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We often talk about how integral collagen is to young, smooth-looking skin.  Collagen is a structural protein created in your dermis (below your top layer of skin, the epidermis) that provides both support and elasticity for your skin. Amongst other changes that occur as we age, the rate at which we produce collagen decreases, leading to deeper wrinkles and sagging skin.

It seems to make sense that if we are low on collagen, taking a supplement or applying it topically would bring back that youthful look.  However, few studies have been done to prove that collagen supplements in any form have the ability to rebuild or replace lost collagen.

Oral collagen supplements, either as a pill or a liquid, are typically made from either chicken or bovine sources, similar to the method used to obtain animal-sourced gelatin.  Although taking collagen supplements have been touted to improve bone health, alleviate arthritis and improve acne, no studies have shown that oral supplements have the ability to increase the amount of collagen produced by the skin, nor can oral collagen instinctively attach itself to the collagen in our skin.

Collagen injections have been used for many years around the lips and to fill deep lines in the face.  These plumping effects are temporary and break down over time.  In addition to possible skin discoloration and allergic reactions to the fillers, the collagen may shift and migrate to surrounding areas of the face, resulting in an uneven appearance.

Topical creams containing collagen may provide moisture and diminish the look of wrinkles.  However, collagen molecules are simply too large to penetrate the skin to provide any effective benefits.

Luckily, all is not lost. Using a stable, broad-spectrum sunscreen and an anti-oxidant daily will help slow down the process of collagen breakdown.  To increase collagen production, look to effective products that contain some of these active ingredients:

 •Retinoids. These are the darlings of the anti-aging industry.  A form of vitamin A, retinoids are the closest thing to a skin care miracle.  They stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, increase skin cell turnover and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.  If you've been hesitant to try a retinoid, consider [Link Removed]  , a serum that contains retinaldehyde, the least-irritating (yet still highly effective) vitamin A to the skin.

 •Vitamin C.  Look for concentrations of at least 5% to increase synthesis of collagen fibres, fight free radicals and improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin.   [Link Removed]  has consistently been a customer favorite.

 •Peptides.  Like collagen, peptides are proteins.  These long-chain amino acids stimulate the production of collagen and work as cell communicators to help skin cells mimic the behavior of healthy, young cells.  Peptides (listed under the name Matrixyl) can be found in [Link Removed] .

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.

Pharmagirl, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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