Collagen is the main component of skin and connective tissue - making up to 70% of both. The normal aging process starts when collagen stores in our body begin to decline. Collagen breakdown usually starts in our thirties, but due to environmental factors, it can happen more quickly or sooner.
What is collagen? Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body, and as we age, we start to lose it. After the age of 25, we begin to lose approximately 1% of collagen per year. The role of collagen in the body is crucial, as it helps with organ development, wound healing and tissue regeneration, cornea renewal, gum and scalp care. Collagen can be considered the "glue" that holds our body together, as it is responsible for the stability and strength of body tissues.
Collagen loss manifests as:
poor functioning of the musculoskeletal system (stiffness) leads to the formation of wrinkles, cellulite, dry skin results in a lack of shine in hair and skin. Disturbances in collagen synthesis can also occur with chronic overload (physical activity, elite sports). Women experience an even greater decline in collagen during menopause and afterward due to reduced estrogen levels.
To prevent or slow down collagen decline in the body, we must replace the lost collagen.
What affects collagen breakdown? Factors that accelerate collagen deficiency in the body:
Aging Collagen loss due to aging is called intrinsic skin aging. All other causes of collagen loss fall under extrinsic skin aging.
Intrinsic skin aging is an inevitable consequence of life. The first sign of skin aging is the loss of the youthful "glow" you have in your teens and early twenties. It continues with increased skin dryness, skin thinning, and the appearance of fine lines that eventually turn into wrinkles as collagen stores are depleted, and the skin loses elasticity.
Reduced collagen essentially means thinner skin, making you more susceptible to various signs of aging.
"Young" skin is composed of 80% type I collagen and about 15% type III collagen. As we age, the ability to synthesize collagen decreases, collagen fibrils become thicker and shorter. This leads to a loss of type I collagen. As a result, the ratio of different types of collagen in the skin changes.
Consequently, the density of collagen and elastin in the dermis decreases, impairing the structure and elasticity of the skin. Thus, the skin can no longer maintain its shape and cannot fit as "tightly" to the face, becoming looser, and fine lines begin to appear.
UV damage (also called photoaging) One of the main factors that accelerate collagen breakdown in the body is ultraviolet radiation. UV damage is the leading cause of collagen loss in the skin, accounting for 80-90% of skin aging occurrences. Exposure to UV rays:
Reduces collagen synthesis in the body Increases collagen breakdown through matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and other proteases in the skin. (Proteases are enzymes that break down proteins such as collagen and elastin) As a result of UV radiation, an increased amount of free oxygen radicals forms in the body. Our body can naturally defend itself against free radicals with substances called antioxidants, but only up to a certain extent. When there are too many radicals, antioxidants can no longer remove the excess radicals.
Stress Research has confirmed that the skin, which is our largest organ in the body, is an organ that senses stress. Repeated short-term stress leads to the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS)/free radicals and a reduction in antioxidant reserves. Chronic stress causes chronic immune dysfunction and increased production of free radicals and DNA damage, known to result in skin aging.
The exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood, but reducing stress will help slow down the rate of skin aging and collagen decline.
How to reduce collagen decline in the body?
- Sun protection
The best sun protection is still sunscreen. As mentioned earlier, the radicals released by UV radiation are very harmful not only to skin health but also to the health of our entire body. By using a daily facial moisturizer with sun protection factor (SPF), you reduce the risk of:
Sunburn Premature skin aging Skin cancer development Sun damage on the face (hyperpigmentation) Be sure to use sunscreen every day. UV rays are present throughout the year, even when it's cloudy and temperatures drop below freezing. UVA rays (mainly responsible for skin aging) also penetrate through window glass.
A daily use of facial cream with SPF is the most important step for beautiful, youthful, and healthy skin. Regular application of sunscreen will prevent excessive free radical formation in the body, thus protecting collagen, which naturally declines with age.
- Healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is not only a good starting point for slower external aging but also applies to other aspects of health. With a balanced and varied diet, you will ensure that not only your skin but also your body is healthy.
Although many people praise collagen as just a "beauty" supplement, collagen is much more than that. It is a protein found throughout the body and is responsible for the proper functioning of the musculoskeletal system, among other things.
In addition to a balanced diet and sufficient intake, it is also important to manage stress. Reducing the amount of stress in your life is crucial in the fight against premature skin aging.
We know that good sleep, spending time in nature, and socializing with friends will help you feel less stressed. To this list, we would also add avoiding polluted air and definitely avoiding smoking. These are excellent lifestyle choices for your overall health, and if preventing collagen decline in the skin is the reason to say "yes," then it is a true personal victory in the field of well-being!
- Collagen supplements
It has been proven that collagen supplements, specifically hydrolyzed collagen supplements, promote collagen production.
An independent institute conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study based on the formulation of Kolagen Shot. The clinical study involved 107 women aged 40 to 65. The aim of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of the product in promoting the synthesis of collagen and elastin fibers in the dermal layer of the skin.
After 12 weeks of consuming the formulation containing 5,000 mg of collagen peptides, 1,500 MSM, and vitamin C, the results showed:
20% improvement in dermis density 3.6% improvement in dermis thickness 32% improvement in skin hydration 12% improvement in skin texture 14% decrease in wrinkle depth and 12% reduction in wrinkle volume Hydrolyzed collagen supplements are made from collagen peptides, which are short chains of amino acids that make up collagen, but are small enough to be easily absorbed by your body. Hydrolyzed collagen can thus be easily absorbed and circulate throughout the body, depositing where the body needs it most.