Generations of women have known collagen as a common ingredient of cosmetics. This structuring protein has been used in creams and lotions for over 60 years, to regenerate the skin and to combat signs of ageing. Unfortunately, it only has a minimal effect when applied to the skin. The modest results of external use are only due to the fact that it briefly provides a moisturising film on the skin.
As a structural protein, collagen must be able to penetrate into a deeper layer of the skin, namely the dermis, if it is to have a significant, holistic effect. The collagen macromolecules in cosmetic products are simply too large to be able to do this.
The dermis consists of connective tissue – the "infrastructure" through which nutrients and moisture are transported into the skin and metabolic degradation products are disposed of. This tissue has to be strong, tensile, close-knit and elastic. Only then can it perform the task of generating a firm, supportive layer of padding for the epidermis. This padding is used to even out and reduce wrinkles and to bind moisture within the skin. It is a prerequisite for a smooth and vibrant complexion.
The fibres of the connective tissue consist of collagen. A good supply of collagen to the network of fibres therefore plays a significant role in the appearance and overall impression of the epidermis. And that's not all! The collagenous connective tissue is also the control hub for metabolic processes within the cells, which enable the skin to fulfill its many different functions, e.g. its protective barrier function for the entire body or its sensory perception and temperature regulating functions.
The transport of collagen into the dermis only occurs naturally through the intake of food. The food must contain enough protein in order for the body to produce its own collagen. On average, the skin renews itself every four weeks. In order for this to occur, the cells have to rebuild collagen continuously. But even with a high-protein diet, the body's ability to regenerate collagen diminishes over the years. This weakening leaves traces, which include the typical signs of ageing.
Even the intake of collagen with a food supplement cannot stop the natural ageing processes. However, it can help to maintain and promote the body's collagen production for as long as possible, and counteract premature signs of skin ageing. This is not only important for a naturally well-groomed, smooth and well-hydrated complexion in later life. Since collagen is the most important structural protein in connective tissue, it enhances its function and performance throughout the body. (You will find more information on the subject of connective tissue under the description of "Silicon").
Unfortunately, the organism cannot easily use all the collagen found in foods. A special form of peptide is required in order for the supplied collagen to be highly bioavailable for the connective tissue cells. Whilst amino acids – which are the building blocks of collagen – are found as tangled chains in regular collagen, collagen peptides consist of short, neatly arranged, linked chains of amino acids.
After four weeks of taking a daily dose of 2.5 g of collagen peptides, a significant improvement in signs of skin ageing could be demonstrated in clinical trials. The skin was firmer, had fewer wrinkles and the skin structure had improved overall *.
* Source: [nbsp]Oral Intake of Specific Bioactive Collagen Peptides Reduces Skin Wrinkles and Increases Dermal Matrix Synthesis
Proksch E., Schunck M., Zague V., Segger D., Degwert J., Oesser S. Skin Pharmacol Physiology, December 2013