Many people don’t think of it this way, but the skin is the largest organ of our body and it serves as a protective barrier from the external environment. It acts as an elastic covering, which prevents bacteria, germs and chemicals in the environment from entering the body. It also plays a major role in regulating body temperature, enabling us to sense things like heat, pressure and pain as well as producing vitamin D.
The skin is made of two primary layers known as the dermis and the epidermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin, acting as our waterproofing and general barrier against the elements. The dermis is the layer beneath the epidermis and plays a major role in protecting and cushioning the body and internal organs from stresses and strains. It offers support and structure to the epidermis and elasticity to the skin as well. This layer is also home to hair follicles, blood vessels, sweat glands and a large number of nerve endings, which provide a sense of touch, pain and heat.
Although the skin is a highly effective barrier, it is also somewhat permeable to fat soluble products. Absorption through the skin is a method of delivery for some medications and the promised route of entry by many healing and rejuvenating face creams. Numerous topical creams are designed to renew skin and create a more youthful look. Collagen containing creams account for a significant share of the beauty market.
Our body’s natural ability to synthesize collagen diminishes as we age and our depleted collagen stores manifest as wrinkled and saggy skin. Collagen creams are aimed at replenishing collagen in the skin with the promise of giving the skin a firmer, less wrinkled appearance. The question is, how effective can they be if the skin is the body’s barrier to entry?
The theory of absorbing collagen through the skin is easier than the reality. It’s not as simple as putting a substance on your face and miraculously developing younger skin. It’s important to understand how substances are absorbed into the skin and the limitations of that absorption. A substance or chemical enters the skin through either the epidermis, glands or hair follicles. The sweat glands and hair follicles account for only about 1% of the entire skin surface, so the primary method for substance entry is through the epidermis. Topical substances must manage to penetrate the epidermis’ seven cell layers before it can get to the dermis where it might enter the blood. By and large, the problem with collagen creams are that most of the collagen molecules are too large to pass through the skin’s formidable barrier.
Although collagen creams do not penetrate deep into the lower layers of skin to actually replace lost collagen they are relatively effective at slowing the amount of water lost from the skin, which temporarily improves hydration in the area of application. Vitamins A, E and C are often added to collagen creams, as these vitamins are recognized to strengthen the skin and promote production of collagen in the local area where they are applied.
More effective at replacing lost collagen are collagen supplements, which provide collagen peptides to all of the body’s tissues. Since collagen represents 30% of the body’s total protein, a lot of tissues are in need of collagen boosting.
Collagen peptide supplements are very tiny molecules comprised of specific amino acid sequences. These sequences are what the body needs to be able to boost collagen synthesis throughout the body. Marine collagen supplements offer superior absorption over beef or pig sources, allowing greater concentrations of the peptides into the blood stream. This translates to better efficiency in collagen synthesis not only in the skin, but throughout the entire body. The results are impressive - improved skin health over the entire body; better hydration so skin is not so dry; reduced wrinkle depth and better skin tone, increased skin elasticity, reduced itchiness, reduced pore size, decreased hyper-pigmentation and a healthier glow from top to bottom.