Thalia offers insight into the question of whether collagen really helps your skin.
Collagen is the Michelle Pfeifer of the body’s inner workings. It’s perhaps the most intimidating protein because it’s fully responsible for what gives people a youthful look – and its absence may very well destroy confidence. So many frantically search for collagen-based products to save their depleted skin and concentrate their consumer confidence in high-end skincare brands that spend millions on advertising. Yet, after using the product for a few months, real change often goes unnoticed. Today, the beauty industry is worth over $500 billion, which shows the extent to which we rely on it. The marketing of skincare products is meticulous in targeting women – it feeds off insecurity and vulnerability and exploits the masses to make money. The tradeoff between spending money and gaining a skincare benefit would be worth it if the benefit was actually gained, but is it?
Once an individual enters adulthood, they lose 1% of their skin’s existing collagen per year. This means that collagen is at a constant rate of depletion, which explains the aging process. Most skincare brands try to trick you into thinking you can reverse the aging process by using their products, but unless they are God or Cleopatra this is not the case. To understand skincare, one must understand collagen. Skin is the largest organ of the human body and is composed of multiple layers. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin, and its functions are to protect skin from dirt, dust, chemicals and residue. Below the epidermis is the dermis, which is responsible for the production of collagen. Collagen is the main structural protein in the extracellular matrix and exists in our tissue, and is composed of large amino acids that link together to form chains. Therefore, one can only conclude that the structure of collagen is relatively large.
Applying creams that contain collagen with the hopes of achieving a youthful look is simply a waste of money. Because collagen proteins are large and made up of large chains, the collagen found in these creams is too large to be absorbed into the epidermis. Even if some collagen is absorbed into the epidermis, real change happens in the dermis layer. External application of collagen is useless in this sense because adding more collagen to the skin does not catalyse your own skin’s production of it.
Instead of investing in an industry that is based on manipulating insecurity, invest in taking care of your skin with products that actually work. Taking preventative measures is key to having good skin. Moisturising and protecting your skin from the sun acts as a catalyst for collagen production, and if the skin is not well cared for, collagen production slows down. Incorporating collagen-stimulating foods into your diet long-term is also a good idea because oral consumption of collagen is more effective than external creams. While oral consumption may not make a major difference, it is still more effective than creams.
It is important to know why these products are marketed the way they are. Research specific ingredients before buying a product and always have a speculative mindset. It is also essential to develop confidence from within because the beauty industry profits from our insecurities. It’s built on years of stereotyping what a conventional woman should be like, making common skin problems seem taboo. Acne, wrinkles, and oily skin are completely normal and beautiful. Most people have them, and they are not something to try to eradicate by excessive skincare!