By Sara Lovelady
One hallmark of youthful skin is firmness. When you’re young, your skin is naturally taut. As your skin ages, though, it loses its firmness and starts to sag. Ideally, you want to take steps to prevent your skin from sagging in the first place. But if you’re past that point, is there anything you can do? The answer is yes, in the form of collagen.
Beauty from the inside out
Collagen is a structural protein and the main component of connective tissue. It makes up 30 percent of the protein in your body and an amazing 70 percent of the protein in your skin.
Think of collagen as the scaffolding of a building. It provides the structure that supports and binds the other tissues of your body, including your tendons, muscles, cartilage, skin, and bones.* Unfortunately, several factors—including chronological aging, sun exposure, pollution, and smoke—break down the collagen in your skin, causing it to droop and wrinkle.
The good news is that collagen supplementation can help. In fact, a human clinical study found that when 26 women took 1 gram daily of a combination of type II collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and hyaluronic acid for 6 weeks, the collagen content of their skin increased significantly.* At the end of the 12-week study, the participants experienced visible skin health benefits, too, including significant reductions in facial lines and wrinkles, dryness, and skin scaling.*
How does collagen work?
Collagen appears to work in a number of different ways to support youthful skin.* First, test-tube research has shown that collagen stimulates chondrocytes (cartilage cells) to produce type II collagen and proteoglycans—both important components of connective tissue.* Second, human research has documented that collagen supplementation may help the body synthesize hyaluronic acid (HA).* Because HA holds water molecules in the skin, it contributes to skin firmness.* And third, animal research has found that collagen ingestion enhances the number of fibroblasts (cells that produce collagen) in the body and protects against UV damage to the skin.*
All collagen is not the same
Importantly, there are several different kinds of collagen:
- Type I collagen is present in the skin, tendons, blood vessels, organs, and bone
- Type II collagen is present in the cartilage
- Type III collagen is present in the reticular fibers of connective tissue
- Type IV collagen is present in the basal lamina, a layer of the extracellular matrix
- Type V collagen is present in the cell surfaces, hair, and placenta
A combination of various types of collagen may be more effective for supporting youthful skin than one type alone.*
* This statement has not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.