous protein that is found in skin, cartilage, bone, tendons and other connective tissues. In fact, it is the most common protein in the body. It is also the main component of the dermis, or the lower layer of skin. Essentially collagen is a collection of the molecules group together throughout the lower layer of the skin. Collagen is what makes our skin strong; somewhat like glue that holds everything together. Collagen helps your skin retain its elasticity. When you see a young person smile the lines go away when they stop smiling. That is the collagen working.
As we age changes in the body keep proteins from doing their duties properly and this can result in loss of collagen. Essentially we start to lose firmness in the body tissues. We begin to see fine lines and some loss of elasticity. This breakdown will eventually lead to wrinkles. Every day the skin is exposed to environmental factors which can take their toll such as air pollution and sunshine. These environmental factors can cause free radicals which attack the collagen layer of the skin. Those with more serious exposure to the elements may have premature signs of aging as the collagen is broken down more quickly.
Enter the cosmetic industry and their claims that applying collagen creams to the skin can reduce breakdown and prevent wrinkles. However, it has been shown that applying collagen creams to the skin is not likely to provide the desired benefits. Collagen creams are typically unable to penetrate the layers of skin needed to reach the dermis. Like other facial creams, those with collagen work on the skins surface to slow the loss of water and keep the skin supple. However, since no skin care creams can penetrate the surface of the skin it is unlikely that collagen creams or other skin care creams can undo the effects of collagen loss and make wrinkles go away.
However, there are other options that women can explore. Collagen injections can help replenish the collagen where it is needed. By supplementing with collagen in this manner it may help to plump up and smooth the skin. Unlike collagen creams, injections get to the heart of where they are needed which is the lower layer of skin. Depending on the product as effects may vary, collagen ejections can help boost elasticity. Collagen injections have also been shown to help with scars. One thing to note is that injections typically only last for a few months before needing to be repeated.
An alternative to injections that may be helpful is oral collagen. Taking 2000 milligrams daily of oral collagen with hydrolyzed collagen has been shown to keep hair and nails looking young. It is also purported to enhance bone and joint health.
Even though collagen creams may not be the magic bullet claimed by cosmetic makers, they can help retain moisture in the skin and create a softer look. The creams could also be used in conjunction with other options such as oral supplements or injections.