WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the most abundant form of protein found in humans, constituting one-third of the body’s protein composition. As one of the primary building blocks of our bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, collagen provides structure and is often referred to as the scaffolding of the body. It also works in unison with elastin to maintain the skin’s elasticity, keeping it firm and plump.
Our body naturally produces collagen by breaking down dietary protein into amino acids. However, the mechanism gradually slows as we age. After the age of 25, collagen production decreases by an average of 1% per year - a rate that increases further beyond age 40. On the other hand, factors like exposure to the sun, a sugar-rich diet and smoking could also accelerate the breaking down of collagen.
The loss of collagen is a significant culprit behind the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, dryness and sagging. Given collagen’s prominent role in enabling youthful smooth skin, it became one of anti-ageing skincare’s priorities to boost its production. Certain ingredients are capable of achieving this, but there are differing pros and cons to be considered.
Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is commonly used for anti-ageing purposes. It has the ability to stimulate the production of collagen and blood vessels, the latter of which enhances skin colour. Additionally, it has the benefit of softening rough patches, as well as fading age spots and scars.
However, retinol tends to take a very long time to produce visible results. To observe apparent improvement in wrinkle reduction, at least three to six months of regular use is required. Meanwhile, the best results are reaped as long as a year later. This may be due to the fact that retinol could cause skin dryness and irritation. It also heightens the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. As such, over-the-counter retinol products tend to be less concentrated to mitigate these issues, and are hence less effective.
Vitamin C is used at nearly every stage of the body’s natural collagen-building process. In fact, our body’s inability to generate adequate levels of Vitamin C as we age is a major contributor to the decrease in collagen production. Consequently, the use of Vitamin C can give collagen formation a much needed boost.
The downside of Vitamin C is that it is a pro-oxidant, which could cause skin damage in the form of collagen and elastin breakdown, inflammation, irritation and acne. These are consequences of Vitamin C’s reactions with metals, such as iron, which is present in the air and water we are exposed to, as well as cosmetics and sunscreen. Besides, it similarly induces heightened sensitivity to sunlight and UV radiation.
Copper peptide is naturally-occuring in the human body. Its tiny particles penetrate the deepest layer of our skin, where it sends a message for the skin to increase its collagen production and signals for aging skin cells to behave like younger, healthier skin cells. Combined with its wound-healing and scar-fading properties, copper peptide enables intensive and long-lasting restorative effects. On top of that, copper peptide yields firmer, smoothened skin in as soon as three months.
Relatively speaking, copper peptide is a newcomer in the beauty industry. While studies of the substance trace back to 1973, it was introduced into skincare in the 90’s and gained more prestige only recently. Nonetheless, it consistently shows exceptionally promising results.
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