Collagen is a structural protein found within the dermal layer of the skin, interlaced with elastin, and is surrounded and supported by glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) to form a microscopic network of fibres.
These fibres are woven together and provide the skin with structural integrity and strength. There are 13 different types of collagen found within the body, of which collagen types 1 to 5 are specific to the functioning of the skin.
A common misconception that often exists amongst consumers is that topically applying collagen, as is often seen within certain skin care creams and serums, will work to minimise the depth of lines and wrinkles. Through this article, collagen demystified, we focus on providing a greater understanding of the structure of the skin.
As an ingredient, collagen does very little to benefit your skin’s own natural collagen production. This is largely due to the fact that collagen has a large molecular size, and cannot easily penetrate the skin. This lack of penetration into the skin essentially means that the collagen found within these products topically lies on the surface of the skin, only to be washed off with your next shower. All is not wasted though, as collagen has been shown to act as a humectant, and therefore will provide the skin with topical moisturisation benefits.
Collagen demystified – if topically applying collagen does little to benefit the structural strength of skin, how does one target collagen production within the skin?
In order to answer this, we need to look at what is needed in order for collagen production to happen. The following vitamins, minerals and other components have been shown to be important cofactors of collagen production:
Key amino acids – Amino acids are the essential building blocks that make up all cellular proteins and tissues. As collagen is a protein, collagen synthesis is dependent on having enough amino acids present in the body to carry out this function. Science has come a long way and Peptide Technology has come into play. Peptides are composed of amino acids, and have the ability to mimic or imitate protein sequences such as those found in collagen and elastin.
Vitamin A (Retinoids) – Vitamin A has long been used in the treatment of acne, both as a topically applied preparation As per a clinical trial conducted by Kligman et al. in 1986, Vitamin A in the form of 0.5% Tretinoin (All-Trans Retinoic Acid) proved to be an effective way of targeting skin ageing. This trial, however, also resulted in 92% of subjects taking part showing signs of retinoid dermatitis, a side effect that has since become synonymous with typical Retinol use.
Further studies in the field of Vitamin A have since then brought about the development of Vitamin A Propionate, a vitamin A form that has shown to be more effective than other topical Retinols, alleviating skin wrinkling and hyperpigmentation without the typical retinoid-induced irritation. Skin functioning improved through the reduction of corneocyte cohesion and enhanced desquamation, whilst collagen production was stimulated to reduce wrinkle depth. Vitamin A Propionate has since become the preferred form of Vitamin A used by DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care.
Vitamin C – Known as ‘The Vitamin C Man’, two-time Nobel Prize- winner Linus Pauling, stated that vitamin C is the most important vitamin for healthy collagen formation. According to Pauling, healthy vitamin C levels in the body contribute to healthy joints and skin, as vitamin C works in conjunction with other nutrients, like the amino acids proline and lysine, to build healthy collagen. Vitamin C, as an anti-oxidant, provides additional protection against free-radical damage that leads to collagen breakdown.
Copper peptides – Copper is a key element in lysyl oxidase production, an enzyme assisting with the basket-weave formation of collagen. Clinical studies have further shown that copper peptides work to promote collagen and elastin synthesis and thereby promote a wound healing response in the skin.
Growth Factors are signalling molecules that communicate on a cellular level, alerting the body to signs of injury and in turn stimulate the fibroblast, or collagen-producing cell, to increase collagen synthesis.
Zinc and Iron – essential components of healthy collagen and elastin production
Hyaluronic Acid – plays a supportive role in collagen production.
Science has enabled us to produce products utilising these above-mentioned ingredients. One product, however, may not be all the skin needs as it is impossible to supply all the necessary requirements into one formulated product. DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care recommends that a qualified and trained DermaFix Skin Care Professional assess the skin to correctly identify the individual skin’s needs, thereby suitably recommending products to assist with collagen synthesis.
DermaFix products promoting the synthesis of collagen are as follows:
Collagen Conformer – a peptide blend formulation offering ‘flash-lifting’ benefits whilst restructuring the dermis through improved collagen and elastin synthesis.
MD Prescriptives Vitamin A Propionate – this lightweight formula is ideal for all skin types as it supplies your skin with a healthy dose of vitamin A, helping with skin vitalisation to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A further benefit may also be noticed on acne-prone skin types as overall skin health is encouraged and scar formation is attenuated through improved collagen production.
ACC Vitamin C – A stabilised formulation offering high potency Vitamin C for improved anti-oxidant protection and improved collagen formation.
Ferulic + C + E – a potent anti-oxidant blend offering up to 72 hours of stabilised protection against the UV damage that leads to skin ageing. Includes a high concentration of vitamin C for boosted collagen production benefits.
ACC Copper Peptide – a liposome-encapsulated formulation promoting collagen and elastin synthesis and repair.
ACC Hyaluronic Acid – This liposome-encapsulated active promotes skin plumping benefits whilst assisting to curb skin dehydration.
Collagen protection, synthesis and stimulation should play a major role in any successful anti-ageing regime.