collagen

Collagen Source: Tinseltown/Shutterstock

If there’s one statement that’s practically indisputable, it’s that J.Lo hasn’t aged in the last 20 years. Seriously, she looks the same now as when she filmed Jenny From The Block back in 2002. And if you want to age as gracefully  badass-ly as J.Glow, you need to work collagen into your daily regime, ASAP. Here’s why…

Ok, so let’s draw up a skin’licious analogy. Just like the perfect cake, your skin is made up of all kinds of “ingredients” that rely on each other. There are ceramides, which are waxy fats that act as glue – sort of like cake frosting – and then there are a bunch of different proteins, which are like the eggs, flour, and sugar. One of those v important proteins is collagen, which helps keep skin looking plump and youthful, your nails strong, and your hair glossy AF.

What is collagen?

“Collagen is the main protein component of our skin that gives structure to our dermis and connective tissues. Its’ ‘partner,’ elastin [which is another protein], gives elasticity to the skin,” says Graceanne Svendsen, senior esthetician at NYC’s Shafer Plastic Surgery. “It contributes to our skin’s natural barrier function, which is our protective moisture and bacteria-defending outer layer of our skin.”

via Giphy

Yet, it does so much more than enhance the quality of your skin. Because collagen improves skin tissue strength and helps the body replace dead skin cells, it promotes glossier hair and stronger nails. Finally, it can even help reduce the appearance of cellulite as it rebuilds the fibers that make cellulite more visible.

Collagen is produced naturally by your skin – and in abundance when you’re a baby up until your mid-20s. Unfortunately, this changes as the clock tick-tocks.

When you need to start thinking about collagen

Collagen production is all fun and games until you hit the tail end of your 20s. Right around the time you’re blowing out candles on your 30th birthday, collagen levels have dropped by roughly 10%. By age 40, it’s reduced by about 20%. Things like sun exposure and free radicals only accelerate that drop, which is no bueno. (BTW – daily SPF is the best way to defend against sun damage, and antioxidants are the best shield against free radicals. Adjust accordingly!)

via Giphy

“Without new collagen development, our skin appears dry, loose and lacks firmness and glow,” notes Svendsen. It’s a ratchet, we know, but not all hope is lost.

How to add collagen into your daily regime

Svendsen says that, since collagen declines as we rack up the years, it’s super important to foster new collagen growth via our beauty and skincare regimens. That ranges from protection via SPF and antioxidants to scientifically-backed ingredients that promote growth (like retinol) to more aggressive in-office treatments (like laser treatments and peels). There are also topical collagen-infused products that help replenish lost collagen.

What about collagen pills?

If it feels like the shelves of Sephora have morphed into a nutrition store, it’s because they kind of have. There are many wonderful supplemental products out there, and lots with scientific data to back them up. Supplements are beneficial as they’re able to be absorbed into your bloodstream, where they can take action in the body, unlike a topical cream. Once they’re in your body, the collagen peptides stimulate fibroblasts, to encourage collagen production.

via Giphy

When it comes to collagen supplements, though, the truth is that the scientific verdict is MIA. However, there are studies that support their efficacy. Most notable, their effect has been confirmed by a study in the Natural Medicine Journal. The study trialed a group of women, who took the dietary supplement Collagen BoosterTM, for six months, and they confirmed that there was a noticeable improvement – minimizing the appearance of their pores and lessening hyperpigmentation. Obviously, we had to try the experience for ourselves and we did see an improvement in our skin, find out all the deets of what happened when we started drinking collagen, here.

Where does the collagen come from?

drinkable collagenSource: Gold Collagen

If you’re thinking, where exactly does the collagen in the supplements come from, well they’re usually derived from animal bones and tissues. The best collagen is marine collagen as it’s absorbed up to 1.5 times more efficiently than other forms, like beef collagen. Collagen supplements will not only improve the quality of your skin, hair, and nails, they’ll also enhance your diet as the glycine content promotes stomach acid production, aiding digestion. Our fave collagen-based digestibles are collagen drinks, as they’re super easy to slurp on while you’re on the go. Plus, a lot of them are really tasty! Check out our fave collagen drinks, here.

Collagen products for your skin

Ok, so now you know why you need to add collagen into your beauty regimen, here are some collagen-infused products that’ll keep your skin looking radiant and youthful.

Mario Badescu Collagen Moisturizer

MarioBadescu-CollagenSource: Mario Badescu

For a triple whammy, slather on Mario Badescu’s Collagen Moisturizer SPF 15, $24, which gives your skin a collagen boost while also moisturizing and protecting against the sun. It’s a ridiculously lightweight formula that doesn’t sit heavy or greasy on your skin, which makes it an easy one to reach for.

Rael’s Youth Island Collagen Sheet Masks

Rael-facial-mask_collageSource: Youth Island

Another easy-to-use collagen-infused product is Rael’s Youth Island Collagen Sheet Masks, $14.99 for five. They’re almost too pretty to open, but definitely do. Each mask is made from bamboo yarn and then infused with hydrolyzed collagen and wheat amino acids to firm and tone your skin. Bonus: they also contain licorice root extract to brighten and nourish.

InterFuse Treatment Cream Face & Neck

InterfusecollagenSource: Skinbetter Science

Svendsen says she recommends any of the InterFuse products by Skinbetter Science, which are all dedicated to building new collagen. “The InterFuse Treatment Cream Face & Neck, $120, contains a blend of messenger peptides that target the nourishment of five types of collagen, which are all critical to skin density.” Splurge-y, for sure, but worth a try if you’ve got cash to throw around or want to get super serious about your collagen production.

Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen

InterfusecollagenSource: Algenist

Algenist Genius Liquid Collagen, $115, is another pricey buy, but tbh this list would be remiss without it. It’s a super luxe hydrating serum that’s made with a mixture of collagen amino acids and plant collagen to bolster your skin and give it more of that youthful bounce. Also, true to the Algenist brand, it’s infused with a couple of notable marine ingredients, including microalgae oil and their patented alguronic acid.

Just in case you need a little reminder…

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