Collagen 101 , 1 Comment

An important topic in everyone's skin care journey is collagen. While we all have different skin types, we all have two things in common: (1) as we age, the collagen in our body breaks down, and our ability to produce more diminishes, (2) we all want to remain looking as youthful as possible for as long as possible.

Collagen is the key to firm, soft, and supple skin; without it our skin loses its elasticity, which is a main contributing factor to wrinkles, fine lines, and other signs of aging. So, what do we do when our bodies start to age? Do those "miracle" anti-aging products really work?

First it’s important to know a little bit about collagen. Our body's most abundant protein, collagen is a structural protein found in the connective tissue, located in the dermis layer of our skin. It is most known for giving strength to our skin as its fibers create a mesh-like infrastructure between our epidermis (top layer of skin) and the muscles below it. It works in conjunction with elastin, another protein found in the dermis layer, to keep skin in place, as well as allow it to flex and stretch smoothly. It is also known for its superior water binding ability, which helps skin stay soft and smooth. While it is true that aging is a main contributor to our loss of collagen, it can also be diminished by other factors including sun-damage, free-radicals, environmental toxins, and smoking.

There are many “collagen creams” on the market promising to restore and maintain your collagen levels, but it’s important to be wary of these products. Collagen is a very large molecule and cannot penetrate through the skin. This means that most products containing collagen will do nothing more than create a mask on your face that is washed away at the end of the day. Be sure to look at ingredients lists of those products claiming that they use a “collagen delivery system” to penetrate through the top layer of skin. Most commonly, that delivery ingredient is Propylene Glycol, which is a known toxin (click here to read more about this ingredient). Collagen creams have also been know to contain artificial or toxic ingredients that will cancel out the effectiveness of the collagen promoting ingredient.

Luckily there are safe, non-toxic ingredients that will stimulate collagen production, all of which you can find in Sally B's products:

  • Peptides - While there are many types of peptides – both synthetic and natural – the peptides we use are derived from peas. Peptides are proteins that help produce collagen in the body. Find it in: Peptide Booster Serum 
  • Vitamin C – There are many forms of Vitamin C available, but it’s important to look for L-Absorbic Acid, the most effective form for the skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant (used to neutralize free-radicals) and the only one, in fact, proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen. Find it in: Antioxidant Skin Boost
  • Hyaluronic Acid – This naturally occurring substance in your body’s skin and connective tissue is responsible for binding water to the skin and firming its structure. It also diminishes with age, so it’s important to maintain proper levels of this substance in your daily routine. In terms of collagen, it’s important to note that Hyaluronic Acid is often used in conjunction with Vitamin C, as it is able to assist in its penetration into the skin. This is why we love using our Antioxidant Skin Boost with our Nighttime Antioxidant Serum, both of which contain Hyaluronic Acid.
  • Resveratrol – Resveratrol is a naturally occurring substance produced by plants, like grapes, as a defense mechanism against infection, stress, and UV rays. It is a powerful antioxidant that neutralizes and prevents free radicals, but most importantly it has also been reported to stimulate healthy cell production. It protects the skin and improves the function of fibroblasts in our skin that create healthy collagen. Find it in: Peptide Booster Serum, Antioxidant Skin Boost, Daytime Antioxidant Serum
  • Amino Acids – All proteins, including collagen, are made up of amino acids. In the case of collagen, your body needs the amino acids threonine and proline to combine to produce collagen. While proline is a nonessential amino acid, threonine is an essential amino acid, which means the body does not naturally produce it and it must be obtained through dietary sources. You can fuel your body with threonine by eating foods like chicken, asparagus, and chickpeas.

Aside from products, there are preventative measures you can also take to inhibit your natural collagen from breaking down:

  • Do not smoke and avoid environments that are smoke-filled. 
  • Take proactive measures to ensure that your skin is not over-exposed to the sun and its UV rays by wearing a non-toxic sunscreen or protective clothing when outside. 
  • Incorporate antioxidants into your diet and/or skincare regime to neutralize free-radicals formed by environmental toxins and sun exposure. (click here for more information about antioxidants and free radicals)

 You can also be mindful of your diet:

  • Drinking white tea can protect your skin from the enzymes that naturally break down collagen as we age. 
  • Kidney beans help your body produce hyaluronic acid. 
  • Stay hydrated! Since collagen is a water binder, as it breaks down so will your skin’s moisture levels. Maintaining good skin moisture will help with its elasticity and prevent wrinkles.  

We realize that we might be sounding like a broken record, but we must remind you to always read your ingredient labels. Even though the some collagen-promoting ingredients are natural and non-toxic, many formulations will include a slew of other toxic ingredients.

We will be revisiting this topic often, bringing you new and updated information when it becomes available, so stay tuned!