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Collagen topicals: An ounce of prevention in the fight against aging skin
It’s no secret the body’s aging process not only impacts our overall health and well-being, but also plays havoc on the skin. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and the most visible determinant of age, so it’s no wonder we’re continuously searching for anti-aging solutions.
For centuries — across all continents — the quest for beautiful skin has encompassed a multitude of rituals, techniques, products, treatments, and procedures. The last two decades saw a growth in demand for both invasive and non-invasive procedures, such as cosmetic surgery, injectables, collagen induction therapy, photo rejuvenation, skin tightening, skin resurfacing, and anti-aging facial treatments.
Our skin serves a variety of purposes. But its primary function is to act as a protective barrier because the skin becomes vulnerable to external aggressors that can damage and weaken its structure.
When it comes to caring for our skin’s health, it’s important to recognize that, at its core, it’s all about collagen. This powerful protein produced naturally by the body comes in both supplement and topical formats, and studies have shown its effectiveness in healing and maintaining youthful-looking skin.
Its proven efficacy, coupled with increased consumer spending power, is driving demand and pushing the global collagen market to new heights. The market is expected to reach $16.7 billion by 2028, according to a new report by Grand View Research.
The skin’s layers comprise a variety of components, including water, lipids, and proteins. Within the skin’s dermal foundation, collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid work together to bring balance to the skin’s barrier function.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the entire body and makes up between 70% and 80% of the skin’s composition. Specialized cells synthesize collagen from amino acids and arrange them into long chains which provide tensile strength and structural support for the skin, bones, and connective tissues.
Elastin fibres, which have elastic properties, interweave with collagen fibres to influence the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Together with collagen, elastin helps provide the skin with the ability to retain moisture and density.
Hyaluronic acid works like a sponge to absorb and retain moisture within the skin’s layers. Its ability to retain up to 1,000 times its weight in moisture makes it a central element in producing healthy and hydrated skin. Hyaluronic acid is acclaimed for its profound ability to promote the appearance of plump, full skin. It’s also one of the gentlest skincare ingredients on the market today. It doesn’t irritate the skin or aggravate conditions like acne, eczema, or rosacea. And, like collagen, it’s also produced in the body, a process that slows down over time.
With age, the collagen fibres, which form the foundation of the dermal layer, become more cross-linked and rigid, weakening the skin’s framework and limiting its ability to retain moisture, so that visible wrinkles form on the skin’s surface layers. Collagen production slows down by roughly 1% each year after your mid-20s. For women in the first five years of menopause, that number rises dramatically to 30%. Consequently, both the amount and quality of collagen being produced deteriorate, leading to thinning skin, slower healing of wounds, and general decline of skin resilience.
Because most of the skin is made of collagen, it naturally becomes the key focus of anti-aging skincare initiatives. From skincare products to treatments and procedures, the goal is to boost and support the skin’s collagen production.
While there are a number of ways to stimulate collagen production — LED devices, chemical exfoliators, retinol, vitamin C, or glycolic acid — research has shown that applying a skincare product containing collagen can also be beneficial, especially if it includes a humectant or moisturizer.
Bovine, porcine, poultry, and marine are the four main sources for manufacturing collagen products. Bovine-sourced collagen represents the bulk of the market because it’s readily available at relatively low costs. However, marine-sourced collagen is ideal for skincare products because of its high absorption rate and bioavailability, and it’s sustainably sourced from deep sea or freshwater fish. It’s significantly less cross-linked, making its solubility much higher than other forms of collagen and therefore able to penetrate and be absorbed into the skin more readily.
Native collagen in its raw and unprocessed form has been applied to bone and joint reconstruction, wound healing, tissue generation, and topical cosmetic products. When paired with micro molecular weight hyaluronic acid and advanced hydrating factors, marine-sourced collagen products (like those offered by Eltraderm) encourage sustainable nourishment, support healthy skin recovery, and improve skin’s resilience and appearance.
With the onset of the pandemic, it seems we have come full circle and are rediscovering that healthy skin is an integral part of self-care and well-being beyond social media posts. In a recent study by the NPD Group, the 2020 Women’s Facial Skincare Consumer Report revealed that more women in the U.S. are using facial skincare products today compared to a year ago. Whether in the U.S. or in Canada, it’s clear that lifestyles changes — including the effects of COVID-19 — have, in many ways, altered skincare routines in a positive way.