by Karen Laine, Para-Medical Aesthetician

The fact that collagen plays an important role in maintaining healthy, youthful skin, makes it no surprise that the popularity of collagen supplements have skyrocketed in recent years. With the movement toward a more holistic approach to beauty gaining momentum, it’s likely that many will be receptive to adding a collagen supplement to their daily intake of organic meats, fresh juices, fruits and leafy green vegetables.

While there are topical skincare products known to increase collagen production, like retinoids and peptides, their benefits are limited only to the areas of application. It’s understandable why the prospect of rebuilding collagen from the inside out is so compelling.  The question is does it really work? How does it work?

In China, the tradition of consuming certain foods to rejuvenate the complexion has been practiced for centuries. There, it’s widely accepted those with extremely collagen-dense diets will also have beautiful skin. Conversely, in the U.S., many of our diets are virtually devoid of collagen.

In the past, our diet included foods that may have helped stem this decline, such as homemade broth or stock. When you boil a whole chicken or simmer beef bones, the jellylike substance that rises to the top is collagen. It’s even been suggested that our current predilection for boneless, skinless chicken breasts could be part of the reason we need these supplements in the first place – we’ve effectively created a collagen deficiency in our diets.

Researchers theorize that it’s the mincing of collagen into very particular, small chains of amino acids and peptides that holds the secret to youthful skin. When the fragments are the right size, they are absorbed into the bloodstream, the researchers assert, and trigger the production of collagen in the skin’s matrix. This mincing is also why collagen-supplement researchers argue that all the bone broth in the world won’t help – the enzymes the lab uses to get collagen to the target size aren’t naturally present in the body. What’s exciting is that we can directly influence the dermis, the deepest layer of the skin, by supplementation. It’s stimulating our own body cells by a natural pathway.

Karen Laine is a para-medical aesthetician and makeup artist with 20 years experience. Contact her at 512-847-8052. Her office is located at 14500 Ranch Road 12, suite 20, in Wimberley.

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