Photograph by Linda Rosewall. www.lindarosewall.com
Drinkable collagen. I got a little overexcited when I discovered that such a product existed. The lure was ridiculously strong, a little like the magic of a slimming pill. With the change of season, I suffer from impossibly dry, crinkly, and at times so-sore-they-hurt hands. Year-round I experience notably "sagging" skin on my face and neck. You too? Please read on.
Six months ago I learned that collagen molecules are too big to be absorbed by the skin. Drat. Double drat. In fact, are-you-kidding-me-drat! So you might have the most hum-dinger of a cream packed full of collagen amazingness, but guess what? None of that amazingness can actually get into the epidermis of the skin and work any magic. Big fat bummer.
In September 2016 I turned 44 and over night my hands aged. I'd reach out to stroke my sons cheek and my goodness, it's my late mothers hand. It's a beautiful, constant reminder that Mum is always with me. But boy oh boy, them hands look old.
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the main structural protein found in skin and other connective tissues. It's a protein that makes up 25 - 35% of the total proteins in our magnificent bodies.
I enlisted the help of an expert to explain the wonder of collagen. Experienced Aesthetician and Beauty Therapist, Alex Owens says "collagen is the spiral shaped proteins produced by fibroblasts within the skin. Collagen is what holds and gives our skin lift and shape." And this my friends is why we love it. Alex says "When we are young our skin is made of 80 per cent collagen and once we turn 25, our collagen decreases 1 percent each year." And dabble in the Tripe S brigade - Sun, Smoking and Sugar - the quicker this decline.
FACT. COLLAGEN DEPLETES WITH AGE. SO, WHAT IS ONE TO DO?
Many of us are on the quest to reinvigorate, lift or plump up our drying (with age) therefore sagging, somewhat crepey skin. I guess this is why injectables are so popular - literally injecting synthetic collagen into the skin plumps then replenishes the skins natural protein giving it renewed structure.
I'm personally not ready for injectables - I've no issue with those that make that choice. You're grown ups, you're the boss of your body. It's just not for me right now.
My bestie is a Pharmacist. She assures me that our bodies can metabolise medical collagen (that's derived from young beef cattle - "bovine" - from certified BSE-free animals) ... but me, I'm still a Nervous Nelly. If I was travelling down that road, the most important factor is the skill and experience of the therapist/nurse/doctor. In Sydney, I recommend one of Australia's leading Plastic Surgeons, Dr Jeremy Hunt and his experienced team. drjeremyhunt.com.au
Beauty Therapist Alex Owens says "there are many lotions and potions that claim to infuse actual collagen into the skin. This is scientifically impossible. And even when injected, its often a synthetic filler. It's literally impossible to give actual human collagen as our body would reject it. There is no proven evidence that collagen can be adsorbed or added internally even though there are many things on the market."
HANG ON, IS MY SHELLAC ADDICTION THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM?
So I ponder why my hands suddenly looked so old and dry. I wondered if it was my dependent relationship with Shellac - all that UV light can't be good for the skin on my hands. In a state of panic I began to wear sunscreen to the Nail Bar. I'm not kidding, I really do wear SPF50 to the Nail Bar.
MY HAND CREAM OBSESSION.
I had a tube in my car, a tube in my handbag, a tube beside my bed. It was the first thing I did on waking. The hand cream habit was taking over my life! It owned me. I suddenly understood why women of a certain age gift it to one another. I went on the hunt for the ultimate hand cream to provide relief.
Vanessa Megan Coco Coconut Body cream - a super rich, Australian Certified Organic, cream fortified with certified organic coconut oil and cocoa butter for the body. It works miracles on the rest of my body (my legs and arms just lap it up), the effects on my hands just weren't long lasting. I moved to the award-winning Vanessa Megan Peruvian Flower Hand and Body Cream - oh the fragrance is divine the texture light yet nourishing and fast-absorbing.
Both $104.95 for 500ml at vanessamegan.com or you can order direct from me at 20% off RRP email firstname.lastname@example.org
Next I tried Eco by Sonja Driver Coconut Body Milk. A certified organic blend of beautiful fragrant natural plant extracts and oils, including coconut to soothe irritation. Aloe vera, jojoba and macadamia, deliver long-lasting hydration and nourishment. Takes a bit of work to get this product to absorb but my body loves it.
$34.95 for 500ml available from BeautifulBecause.com.au
Weleda Skin Food. Oh how I love thee.
This multi-tasking, award winning legend of a product deserves it's own exclusive blog post. A much loved beauty essential. Deeply nourishing and intensely hydrating this whole-body cream restores and protects your skin. The 100% natural formula includes extracts of organic chamomile, calendula and wild pansy to soothe rough skin. While revitalising rosemary will boost dull complexions. These calming extracts are gently blended with enriching sunflower, lanolin and sweet almond oils and waxes to provide a fine protective barrier against the environment.
$21.95 for 75ml available from earthrose.com.au and Beautifulbecause.com.au
All of these creams are 100% natural and free from toxic ingredients. They rock. They work wonders on the rest of my body. No amount of hand cream was making a sh**s worth of difference to the texture of my hands. Still with me?
Desperately Seeking ... a seriously good organic supplement that would help my struggling cells "plump".
SO WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO WHEN NOTHING ELSE IS CUTTING THE MUSTARD? (FINALLY, DRINKABLE COLLAGEN.)
$39.95 Available at BeautifulBecause.com.au and TheBeautyChef.com
I fall for The Beauty Chef's COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost "for anyone concerned about skin texture, firmness and fine lines". Ah, yes, that would be me. The Beauty Chef’s COLLAGEN Inner Beauty Boost is a delicious organic, bio-fermented probiotic concentrate designed to increase the skin’s production of collagen and promote a radiant, naturally plumped complexion from the inside out. It contains a blend of Certified Organic maqui berry, acai, papaya, blueberry, goji-berry and pomegranate powders with grape-seed extract, zinc and vitamin C.
I want this product to work. Bad.
Now you need to look really hard at these two photos. Left is BEFORE. Right is AFTER 2 months of drinking The Beauty Chef's COLLAGEN. I see a slight change in the texture of my crinkly hands. Clinical Nutritionist and Family Health Specialist, Miriam Pollack of Nourish Meant Nutrition, is skeptical. Miriam explains, "You can't eat collagen and then have it go straight to your skin or anywhere else. Your stomach is full of acid which breaks down proteins - and collagen is a protein." nourish-meant.com.au
Drat. I so want to believe it's working! My hands definitely feel better.
I interviewed Nutritionist, Herbalist and Womens Health specialist, Anna Maria Boelskov of annamaria.com.au to find out how The Beauty Chef COLLAGEN product can do what it claims. Anna Maria says "The vital nutrients for keeping skin plump and elastic are Zinc, vitamin C and vitamin E. The Beauty Chef product contains the antioxidant vitamin C or ascorbic acid that helps to protect from oxidative stress and cellular breakdown. Zinc is a wound and skin healer, ideal for boosting skin's elasticity and integrity. So this product does contain these two vital nutrients for skin health and maintenance. Another thing to mention is that when we have a strong and healthy digestive function our overall health and wellbeing will be thriving too. The digestive health dictates everything. So the probiotics are a great aid in keeping our gut well and happy and as a side effect could be supporting and improving skin complexion. It's a good product made with good intentions, but none of these ingredients are needed in a supplement form. And let's say you are low in zinc, then this product isn't going to be enough to boost a deficiency. I think this is mostly a good looking product that will make most people feel like they are doing something to boost their skin and slowing ageing." Anna Maria recommends Great Lakes Collagen.
After experimenting and consulting experts, my summation is that drinkable collagen is not the magic slimming pill of the anti-ageing movement. However, it tastes delicious. And it makes me feel good.
OTHER WAYS TO SUCCESFULLY STIMULATE COLLAGEN PRODUCTION.
SUPPLEMENTS AND BUCKET LOADS OF VEGES
So I asked Anna Maria, are there any other alternatives, remedy’s or supplements that you would recommend to achieve boost in collagen? "Oh yes. Again it is a very individual thing to offer the correct nutrients. I would generally suggest the following for healthy collagen. A wide range of antioxidants but still include the vitamin c, plus vitamin A and Vitamin E. Natural fats are key, so coconut oil, olive oil and ghee. Then I would definitely use zinc (but in a different form such as citrate or picolinate) and then electrolytes so ensure hydration is a top priority. I do think, as a final note, that the protection and long-term collagen production is best maintained with a good diet free from sugar and caffeine and alcohol. The colourful vegetables will offer the continuous supply of nutrients and antioxidants that protects the skin from ageing and we need to aim for at least 3-4 cups of mixed vegetables daily! It's a lot, but worth it."
SKINCARE INGREDIENTS AND TREATMENTS
Beauty Therapist Alex Owens says don't lose hope as "there are ways to stimulate skin to actually produce more collagen and to strengthen the collagen proteins that we have. This can be through active skin care ingredients and treatments." Hallelujah!
1. Radio Frequency Treatment is a revolutionary treatment which when performed regularly (weekly then monthly) triggers the skin to produce more collagen. It does this by tricking the skin into thinking it's been harmed. It uses a direct electro wave (imagine the way a microwave cooks food from the inside out) so it's creating a lower trauma without disturbing the external layers of the epidermis. www.clearskincareclinics.com.au
2. Skin Needling (aka collagen induction therapy) is very similar philosophy to Radio Frequency using micro needles create a trauma to the skin through the surface which in turn tricks the skin into thinking it's traumatised so the skin produces collagen as an action.
3. Ingredients that stimulate the skin to create more collagen.
IBR Dormin and Hyaluronic acid will plump the skin by increasing water retention and preventing premature dehydration with the skin cells.
Vanessa Megan Advanced Anti Ageing EPI Cell Serum has a unique and perfect balance of the IBR Dormin and Hyraluronic Acid.
$89.95 available at www.vanessamegan.com or
Email me to purchase direct at 20% off RRP email@example.com
Alex continues "Any kind of anti oxidant at a natural, organic state will help to protect and delay collagen depletion. As long as the carrying formulation is finely structured enough for the active products to efficiently penetrate through to deeper layers of the skin and free of synthetic ‘bulkers’ which mostly prevent this happening." Be mindful of synthetic ingredients and always read the ingredient listings.
So next on my quest is to experiment with a Radio Frequency treatment and a little needling, I believe the down-time is really quite frightening, one resembles Freddy Kruger. Perhaps best start with my hands! Wish me luck.
With love Amanda xxx
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