Often while reading about healthy food items to include in our diet chart or how vitamin C works to improve our skin, we come across the term, ‘collagen.’ Some of us just assume it to be an important ingredient in the recipes for natural skin care. Others consider collagen an essential for promoting good digestion. It is, however, wise to dig deeper to have a better grip on the matters of health, skincare, and natural beauty. To this end, this write-up covers the collagen benefits for skin, hair, and nails so that you know the internal mechanics of things.
What is collagen?
Collagen is an important protein that is present in abundant amounts in your body. It constitutes the major chunk of your skin, hair, and nails structural composition. Essentially, collagen is a polypeptide, which means it is a chain of amino acids like glycine and proline.
As the most abundant protein in the body, collagen is part and parcel of the connective tissues and bones. Collagen proteins make up 70% of the protein in your skin. It also holds a 30% shares in the total protein composition of the body. The only sad part is that as you age, the collagen content in the body declines.
Not only does collagen decline with age but modern lifestyle factors play an aggravating role. These factors include an imbalanced gut health, stress, poor diet or diet that is rich in processed and junk food. The increased exposure to sun and air pollutants can also impede the collagen production. Therefore, age and a poor lifestyle can seriously impair your body’s ability to produce collagen.
Since the body is not able to sustain the production of collagen, it is only natural for you to supplement your collagen source. This could be through the nutritive passage or by taking collagen supplements. Dr. Mark Moyad, director of preventative and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan, and author of The Supplement Handbook explains that there seems to be no harm in collagen supplementation.
He elucidates, “There are many preliminary trials showing potential benefits for everything from osteoarthritis to skin improvement.” Research indicates that collagen supplements lead to improved skin elasticity and moisture. Another study confirms that alternative collagen source for the body is linked with reduced joint pain. Similarly, studies approve the role of collagen supplementation for reduced knees pain and backache.
Collagen benefits for skin, hair, and nails
Here is how this important protein helps to improve your skin, hair, and nails:
Improves skin elasticity
Collagen production is accountable for maintaining the firmness of the skin. It is responsible for holding the skin tight and making it look youthful, thus, accounting for collagen benefits for skin. However, as the production of collagen dips to the bottom, your skin starts to sag. This is what gives your skin a loose and aged effect. Two of the chief factors that contribute to declined collagen in the skin are the typical air pollutants and increased UV exposure.
Serves as a treatment for scars
Collagen is practical in helping to treat scars, specifically, those caused by acne. As you climb up the age ladder, the skin becomes more prone to scaring. Special collagen injections are used to fill these scars for an even and flawless looking skin.
Helps in reducing wrinkles
Aging launches the outer layer of your skin known as epidermis into a process called elastosis. As per this process, the outer layer of the skin becomes thin and loses its elasticity. Subsequently, wrinkles and other early signs of aging show on the face. Collagen helps to reverse the process. A study found out that people who took collagen hydrolysate for a duration of 8 weeks saw a 20% wrinkle reduction. Therefore, collagen helps in reducing wrinkles along with increasing the skin’s moisture content.
Strengthens nails and encourages hair growth
The basic building block of your hair are proteins. Collagen, as a protein, thus promotes hair growth. Research also back this. Studies show that collagen has the potential to be a good solution for hair loss. Similar to your hair, your nails also have a protein peptide so collagen helps to strengthen nails and encourages nail growth too.
Reduces the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite
As the levels of collagen plummet, your skin becomes thin. This enhances the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. Collagen has no role in the onset of these marks but it can manipulate the appearance. Healthy levels of cellulite in the skin give skin a firm structure that is less likely to collapse into cellulite and stretch marks.
In addition to collagen benefits for skin, the polypeptide also shows a plethora of other health benefits. For instance, collagen plays a critical role in recovering from an injury. Since your skin is largely made of this protein, collagen plays a helpful role in repairing the skin. Likewise, collagen is also essential for joint health. Joints become worn out with age and the cartilage dries out.
In such circumstances, bones are likely to collide and grind without the typical cushioning provided by cartilage. Collagen helps in promoting the repair of cartilage and make it more springy so that the joints can afford greater flexibility.
Some studies also suggest that collagen type supplementation can help to potentially calm the discomfort caused by inflammation. Research also applauds the contributive role of collagen in improving your mood and curbing anxiety. Summing up, collagen benefits for skin, hair, and nails are extensive.