A guide to getting more of every skincare lover’s favourite protein
Words by Christina Ko
It may be better known as the secret to youthful skin, but collagen actually makes up 30 percent of all the body’s protein, decreasing in production by 50 percent by the time we reach 50. Here’s what you need to know about making it work (harder) for you.
Pep It Up With Peptides
It makes sense that topical products are the easiest way to make sure collagen is being absorbed in the area you want it to be. While a lot of skin care out there is geared towards fighting signs of ageing, the ingredient you’re looking for that specifically targets collagen production is peptides. Peptides act as little messengers and can be found in products by RéVive, which uses technology designed to regenerate the skin of burn victims, as well as Wildsmith Skin which champions plant-derived bioactives including a copper peptide complex.
One Step Back, Two Steps Forward
When the body is injured, its default response is to kickstart the healing process to fight damage, which activates the creation of collagen. As a result, it has become somewhat of a normality in the beauty world to inflict microdamage upon the dermis to trigger this without actually harming the skin. This is the theory underpinning popular non-invasive and anti-ageing technologies such as HIFU (High-intensity focused ultrasound) or Thermage, as well as newer at-home procedures such as LED light therapy and microneedling.
More Than Skin-Deep
Our understanding of gut health as being intrinsically linked to skin means that what you put into your body plays a part in collagen production. That’s why some skincare brands support a binary approach to replenishment – Dr. Nigma, for example, offers peptide-rich creams along with ingestible options such as the Immortal Skin Collagen Powder. Buyer beware – not all collagen is created equal. Common scientific wisdom suggests that bovine-derived collagen is more useful in boosting bone and joint health, while marine collagen aids skin.
Of course, boosting collagen production is one thing, but more important is limiting loss. While you can’t stop the ageing process, you can slow it down by avoiding habits such as smoking, drinking too much caffeine, consuming sugar and prolonged sun or pollution exposure. As such, products that help fight elements such as free-radical damage have a knock-on effect of improving your skin’s overall strength and immunity, keeping it firmer for longer.