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Could collagen give you younger looking skin?

Imagine if you could make your skin, hair and nails behave like younger versions of themselves – plumper skin, lustrous hair and strong nails. It’s time you discovered the beauty secret that could do just that: collagen.

What is collagen?

It is the most abundant protein in your body, found mostly in tendons, ligaments, cartilage, skin and bone. It’s responsible for giving your skin that lovely firmness of youth, but collagen production declines with age.

After the age of 20, you produce around 1% less collagen in your skin each following year. This means your skin becomes thinner and is more likely to develop wrinkles.

The key to smoother skin?

There is growing medical evidence that collagen may help fight the appearance of wrinkles. A study published in the journal Clinical Interventions in Aging in 2014 found 15% of those taking a liquid collagen beauty supplement with added vitamins and minerals had fewer facial lines and wrinkles after 60 days. The study also revealed that 32% experienced improvements in photo-ageing – ageing caused by sun exposure – and for 39%, skin dryness decreased too.

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German researchers found a ‘statistically significant’ improvement in skin elasticity, and a positive influence in skin moisture and hydration levels, in those who took hydrolysed collagen supplements. Another study in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology found a 20% reduction in eye wrinkles after eight weeks of taking collagen supplements.

How does collagen work?

The exact biological mechanisms aren’t yet known, but scientists say collagen’s wrinkle-fighting abilities could be due to the fragmenting of collagen into small chains of amino acids and peptides.

When your body breaks down collagen in the digestive system, the fragments of amino acids and peptides are absorbed into the bloodstream. This then triggers the body’s natural production of collagen within the skin.

Collagen for hair and nails

While much of the studies carried out have been in relation to skin, there’s some evidence that collagen supplements could also help improve our hair and nails.

A trial published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences found that taking a daily supplement containing peptides, lipids, hyaluronic acid and collagen may improve nail strength and reduce nail cracking and brittleness by nearly 80%, and boost hair’s natural softness and lustre over eight weeks.

A longer trial conducted over 60 weeks revealed that after only nine months, 100% of participants saw an improvement in hair dryness, hair dullness, and nail peeling.

The authors concluded that, ‘beauty nutritional supplementation with peptides and lipids – the building blocks necessary for healthy skin, hair and nails – as well as hyaluronic acid and collagen… provides rapid, measurably significant, and long-lasting results.’

Collagen and cold weather

Adding collagen to your beauty regime could be particularly beneficial in winter, when cold weather and central heating play havoc with our hair, skin and nails.

Most of us tend to cut back on fresh fruit and veggies during the winter too, meaning we could be missing out on essential nutrients like vitamin C – which helps the body produce collagen – making a supplement even more useful.

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please consult a doctor or healthcare professional before trying any remedies.
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