ASCP Skin Deep

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2019

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36 january/february 2019 Help, Hype, or Hoax? Collagen is a trendy skin care ingredient, but does it work? by Maggie Staszcuk Collagen is a hot trend, and not just in the skin care and beauty industry. It's also popular in the health and nutrition industries, as well as veterinary medicine, where it's not frowned upon to give your furry friend collagen supplements. But with collagen being such a buzzword, does it really work? WHAT IS IT? Collagen is the most abundant protein found in the body. It is a major component of the skin as well as other connective tissues in the body, including ligaments, tendons, and muscle. Collagen makes up 70 percent of the dermis and is produced by fibroblasts. Over time, collagen production slows, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles, sagging, and even poor healing. At around the ages of 21–25, the skin begins to lose collagen at a rate of 1 percent each year. Aside from providing strength and support in the skin, collagen is essential for new tissue formation and wound healing. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM? As an antiaging antidote, collagen can be used in three ways: applied to the skin topically, injected with a needle, or consumed orally. But as a major component of the internal body, where is this miracle ingredient coming from? Typically, collagen is extracted from cow, chicken, pig, and fish sources. Natural Collagen Inventia, a European skin care line now in the United States, derives their collagen from the skins of freshwater planktonophagous fish. This live collagen is comparable to human protein, enabling it to be readily absorbed by the skin. expertadvice INGREDIENTS WHAT DOES IT DO? Collagen is not usually recognized for its water- binding capabilities; for this, we usually turn to hyaluronic acid. However, this retaining ability makes collagen very effective for use in moisturizers, as well as a great skin protectant. Additionally, collagen can prevent transepidermal water loss, making it an alternative ingredient to target dehydration. HYPE OR HOAX? Whether applied topically or taken as an oral supplement, there is a growing body of evidence that suggests collagen may help repair not only skin but also joints, and the speed of wound healing may be improved. However, skepticism remains. Penetration is the main reason collagen applied topically cannot stimulate or synthesize new collagen growth, making it a poor choice for antiaging. Further, there is not enough scientific evidence to prove that even hydrolyzed collagen (broken-down collagen molecules) will penetrate any better. This concept of product and ingredient absorption is referred to as the 500 Dalton Rule. It states that the molecular weight of a compound must be under 500 Daltons to allow skin absorption. This is a generally accepted rule for three reasons: 1. Almost all contact allergens are smaller than 500 Daltons, whereas larger molecules are not known as contact sensitizers. 2. The most commonly used pharmacological agents applied topically are under 550 Daltons. 3. All known topical drugs used in transdermal delivery systems are under 500 Daltons. Collagen has a molecular weight of 15,000 to 50,000 Daltons.

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