by Tasneem Dhinojwala
What is collagen? How can it be used in our daily life? Why has it become such an important ingredient in our cosmetics?
The purpose of cosmetics is to maintain healthy, clean and glowing skin and hair. There are a variety of ingredients that goes into making a product for obtaining maximum efficacy. While choosing a product, we browse through the ingredients to see if it is going to benefit us or not. One name that has become popular over the years is collagen – in lotions, creams, supplements – an important ingredient.
What then is collagen? How can it be used in our daily life? Why has it become such an important ingredient in our cosmetics?
Collagen comes from a Greek word “Kolla” that means glue. It is the most abundant protein found in our bodies. Especially the type 1 that is found in skin, muscles, bones, blood vessels, our digestive system and the tendons. It is made up of the individual amino acids – Glycine, Proline, Glutamine and Alanine. Collagen protein makes up 30% of the total protein in the body and about 70% of the skin protein. The strength and elasticity of our skin is maintained by collagen. It is the one that helps in replacing dead skin cells. For our tendons and joints it works like glue to hold the body together. The dermis, which is the foundation of our skin, is closely linked to the skin’s elasticity and flexibility. Collagen is the main component of dermis. Maintaining the amount of collagen here holds the key to beautiful skin. With age the production of collagen in our body starts declining. This depletion is one of the main reasons for signs of aging – wrinkles, sagging skin and joint pains.
Collagen production in our body also gets affected by a lot of lifestyle factors. A diet high on sugar, smoking, lot of sun exposure hamper collagen levels. Collagen related diseases can be a result of various factors. Genetical defect, nutritional deficiencies, poor intake of collagen rich food or digestive problems that affect collagen production are the most common.
By increasing the collagen levels in our body, the skin becomes firm, smooth and the skin cells keep getting renewed and repaired normally. Studies reveal, after the age of 30, women can improve skin elasticity, skin moisture, dryness and skin roughness by daily use of collagen for eight weeks. It also helps in reducing cellulite and getting rid of the horrible stretch marks. No wonder, collagen is considered one of the best natural skin care ingredients used in cosmetics.
In cosmetics and personal care products, hydrolyzed collagen (enzymatically or chemically processed collagen ) is used. It is used mainly in hair preparations, skin care products, makeup, shampoos and bath products. It is also used in hair dyes. In skincare products, it helps to enhance the appearance of dry and damaged skin by reducing flaking and restoring suppleness. In hair-care products, it improves the texture of hair and increases hair body, suppleness and shine.
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