Collagen which is considered to be a beauty booster when added in your diet in the form of food or as a supplement helps to make your skin look more youthful and adds strength to your hair, thus preventing hair fall and hair breakage. Keep reading to know more about collagen and why it is considered to be essential to maintain your skin, hair in good shape.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein which is found in large amounts in our body. Almost one-third of our body protein is made of collagen. Collagen a protein which is made up of amino acids- glycine, proline and hydroxyproline and is the major constituent of our bones, muscles, skin, ligaments and tendons. Apart from this, Collagen is also found in teeth, corneas, and blood vessels. Collagen is derived from the Greek word ‘Kolla’ which means glue and ‘gen’ which means ‘producing’. Collagen acts as a glue and holds the important constituents of our body and helps maintain the optimum health of your skin and hair.
Collagen plays a vital role in the blood clotting mechanism of our body. It helps to keep your teeth, nails, bones, skin and hair healthy and strong. Recently the cosmetic industry has been harnessing the beneficial properties of Collagen by incorporating it, in their skincare and haircare products.
Role Of Collagen In The Body
Collagen is considered to be the most abundant protein found in our body as it is the main constituent of connective tissue which almost makes for 25% of the whole protein content of our body. Our hair and skin are primarily made of collagen which is a protein. There are at least 16 types of collagen, of which there are 4 main types of collagen which are considered to be vital for our body. Let us find what are these 4 types and how are they helpful for your body.
Type I- This type of collagen constitutes almost 90% of your body and is formed of closely packed fibres. It is responsible for providing shape and structure to skin, bones, fibrous cartilages, tendons, connective tissues and teeth.
Type II- This type of collagen is made of loosely packed fibres and is mostly found in elastic cartilage, which acts as a cushion for your joints.
Type III- This type of collagen helps to maintain the structure and shape of muscles, body parts and arteries.
Type IV- This type of collagen is known to facilitate the absorption and filtration of the components through the skin and is found in the layers of your skin.
With ageing, our body starts producing less collagen than required by our body due to which our skin becomes less firm and supple which result in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines on your skin.
How Is Collagen Beneficial For Your Skin?
Collagen is a protein that is naturally produced in our body. It is considered to be important in enhancing the texture and appearance of your skin, making it look more youthful and radiant. Let us find out how is collagen beneficial for skincare.
1. Improves Skin Health
Collagen helps to give structure and shape to your body parts, especially the skin. It is abundantly found in the connective tissue of the skin and hence is responsible for keeping your skin healthy and beautiful. It acts as a glue holding the muscles, tissues and the ligaments together, thus improving the texture and appearance of your skin
2. Increases Elasticity Of Skin
Exposure to sun, poor nutrition, pollution, stress and smoking are few factors responsible for decreasing the elasticity of your skin. Collagen increases the elasticity of our skin, making it tight and firm.
3. Reduces Wrinkles And Fine Lines
Collagen helps to increase the blood supply to the skin, thereby making your skin plump and healthy. Its antioxidant property helps to fight free radicals responsible for causing wrinkles and fine lines.
How Is Collagen Beneficial For Your Hair
All of us want to have long, thick, glossy and bouncy hair. Collagen plays a vital role in achieving this. Our hair is made up of protein and collagen is a protein which is made up of of 3 amino acids. Collagen is considered to be the building block of skin and hair as it constitutes almost 25% of the total body mass. But along with ageing, the production of collagen in our body starts decreasing, which leads to lack of lustre, dry and damaged hair, which ultimately leads to hair fall, hair breakage and hair thinning. By boosting collagen production in our body, we can make our hair healthy and strong that is less prone to breakage. Let us elucidate the benefits of Collagen for our hair.
1. Adds Volume
As we age, the level of a particular type of collagen near the hair follicles decreases, resulting in hair loss. Proline, which is an amino acid is considered to be helpful in protecting the hair from the damaging effects of the free radicals. The antioxidant property of collagen helps to strengthen the hair follicles, thereby making your hair thick and strong.
2. Makes It Glossy
Exposure to harmful UV radiations, extreme climatic conditions and pollution can make your hair dry, damaged and frizzy. As we age, the collagen production decreases which takes a toll on the health of your hair. This is because the sebaceous glands which are present beneath the hair follicles do not produce enough sebum to keep your scalp and hair well hydrated. Collagen plays a vital role in keeping your scalp and hair well hydrated and nourished, thereby adding a healthy shine to your hair.
3. Adds Strength To Your Hair
Collagen acts as a glue in holding the dermal layer of your scalp and hair follicles, which in turn adds strength to your hair and promotes the growth of healthy hair. When the production of collagen decreases in the body, the dermal layer gets dried up and the hair follicles become dry and brittle, thus leading to hair fall.
4. Increases The Elasticity
Collagen is a protein which is made up of amino acids and the cells of hair follicles utilize these amino acids to produce keratin that is required for the growth of healthy hair. It also adds strength and elasticity to your hair. Keratin is vital for the growth of healthy and beautiful hair.
5. Promotes Hair Growth
There are many factors which lead to an increase in free radicals in our body which are responsible for causing severe damage to your hair. Factors such as exposure to harmful UV lights, ageing, improper lifestyle and improper eating habits can increase free radicals in our body. Collagen which is known for its antioxidant properties helps eradicate these free radicals and promotes the growth of healthy hair.
6. Reduces Grey Hair
Melanin is the pigment which gives your hair its natural colour and along with age, melanin production also decreases in our body resulting in grey hair. Apart from melanin, free radicals also play an important role in greying of your hair. Free radicals are formed in the body due to stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, poor diet, exposure to sunlight and excessive use of hair care products that get accumulated on the scalp and clog the pores, resulting in hair breakage and premature greying of hair. Collagen which is known for its antioxidant properties fights these free radicals and prevents premature greying of hair.
7. Regenerates Hair Follicles
Collagen is beneficial in promoting hair growth and regeneration of new hair because it is a natural antioxidant. The free radicals which are produced in the body due to various metabolic activities, damage the hair shaft and make your look dry, dull and damaged. Collagen which is a powerful antioxidant helps to neutralize the effect of free radicals and promotes the regeneration of hair follicles, thereby promoting the healthy growth of hair.
Thus, Collagen is a protein which can replenish and rejuvenate your scalp and hair, thereby promoting hair growth, enhancing the texture and appearance of your hair making it voluminous, bouncy and vibrant.
How To Increase The Production Of Collagen In Our Body?
Procollagen is a precursor of Collagen. Our body makes procollagen by combining 2 amino acids such as glycine and proline. Vitamin C is known to facilitate this process. Thus, in order to increase the production of collagen in our body, you should ensure that you have the below-mentioned nutrients abundantly in your body.
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruits, bell peppers, litchis, guavas, gooseberries and strawberries are rich in Vitamin C.
- Proline: Egg whites, beef, cabbages, asparagus, wheat germ, dairy products, and mushrooms are rich in Proline.
- Glycine: Glycine is found in various protein-rich food such as pork skin, beef, fish, chicken skin, and dairy products.
- Copper: Organ meats, sesame seeds, cocoa powder, cashews, and lentils are rich in copper.
Our body needs 4 essential nutrients such as Vitamin C, glycine, proline and copper to produce collagen. Consuming collagen-rich food such as meat, seafood, dairy, poultry, legumes, and tofu helps to produce a sufficient amount of collagen required by our body. Consuming Collagen powder/supplements also helps in restoring the required amount of collagen in the body.
How Does The Collagen In Our Body Gets Damaged?
Our inappropriate lifestyle and eating habits take a toll on our skin and deplete collagen making skin look dull, dry and damaged. Hence it is important to avoid to following habits to avoid collagen depletion
- Smoking reduces collagen production and also interferes with the wound healing process. It is also responsible for the appearance of early signs of ageing.
- Consuming too much of sugar and carbon refined food can also decrease collagen in our body. Sugar interferes with the healing and repairing property of collagen.
- Long exposure to harmful radiation of the sun can cause a lot of damage to our skin, particularly collagen
Hence try to avoid these collagen damaging habits as they can affect the health of skin and hair.
Food Sources Which Boost Collagen Production In Our Body
Collagen is a protein which is found in abundance in all human beings as well as animals. It is largely found in the connective tissue of animals such as chicken and pork skin. Similarly, collagen-rich food such as bone broth and gelatin also helps to boost collagen production in our body.
There are 2 types of collagen supplements that are commonly used for oral consumption- Gelatin and Hydrolyzed Collagen. Gelatin is formed when the collagen is cooked. In collagen, supplements are easily absorbed into the body because the larger proteins are already broken into smaller peptides. These collagen powders/supplements help to increase the elasticity of our skin making it look more youthful by decreasing wrinkles and fine lines. It is also effective in increasing the muscle mass in bodybuilders and is also known to be effective in treating arthritis.
Other Uses Of Collagen
Collagen has a lot of uses and applications in our daily life. Due to its beneficial properties, Collagen has paved its way from food to cosmetics to medication to manufacturing. Let’s see some of its uses.
- Collagen is cooked to create gelatin which is used as a thickener in jams, jellies, puddings, yoghurts, ice creams, candies, marshmallows etc. It is also used in making the casing for sausages.
- Collagen is incorporated in many facial creams, anti-ageing creams, facial serums, face masks, lotions, shampoos, conditioners, hair creams, gels.
- Collagen is used as a filler in plastic surgery and also used in the dressing of severe burns. It is also used as a coating in Vitamin tablets and capsules.
- Collagen is commonly used to create glue. It is used in creating the strings of musical instruments.
Side-Effects Of Collagen
There are no known severe side effects of Collagen powder. But Collagen powder is known to give a feeling of fullness and heartburn. It also has an unpleasant taste lingering in our mouth which may not be liked by many people.
Collagen is considered vital for our body as it provides structure and shape to different parts of our body. But as we age, collagen production decreases in our body. But sufficient intake of protein-rich food and collagen supplements will help restore the reduced collagen in the body. Collagen in our body has vital functions to perform such as improving the texture and appearance of our skin and hair, it also helps in muscle functioning, and helps reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis.
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