Marine Collagen, Myth or Miracle?
We have all heard of the “THE” ingredient we absolutely must have in our skin care routine, the miracle that can change the way our skin behaves and make us look and feel fabulous, whilst turning back a few years on life’s ageing clock, but it appears there are so many of these miracle ingredients on the market, what makes the claims of an ingredient miracle or myth?
First and foremost, what is it? Collagen is a protein that is found in the connective tissue and the main differentiation between collagen and marine collagen is where it is sourced from. Collagen tends to be sourced from bovine or porcine sources, whilst marine collagen is predominantly sourced from the skin of fish. Frequently derived from both cold-water fish and specially selected warm water fish, to achieve the maximum skin penetration and enhancement. By using this pure form of hypoallergenic protein derived from the skins of fish. Cleaned and then hydrolysed by acid and enzymes to produce a marine collagen peptide. It is then blended in liquid or powder form in marine collagen drinks, capsules and shots. Or used in skincare within the cosmetic industry, for multiple anti-ageing effects and health benefits.
The final source of collagen is from food where it occurs naturally such as chicken, fish, egg-whites, berries, tropical and citrus fruits as well as garlic, leafy greens, bean’s and cashews. Although food may not be a direct source to intake collagen, it can certainly help to sustain in the production of collagen. In chicken and fish, the fleshy white meat does not play such a vital role, even though it may taste the best! However, the parts full of sinew, connective tissue or cartilage are packed with collagen, and although you may not salivate at the thought of these in some cultures they may be a delicious delicacy, for those who don’t associate sinews and skin as a positive thought we also have the option to ingest them in a liquid drink or capsule form. Either way they are a positive and beneficial source of collagen.
In other foods it is the indirect action they have on natural collagen synthesis which is vital. Egg whites for example which contain a high amount of proline – an amino acid needed for collagen production, or in citrus fruits & berries, super enriched with vitamin c which can help to play a role in the production of pro-collagen, a pre-curser to collagen. Last, but not least, garlic, you will either love it or despise it, but if you knew it was high in sulfur - a trace mineral that can assist in the synthesis to prevent the breakdown of collagen, would you now be including it in every meal for its potential benefits to your health?
All may help to boost collagen production and create the building blocks or amino acids you need for optimum skin and body health. Marine collagen assists both the body and skin by increasing and replenishing your collagen levels. So why is maintaining collagen levels in the body is so important and why do we need to boost collagen levels or replenish the levels in your skin as an everyday necessity that we should have as a priority on our daily to-do list?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and it plays various vital roles both within the building blocks of your skin, muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments. It also assists with our digestive system and blood vessels. Collagen accounts for almost a third of your bodies protein composition. Not only is it essential for healthy joints, gut function and mobility it also keeps skin full of elasticity and wrinkle free. If you think of collagen like a glue within the body and skin, holding everything together and keeping the outer appearance of skin from looking more like a grape than a wrinkly raisin!
It is what both your Doctor and your Dermatologist will recommend. Both advising that you need to take great care of your natural supplies for as long as possible, and when they start to deplete you need to top them up. Your Beauty therapist will be talking you through products abundant in it and your nutritionist will be recommending you drink it. So why are they all so excited about the benefits of marine collagen? The simple fact is it works. We know it depletes year on year from our bodies natural sources, but what makes it so special to be heralded as one of the miraculous ingredients to be applying topically and drinking daily?
We have collagen in abundance in our youth, remember back to that beautiful plump, wrinkle free skin! Why babies look so plump and cuddly, your early twenties where your skin radiates health and has a natural glow and there is not a wrinkle in sight. Then suddenly in our late twenties, early thirties, skin frequently appears to change. A few laughter lines appear, some frown lines. Our forties appear just around the corner the jaw line may begin to alter, the deeper set lines may make it appear like you have a permanent frown, even though you are smiling inside! Then fifties, sixties and beyond there is a definitive change to density and texture as well as the volume of lines apparent, but that is all just a case of us naturally ageing, right? Well yes and no, and the answer can be debated.
Through the natural ageing process, often occurring and becoming more obvious from our thirties, our collagen production starts to slow down, so that heavenly elasticity starts to become a little less taught and strong. The moisture levels in our skin also start to change and the rate of skin replenishment or cellular turnover can start to slow too. Skin that once looked fresh, dewy and full of elasticity, can start to look a little more lack-lustre, loose and not so vibrant.
Add in external factors which affect our collagen depletion rate and levels such as eating too much sugar – did you know that an excess of sugar in your blood stream can cause glycation? It is a natural chemical reaction which occurs when sugar levels spike. Glycation affects the part of our skin that keeps it full of bounce and youthfulness – in short the collagen and elastin fibres.
If we love the sun’s rays too much without adequate sun protection - the sun’s ultra-violet rays can cause immense damage to the skin. The skin cells which contain melanin, which protect the skin from the suns rays can burn, as they do this leads to a reduction in the skin’s elasticity and lead to premature ageing.
Smoking, induces oxidative stress on the skin, meaning insufficient oxygen is supplied to the skin let alone the skin trying to combat the estimated 4000+ chemicals in tobacco smoke which may trigger the destruction of collagen and elastin in the skin. That’s before we add in day-to-day stress, diet and lifestyle, which plays an immense role in the appearance of our skin and constantly changes.
So not only do we produce less collagen, and the quality is not as good as in our younger years, we have multiple other factors affecting the loss of firmness, appearance of fine lines and less elasticity in our skin. We age.
Being the largest organ of the body, your skin also requires copious amounts of collagen to keep it supported, supple and strong. Without any assistance, your skin will not suddenly find any additional natural source of collagen to use for replenishment, hence it should be at the top of our daily focus and skincare action plan.
As far as your skin is concerned types I and types III are the most prolific. Type I accounts for up to 90% of your bodies natural collagen and supports and provides a structural element not only to your skin, helping to minimise fine lines, wrinkles, improve hydration levels in the skin (remember dehydration lines left untreated will just deepen and form deeper wrinkles!).
Type I collagen also helps to rebuild tendons and bone. It helps to support the “scaffold” structure required for both skin and body support. Type III collagen supports the organs, arteries and muscles. We are most definitely in need of both.
Structurally, these predominant types of collagen are composed of polypeptide chains, called alpha chains. Glycine, Proline and Hydroxyproline are the important amino acids. Glycine is the simplest amino acid and is integral in the formation of protein structure. Proline plays the important role of intracellular signalling, whilst Hydroxyproline plays the stability role in this triple helix structure. Both types I and type III collagen are associated with healthy skin, hair and nails as well as marine collagen being absorbed into the skin at a rapid rate.
Whether you decide to take it orally and ingest marine collagen or apply it topically to your skin, it is able to assist in the repairing of collagen and elastin fibres, ultimately producing a thickening of your skins outer surface (the epidermis) which then results in fewer visible wrinkles, improved skin elasticity, hydration and firmness. Who said we couldn’t turn back the clock of time!.
So now we have recognised the need to replenish our collagen on, a daily basis, what type of collagen products should we be looking out for? Take a closer look into the formulations when you are purchasing your marine collagen skincare, do you follow the best sellers on the market? Do they really have marine collagen in them? If something says it is “Pro-Collagen” does it actually need to have any marine collagen in it? It is simply “for-collagen”. The superior products out there both in skincare and supplements will most definitely have Marine collagen amino acids or Hydrolysed collagen within their ingredients listing.
Hydrolysed Collagen is a collagen amino acid shown to be both considerable in effect and moisture retentive. A powerful moisture binding amino acid complex which is hygroscopic – absorbing moisture from the air. Improving the flexibility in the skin through moisturisation and providing superb conditioning properties to the skin, to leave it feeling soft, supple and youthful. So Hydrolysed collagen not only assist with the skins “glue” effect it also absorbs moisture from the air, keeping skin hydrated, flexible and pliant, so that wrinkle formation is reduced.
Marine Collagen Amino Acids are likely to contain several amino acids such as lysine, proline and hydroxyproline too. These can have a positive impact on the skin by helping to increase moisture levels and elasticity in the skin, but also by combatting oxidative stress in the skin (which can make us appear older too!)
SO is Marine collagen a Myth or miracle cure, for me I know that skin elasticity levels go hand in hand with hydration levels. Marine collagen renowned for both its ability to act as a humectant and attract and retain moisture from the atmosphere combined with a low molecular structure in marine collagen amino acids allow them to penetrate the upper layers of the skin where their main aim is to assist in moisture retention and benefit both skin elasticity and flexibility. Using marine collagen amino acids in your daily regime will make your skin feel nourished, the elasticity strengthens and with that you bring back your skins glow and flexibility. Do I need it in all my daily skincare products, or do I need to have it just in my serum, day or night time moisturiser?
For me it is age dependant. We all recognise that prevention is better than cure. Starting to use a marine collagen moisturiser in my twenties, I know I will see the benefit into the next decade. If I am already in my mid years, then definitely the more I use the plumper and firmer my skin will feel, plus I’m keeping it constantly hydrated which is always a benefit. The age old question I hear time and time again is that “I’m too old, there’s nothing you can do for me…” So NOT true!
Yes, we can’t turn a sixty year old skin back to its twenties bloom, but we can improve the hydration and elasticity, so take a daily dose of a marine collagen supplement or liquid drink followed with marine collagen skincare that plumps and hydrates your skin each and every day. Use a marine collagen rich day and night time moisturiser and most definitely ensure that you have some marine collagen within your everyday skin serum. It can make a visible difference to the appearance of your skin. Superior eye hydration for that delicate eye area which always needs a little extra TLC. If you suddenly realise that your skin needs an extra helping hand and valuable moisture surge then Doctors Formula 8 Hour Deep Repair Mask works tirelessly throughout the night to re-boost and hydrate, so your skin wakes with a renewed vibrancy.
People often ask if they should use marine collagen products all year round, it’s always a big resounding yes from me, even if we take into consideration something as simple as the change in seasons.
We know that the winter months take their toll on your skin, the cooler temperatures and lower humidity result in dry air which draws moisture away from your skin. Months of spending more time indoors and central heating lead to more dehydration fine lines than we care to count. Throughout spring the humidity levels start to rise, we need to keep skin hydrated to combat the dehydration lines and keep skin supple. Throughout summer when humidity levels are at their peak and there is a lot of moisture in the air, drier skin types specifically start to feel improved. Yet this increase in air moisture can cause the pores of the skin to open more freely and become clogged, so it makes total sense that if we keep the skins moisture and elasticity levels at a constant, not only do we prevent the skin from seasonal fluctuation we also keep the skin supple. Keep the dreaded dehydration lines at bay and ultimately prevent those fine lines leading to a deeper wrinkle. So marine collagen skincare is an all-year round regime, it is the quickest way to boost both water and elasticity levels in your skin.
There are so many contributing factors to the state of our skin; our lifestyle, stress levels, hormones, sleep patterns, environmental damage, genetics. It is our largest organ of the body, it protects us, fights off infection, regulates our body temperature and so much more. Do we really give it the undivided attention it truly deserves? It is such a huge part of our identity. It is our first impression to the outside world. It is the first thing we look at – someone’s face, the part of our body that we criticise to the max as we look at it the most. We search for the ever-emerging fines lines and wrinkles, check its texture and tone and comment of the ever-declining jawline that feels like it is a world away from what we knew from our twenties.
We know prevention is better than cure, no matter what your age, you are never quite in the last chance saloon. Find a doctor inspired formulation that truly contains marine collagen, either hydrolysed or collagen amino acids and you can certainly reward your skin and your reflection back from the mirror. Feed it, nourish it, water it, find your skin that radiates that healthy glow, feels fresh, make yourself feel younger.
Sea inspired Marine Collagen skincare helps to smooth away the effects of ageing.
These days I could do with a little extra luminosity in my life.. how about you?”