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Is Collagen the Key to Anti-Ageing?

As collagen depletes as we age, is supplementing it the key to getting that ‘baby-faced’ finish back on our faces?

Written by Casey Milano

I always said I’d never smoke – I hated everything about it. I watched my mum smoke all my life and I couldn’t stand the smell, the nicotine stained fingers and all the health issues that came with it. And then when I was 20, I met a guy who smoked. On our first date – which happened to be a blind date (in more ways than one… I must have gone blind) – I was incredibly nervous, and when he offered me a cigarette I took it. I couldn’t inhale it and ended up almost choking myself. But I kept up the lie, and soon I was hooked. After the relationship ended, I was still smoking.

Once I realised I could smoke 30 cigarettes in a day – and more if I had a drink – I knew it was time to stop.

Roll on two years and I’ve quit, but I occasionally still have a couple when I have a drink. This (OK, not only this, but it was one of the biggest factors) lead me to my obsession with ageing and trying to counteract the damage.

I don’t mind growing older as long I don’t look older. This might sound crazy because the odds are very much stacked against me, but I can try all the same. As much as our genes determine our personal ageing process, our lifestyles have a huge impact on the way our skin looks; the elasticity in the skin starts to decrease as we age, and this terrifies me. After doing a lot of research and training as a beauty therapist specialising in skincare, I found the miracle that is collagen. Of course, I knew about it before this, but I didn’t know there were pills, powders, serums and numerous treatments that could help to produce more!

As a nation we are obsessed with anti-ageing. Look through any magazine or watch some TV and you can’t miss that every second advert is, in some way, related to this multi-billion-pound industry. Companies want to make money, and it’s no breaking news that the promises made by the beauty industry can sometimes be misleading – those glitzy adverts are made to draw us in and it works!

In 2015, the global anti-ageing market was estimated to be worth $140.3 billion. The anti-ageing market is estimated to see a compound annual growth rate of 7.5 percent between 2016 and 2021. This reminds us that there is no escape from growing older, but are these so called anti-age potions worth the hype (and the hefty price tag)? And is there something already in our bodies that we can help keep us looking younger for longer? Yes, I’m talking about that precious gem: collagen.

Collagen is a protein found in our muscles, bones, blood vessels, digestive system and tendons. When it comes to our joints and tendons, it’s basically the “glue” that helps hold the body together. However, it’s more widely known as what gives our skin its strength, elasticity and that ‘baby-faced’ look, along with replacing dead skin cells. Sadly, this protein naturally depletes as we age (experts say from around 40 onwards) but our choices can also have an adverse effect; things such as stress, sugar, alcohol, UVA, and *mutters under breath* smoking among the top culprits. Obviously, we can’t do much about stress and we’re never going to be able to live without sugar completely, but rather than slathering your skin with expensive creams and serums (which simply cannot penetrate to the level we need them too) what if there was an easier way – one that’s also cheaper in the long-run – to top up your collagen levels?

Collagen tablets are fast-becoming the top choice for beauty professionals and women alike. What first seemed like an unattainable product can now be unearthed in your latest skincare haul, and the results have been fascinating. One of the most popular being Beauty Within from Boots – in their study, 80% said they had improved the appearance of fine lines after using the product, 79% said it improved the appearance of wrinkles, and 84% agreed it improved their skin texture. Gold Collagen is one of the most well-known producers of collagen supplements, from liquid shots to tablets, and they have been scientifically proven to improve skin hydration levels (+12% in three weeks) and improve skin suppleness (+20% in nine weeks). Their full study results can be found here.  

One double-blind study by youththeory found that women who took collagen peptide for eight weeks saw a 20% reduction in their wrinkles. The study also found that consuming collagen helped improve skin elasticity and moisture.

I can only speak for myself but, as a user of Gold Collagen, I can very much say that I have seen a huge difference in my skin, with suppleness being a biggie. Supplements aren’t for everyone and they certainly aren’t the one and only answer – a diet high in natural collagen, along with healthy lifestyle choices, can go a long way in improving your skin’s appearance, but these little extra are a good helping hand, especially in current times when getting all our needs from food and a stress-free life (yeah right!) is sometimes not possible.

Plus, I’m still asked for ID! I know, I know – that’s not scientifically proven but, hey, at 26 and a few smoker’s years behind me, I’m not complaining.


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