The word collagen comes from the ancient Greek word κόλλα (kolla), which translates to “glue”. Basically, you can think about collagen as the elastic glue that holds your body together.
It is a very important protein found in the human body that is essential to our health. It provides strength, structure and stability. It makes up about a third of the body’s protein content. There are more than 16 types of collagen. Some collagen protects organs like the kidneys. Other types strengthen our joints and tendons.
Collagen is most abundant in your bones, muscles, skin and tendons. But it is also found in other areas of the body, like your lips... and your vagina.
Collagen plays an important role in maintaining skin elasticity; its production decreases with age and other factors like UV light exposure, smoking, a high-sugar diet, etc.
Intrinsic or chronological aging is the natural aging process that takes place over the years regardless of outside influences.
After the age of 20, a person produces about 1-1.5% less collagen in the skin each year and by the time they turn 50, most individuals will have lost about 50% of the collagen in their skin. As a result, the skin becomes thinner and more fragile with age.
There is also diminished functioning of the sweat and oil glands, less elastin production, and less GAG formation. Wrinkle formation as a result of intrinsic aging is inevitable, but it will always be slight.
Our selection for lips & vulva
An all-natural vulva moisturizer featuring a blend of peptides, probiotics and Miracle Berry Stem cell extract, Rejuvenate will hydrate, soothe and comfort, smoothe and protect, plumps and tighten the delicate skin of the vulva.
This high-performance nighttime (or anytime) mask's exclusive "trifecta complex plus" helps regenerate skin and lessen the visible signs of aging. It gives lips intense nourishment and leaves them smooth, soft and plumped.
Featuring a natural blend of plants (jojoba, coconut, beeswax, vitamin E, mountain cherry...), peptides and collagen booster sodium hyaluronate, this sugar-based exfoliator will leave lips smooth, plumped and hydrated.
Key facts & myths
By the time they turn 50, most individuals will have lost about 50% of the collagen in their skin
Lasers, radiofrequency devices, and other treatments available claim to boost collagen growth.
Topical collagen is not to be trusted, since collagen molecules are too large to be absorbed through the skin
Our body contains 16 different types of collagen.
Collagen, the lips and the vulva
We always talk about collagen in skin, but it is also important in lips, and in the vulva.
The main reason that lips begin to thin and lose their natural, full shape is due to a localized depletion of collagen.
Just like skin, vaginal tissue relies on collagen for its support. With the normal aging process or physical stresses from child-bearing, the tissue can become overstretched and weakened. The result is very commonly a feeling of vaginal looseness called laxity, the side-effects of which can be a loss of sensation during intercourse, inability to orgasm or fewer orgasms and even urinary incontinence.
In 2020, in the United States alone, consumers are expected to spend $293 million on collagen supplements, up from just $50 million in 2014, according to market research firm Nutrition Business Journal.
Frequently asked questions
Is there collagen in food?
Most naturally occurring food doesn’t have collagen. But, a lot of food is good for boosting, synthesizing or protecting collagen. Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach and berries rich in antioxidants help protect collagen breakdown. Foods rich in omega-3s like fish, broccoli and walnuts help boost collagen growth.
Bone broth seems to be trending, claiming it’s different and better because it’s made from the connective tissue and bones of animals. But there is no evidence-based medicine to support bone broth being better for you than other foods, only anecdotal evidence.
What about collagen supplements?
Health professionals are still debating whether collagen supplements truly work. “The science is truly in its infancy, there’s a lot of conflict of interest, and not enough quality control.” Dr. Mark Moyad, MD, director of the complementary and alternative medicine program at the University of Michigan Medical Center. There are a few studies that show collagen supplements helped relieve joint pain. But, just like the bone broth, there are more stories about collagen supplements than clinical evidence.
“I think the elephant in the room here is safety,” says Mark Moyad. “We are talking about ground-up fish, chicken, pig, and cow parts, and these parts tend to act as sponges for contaminants and heavy metals.”
You will also like
Skin care that provides protection and repair from UV and environmental agressors, 2 major causes of accelerated aging and collagen depletion