Collagen, the secret ingredient for healthy and youthful skin

Skin-ageing is a natural process that we all go through.  In theory, our skin is fully grown by the age of 12 and from 25 years old some of us can already see the first signs of skin-ageing. This is because cell division becomes less active at that point and collagen production decreases. From this age, collagen production reduces by 1.5% per year, resulting in looser, saggier skin. The fountain of eternal youth hasn't been discovered yet, so we can't prevent ageing entirely, but we can slow it down.

Youthful fresh skin: it’s a question of balance

As with so much in life, healthy and fresh-looking skin is all about balance. So, as much as possible, opt for a varied and nutritious diet, don't over-expose your skin to the sun, avoid smoking, drink alcohol in moderation... and yes, beauty sleep helps!  Because after a good night’s sleep, we look much better rested and our skin also reaps the benefits.

But there is something else that also needs to be in balance in our bodies for our skin to retain its youthful appearance: collagen.  The production and breaking down of collagen must be in proportion. Collagen is the most frequently occurring protein in our body and it provides structure, firmness and elasticity. From 25 years old, production of this endogenous protein slows down. However, by supplementing collagen deficits, we can continue to nourish the skin and support its youthful, fresh appearance.

Creams, injections, pills or drinks?

But which form of collagen gives the best results?

Collagen in cream form gets through the epidermis, but it doesn't penetrate to the deeper layers of skin. Collagen is found in one of these deeper layers, namely the dermis. The structure of collagen is too big to be able to penetrate adequately. However, moisturising is not entirely useless, because the liquid in the creams provides the necessary hydration and the massaging movements while applying a cream can help to stimulate collagen production. Just don't expect miracles from using creams alone.

Collagen injections do penetrate deeply enough, but they are quite expensive, produce only temporary results and they are a bit painful. On the other hand, the results are instantly visible and last for around three to six months. Afterwards the collagen is broken down by the body, the effect disappears and more injections are required.

Taking collagen orally seems to make a visible difference. Various clinical studies support this theory. Collagen in liquid or pill form is usually hydrolysed to collagen peptides. This means that the large molecule is broken down into smaller pieces that can be absorbed more quickly and easily into the bloodstream. By keeping collagen levels up, people can slow down the signs of ageing. Not only in the skin, but also in the joints, bones, hair, teeth and nails. Because remember that collagen is the protein that is most frequently found in our bodies, not just in our skin!

Artificial, vegetable, animal or marine collagen?

Furthermore, collagen can be acquired from various sources. But which is the best?

It’s best to avoid artificial collagen, because as the name suggests, it is made from synthetic substances. It is therefore difficult and sometimes impossible for the skin to absorb it.

Collagen that comes from plants will not penetrate through to the dermis either, but does offer particularly good protection for the epidermis. Animal collagen frequently comes from beef and has a greater chance of causing an allergic reaction or other side effects. Furthermore, this form is less well absorbed. Compared with the types listed above, marine collagen is the purest form of collagen. It is particularly concentrated and it has high bioavailability, so it is best absorbed by the body. The structure of the amino acid chain corresponds perfectly to the collagen in our skin.

Belène Skin Care combines collagen of marine and vegetable origin. The liquid form, Belène Anti-Age Beauty Drink, contains marine collagen, whereas vegetable collagen is present in the cosmetic products.

The cosmetics contain a mixture of 3 natural peptides, namely from yeast, rice and wheat. It is a natural, patented technology that stimulates the collagen. In addition, the creams and the serum are also based on plant stem cell technology in which stem cell extract is obtained from the cell wall of Nicotiana Sylvestris. Within the plant this functions in exactly the same way as collagen and elastin in human skin.  That is why it is sometimes referred to as “plant collagen”.

This unique combination has a double action: it boosts collagen production on the one hand and slows down the breakdown of collagen on the other. Of course, you will also benefit from the hydrating power of these plant sources.

You only have 1 skin, treat it with care and love

Our skin is our biggest organ and has numerous important functions. Not only does it protect us against all kinds of external factors, it also plays a psychological role that should not be underestimated. Fresh skin is a good indication of our health and has a big influence on how we feel and how other people see us. If we believe we look good, we often stand taller and exude self-confidence.

Collagen breakdown is part of the natural ageing process. Previously, we talked about taking drinkable collagen to maintain collagen levels, but food and lifestyle can also have a positive influence. Here are a few good habits to adopt:

  • Drink plenty of water and keep your skin hydrated.
  • Restrict your sugar intake because sugar contributes to collagen breakdown.
  • Avoid alcohol and cigarettes and limit sunbathing.
  • Eat sufficient vitamin C-containing fruits (e.g. Citrus, kiwis, berries, etc.) because these promote collagen production.
  • Eat sufficient foods that are rich in omega 3 and omega 6, such as fish, avocado, nuts and olive oil. These contain selenium, which reduces the breakdown of collagen.
  • Massage your skin regularly. This is good for your mood as well as your skin.

Be good to your skin, you’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life