What is collagen and what are its benefits?

Collagen is a word that’s often associated with the holy grail of youthful-looking skin. It can be found in powders, pills and liquid supplements, all with the promise of keeping your skin looking and feeling its best. We’ve all heard of it and no doubt dropped it into conversation…but what is it, what does collagen do and more importantly, do we actually need it? We break down everything you need to know about this beauty buzzword.

What is collagen?

Collagen is the most common protein that’s found in the body. The word comes from the Greek word kólla which means glue and that’s essentially what collagen is: the ‘glue’ that holds our bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments together. There are at least 28 different types of collagen found around the body.

What are the benefits of collagen for skin?

The type of collagen that helps us to look youthful is found in the middle layer of the skin. Together with elastin, it strengthens the skin and promotes elasticity, helping it look and feel plump, and prevent it from sagging. Collagen can also reduce dryness in the skin, helping it stay hydrated and give it that glow we all covet.

At what age do we start losing collagen?

As we reach the age of 20, our bodies start to produce less and less, and collagen is broken down faster than you can make it. In fact, by the time we’ve reached our 40s, we’ve lost approximately 30 per cent of our collagen supply, which is partly the reason we see lines and wrinkles in the skin. But aside from the natural degradation of collagen, there are certain lifestyle habits that can damage it and speed up the process of ageing, such as eating a lot of sugar and refined carbohydrates, too much exposure to the sun and its harmful UV rays, and smoking.

How to increase collagen

The good news is that although our skin naturally loses collagen, there are ways we can help increase collagen production through eating nutrient-rich leafy greens and vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower that have high levels of Vitamin C and Sulphur – both of which are essential for collagen production. Skin care products designed to boost collagen help too: our Nutri-Define range contains farm-grown Spilanthes Flower and Horseradish Root extracts that naturally promote collagen production in the skin.

Read our guide to increasing collagen naturally for more top tips and shop our full Nutri-Define range for collagen boosting skin care.