Collagen, a protein naturally produced in the body, is also a popular supplement and beauty product ingredient that claims to improve the health of your skin. Collagen is a protein that serves as one of the main building blocks for your bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
“Collagen is what keeps our skin from sagging, giving us that plump, youthful look,” says dermatologist Dr. Ohara Aivaz.
Your body naturally makes collagen, but this production decreases with age.
“Starting in our mid-20s, we slowly begin to lose collagen,” Dr. Aivaz says. “For women, we can lose up to 30% of our collagen production in the first 5 years of menopause.”
Because we lose collagen as we age, many are using collagen supplements as part of an anti-aging beauty regimen.
What is collagen?
It’s the main component of connective tissues that make up several body parts, including tendons, ligaments, skin, and muscles.
Collagen has many important functions, including providing your skin with structure and strengthening your bones.
There are 28 types of collagen, but here are the four most common:
Type I: the most common type, found in all connective tissue
Type ll: found in joints and intervertebral discs (the cushions that serve as your spine’s shock absorbers)
Type lll: the main component of reticular fibers, which are found in your skin and blood vessels
Type lV: a component of your kidneys, inner ear, and eye lens
In recent years, collagen supplements have become popular. Most are hydrolyzed, which means the collagen has been broken down to make it easier to absorb.
These supplements come primarily in powder form but are also available in capsules. The types of collagen found in supplements vary — some contain one or two types, while others contain up to five.
Several foods may naturally increase your collagen intake, including pork skin and bone broth.