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Why you should start using a collagen supplement? | Marine collagen for ageing skin

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Collagen is an abundant protein in the body, especially in the skin and connective tissue - it makes up decline, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin – the hallmarks of cosmetic ageing.

Many people take ingestible collagen to replenish what is lost with age, so here we explore what you need to know about taking a collagen supplement to support skin health. Firstly, we will explore why we lose collagen, why the skin ages and what you can do about it. Then, we look at why taking a marine collagen supplement can be beneficial. Finally, we will look at who may particularly want to start supplementing with marine collagen and when is the best time to start.

Why does the skin age, and what can you do about it?

Most people believe that UV radiation is the primary cause of skin ageing, and although it is an essential factor, the key mechanism behind skin ageing is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is generated from metabolism, i.e. everyday processes in your body and certain lifestyle factors. As predicted, the main external factor that causes oxidative stress in the skin is UV radiation.

An infographic depicting the cycle of collagen decline in the skin as a result of oxidative damage, accelerated by positive feedback loops and external factors such as UV radiation.

Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are generated in the dermis due to UV radiation destabilising molecules. The unstable ‘free radicals’ then travel around, destabilising other molecules. They are harmful because they can change the structure of proteins, DNA and other cellular components. Free radicals induce damage to collagen structures and fibroblasts – the collagen-making cells.

Collagen fragmentation and reduced collagen production result in the loss of skin elasticity leading to sagging skin and wrinkles over time.

Healthy collagen fibres attach to the fibroblasts, providing structure to the cells. When collagen structures break down, these fibroblasts start to collapse. The collapse of fibroblasts ironically generates even more ROS, exacerbating collagen decline in the skin.

Free radicals don’t only attack collagen structures; hyaluronic acid, a significant component of the skin that contributes to moisture retention in the skin, also takes a hit from oxidative stress. We lose much of our skin’s hyaluronic acid by the age of 70, leading to the loss of skin moisture and plumpness over time.

What can you do about collagen decline and skin ageing?

  • Wear SPF daily - The most important thing you can do to prevent further damage to the skin is to protect it from UV radiation.
  • Use antioxidants - Vitamin E is the primary antioxidant found in the skin; it helps to protect the cells from oxidative stress. Topical treatments and supplements may contribute to preventing further skin damage.
  • Consider your sugar intake – High blood sugars can damage collagen structures in the skin via a process called glycation.
  • Stop smoking - Smoking interferes with the collagen synthesis pathway, potentially leading to faster collagen decline with age.

Prevention of skin ageing is always the best approach; however, the above measures cannot do anything to improve the skin that has already been damaged by oxidative stress. One way you could help support the skin is by taking a daily hydrolysed collagen supplement. Collagen peptides may help to replenish some of the collagen that has been lost with age.

Taking a marine collagen supplement for the skin

Taking supplements to support the skin is typically overlooked. Skin expert Dr Anita Sturnham highlights that the skin is the only organ in the body that can be ‘fed’ in two directions: from the skin’s surface and internally through nutrition. Many may neglect supplementation for the skin; despite over three-quarters of people being concerned or anticipating concern by skin ageing, only 30% take supplements to support the skin.

Are you concerned by skin ageing?

A pie chart indicating that over three-quarters of respondents are concerned by skin ageing or anticipate being concerned by skin ageing in the future.

Legend: A pie chart indicating the proportion of the population concerned by skin ageing – Revive Active, 2022.

Do you take supplements for the skin?

A pie chart indicating that 30% of respondents currently take supplements for the skin.

Legend: A pie chart indicating the proportion of the population that takes supplements for the skin – Revive Active 2022.

Marine collagen supplementation is becoming popular for supporting the skin, and over half of people have heard of the benefits of marine collagen supplements for the skin in 2022. Collagen taken from marine sources (fish collagen) is considered a Type I collagen due to its high proportion of Type I collagen fibres. The skin is also made up of predominantly Type I collagen fibres, making it the intuitive option for supporting the skin.

Marine collagen peptides have been shown to reduce the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes and nose after 90 days of supplementation. Other studies found that skin hydration and elasticity improved with collagen peptide supplementation. This effect may result from collagen peptides stimulating fibroblasts to produce collagen and hyaluronic acid.

Who should consider taking a marine collagen supplement?

Despite men (41%) being less concerned or anticipating being less concerned by skin ageing than women (77%), men and women are affected by a 1-1.5% decline in collagen each year past the age of thirty. On the other hand, certain groups may be more affected by collagen decline and may want to particularly consider a collagen supplement.

  • Menopausal women can lose over twice as much collagen each menopausal year compared to non-menopausal women. This drastic decline in collagen is due to a drop in oestrogen – which acts as a collagen-protecting hormone.
  • Smokers – Smoking interferes with the collagen production pathway, potentially leading to lower natural collagen production and faster collage decline with age. You may want to consider quitting smoking and taking a marine collagen supplement to support the skin as you age.

When should you start taking a collagen supplement?

Generally, we see a collagen decline in both men and women from the age of thirty. It may seem intuitive to supplement with collagen from this point; however, there may be a benefit to taking a preventative approach.

When did you start taking anti-ageing measures for the skin or when do you plan on starting?

Legend: The age respondents think is the best time to take anti-ageing measures for the skin – Revive Active, 2022.

Most survey respondents said they would start taking anti-ageing measures for the skin between the ages of 25-34. However, many young respondents (under 25) were already concerned about skin ageing. For young adults who are currently taking measures to support the skin, there is no reason why oral collagen and other skin supplements should be neglected at this stage too. In fact, collagen levels peak between the ages of 25 and 34, so it may be beneficial to ‘bank’ more collagen (increase your collagen density) before your skin collagen levels peak and while your fibroblasts are active and healthy. This can be a great way to help reduce the impacts of collagen decline as you get older.

Beauty Complex marine collagen supplement package – shows its key ingredients and its key formula benefits.

Beauty Complex daily sachets contain 7,000mg of marine collagen hydrolysate, hyaluronic acid , vitamin E and vitamin C to support collagen and hyaluronic acid production in the skin . Using a combined collagen powder supplement makes it convenient to start supporting the skin from the inside.

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