Collagen is the beauty-boosting ingredient that’s easy to love, and kind of hard to explain. We all know it’s good for us, but what exactly does it do? In this installment of Demystifying Ingredients, we’re breaking down the science behind collagen so you can talk about it like a pro, and know what to look for in your skincare (and diet). Don’t forget to also check out our other article in this series,all about Vitamin C.
What even is collagen?
On a scientific level, collagen is a type of protein. More specifically, it’s the most common structural protein in all animals, which makes up the framework of our cells and tissues. While there are 28 known types of collagen, type 1 is the most abundant in humans, and is what most people mean when they just simply refer to collagen.
Where does collagen come from?
Since it’s so integral to the basic makeup of the human body, it comes as no surprise that collagen is something we naturally produce. That’s why collagen supplements are typically messaged as a “booster”, because it’s aiding in an existing function. However, our bodies' collagen production inherently declines with age, and it also becomes more loosely distributed, further minimizing its effectiveness.
What are the signs of collagen loss?
Directly related to aging, a lot of the signs of aging skin can be, at least in part, attributed to collagen loss. This includes the obvious wrinkles and dry and loose skin, both part of reduced elasticity. It can also lead to less obvious internal changes, including weakened bone strength. It’s important to note that collagen loss can be exacerbated by certain factors, such as sun exposure and diets high in processed ingredients.
What can be done to boost collagen production?
We all want skin that is plump, hydrated, and full of bouncy elasticity, so it’s important to be proactive when approaching collagen. Since it’s a naturally produced protein, it can equally be about ingesting collagen itself or including ingredients in our diet and skincare that optimizes the body’s function. While animal products such as bone broth and fish skin contain high levels of collagen, there are also ways to stick to a plant-based diet and get the boost you need.
Vitamin C is actually necessary for collagen synthesis. So foods rich in this vitamin, such as citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cruciferous veggies like broccoli, will all help production. A plant-based diet is also linked to reduced inflammation, and inflamed systems can hinder collagen production.
Are there any other plant-based sources of collagen?
If you’re new to the wellness scene, it may surprise you to hear that algae (yes that green stuff in water) is actually a powerful superfood. Spirulina? Chlorella? Both are algaes. Not only is algae packed to the brim with a complex offering of vitamins and minerals, but it contains proteins in their cells that are used to build collagen. As if that wasn’t enough, algae is also one of the most sustainable food sources, as it can grow quickly without much intervention or disrupting their environments. That’s why we picked it as one of the star ingredients in our Form Control line, which includes our top-sellingMarine Collagen Gel and brand-newCollagen Neck Lift. Both target different areas of the skin to provide a concentrated dose of all of these benefits via our proprietary algae marine collagen formula.
So I can get collagen from my skincare too?
Absolutely. We promote a holistic approach to wellness and skincare at Kat Burki, and truly believe you are what you eat. But that doesn’t mean that your diet and skincare can’t work in tandem to deliver maximum benefits. If properly absorbed into the skin (more on that here), the nutrients provided by products like our Form Control line can be just as effective at boosting collagen production, so you can truly heal yourself from the inside out, and from the outside in.