Demystifying Collagen: What it's for and how it can benefit your skin

If you ask me, some of the best things in life start with the letter “C.” Coffee, cellphones, concealer, culottes, contour… did I mention coffee? So it’s no surprise that another “C” has been added to the list: Collagen. Now don’t freak out, I’m not here to tell you to get your lips filled three times its normal size! Collagen is a lot more common than you think.

First, let’s set aside the notion that collagen is only used in lip fillers and focus on what it actually is. Collagen is an insoluble and hard fibrous protein that makes up one third of the protein found in humans and animals. It’s found in the skin, bones and tissue, providing strength and elasticity. 

Because of its natural structure in plumping and strengthening the skin, collagen has become a key ingredient in a lot of anti-aging and skin firming products. From lotions to creams, and pills to powdered drinks, collagen has made its way into our beauty regime, claiming to combat wrinkles and fine lines, reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and plump up the skin. But does it really work?

As we get older, the collagen production in our body drops and our skin begins to lose its plumpness and elasticity. Because of this, we begin to see the dreaded wrinkles and fine lines, and promptly smear a battalion of anti-aging products on. According to studies though, the topical application of collagen found in creams, lotions, and makeup have little effect on the actual anti-aging process. They provide a surface layer of support, and don't fully “reverse” the clock. That's why it's better to use anti-aging products even before the first few lines appear as a preventive measure. When the signs of aging have already set in though, the skin is more likely to absorb the collagen through cosmetic procedures or concentrated drinks.

Topical Collagen is any collagen product that you put on your skin. These include sheet masks, creams, lotions, serums, and even makeup. These are the most readily available in the market, and their convenience and affordable price points make it easier to incorporate collagen into your beauty routine. As convenient and easy to use as these products may be, they aren’t overnight miracle workers. The particles in collagen are too large for the skin to absorb quickly and easily. In order to get the desired effect, you need to incorporate the products into your beauty routine and be prepared to see results with continuous use.

Try: Collagen by Watsons Intensive Nourishing and Firming Facial Mask (P65/piece) and the Brightening Peeling Cleanser (P349), Etude House Moistfull Collagen Enriched Cream (P898), Céleteque DermoScience Anti-Wrinkle Collagen Gel (P779)

Collagen drinks have actually been a “craze” in Asia for several years now. Studies show that you're more likely to get the desired effect when taking ingestibles as they work “from the inside, out.” Wrinkle and fine line reduction, fading of stretch marks and healthier hair and nails are some of the noted benefits of ingesting collagen. We must also understand however, that not all collagen ingestibles are created equal. Some popular pills and drinks have been noted to have immediate effect, while others take longer or are complete duds altogether. Should you decide to go this route, it's non-negotiable to seek the approval and supervision of a physician before taking any kind of ingestibles. There can be serious repercussions to taking a sketchy product that claims to contain collagen including hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the body), constipation, bone pain, palpitations, fatigue, and sensitivity to certain allergens and food. Some collagen pills are also mixed with hormones that can seriously mess up with menstrual cycle, so be careful!

So far, we've tried the Belo Neutraceuticals Collagen Powder Drink and Sappe Beauti Drinks

You can also get a dose of collagen from dermatological clinics. There have been many developments in both invasive and non-invasive procedures of stimulating the collagen reproduction, leading to results that can last vary from six months up to two years, depending on how your body reacts. These treatments promise to plump up the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles, but again, not all treatments are created equal. A reputable clinic should provide you a consult with a physician before availing of any procedures to ensure that it's the right one for you.

You can check out Facial Care Centre’s Advanced Lasertone as it claims visible results after just one treatment. 

With all that being said, is collagen safe? Collagen is generally safe to use on the skin and, with the supervision of a physician, may be ingested in prescribed doses and used in skin treatments. Do you need it? Well, that's a different question entirely. We all age but it's up to us how to age gracefully.

Do you use any beauty products with collagen? What are some of your favorites?

Sources: MedicalNewsToday, TruthInAging, Livestrong, Elle, TheDermRevie