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The benefits of collagen weren’t lost on women in the ‘old days’, who applied gelatin on their faces to get plump, dewy skin. We don’t mean the fruity, Jello stuff, either. We’re talking about the plain, gooey, cooked variety of gelatin.
Many of us are doing the same thing, but don’t realize we’re carrying on the tradition. However, if you’ve ever thought about trying a cream with collagen for your skin, the key ingredient is just that: gelatin.
It probably won’t say that on the label, though. Collagen sounds better, right?
Are Collagen and Gelatin the Same Thing?
When gelatinous meat by-products are boiled down to a thick liquid, that gelatin becomes one and the same with collagen. If you heat gelatin crystals or powder, it also becomes collagen.
So what is collagen?
Collagen gives structure to the bodily tissues of human beings, fish and other animals. While there are 29 different types of collagen situated in almost every area of the body, collagen is present in abundance in the skin, joints and bones. These areas are where gelatin is harvested from cows, chicken and fish, then processed and refined to reappear in health and beauty products.
In short, gelatin is the most commonly used source of collagen on the market, according to the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. So Grandma knows more than we thought.
The Health and Beauty Benefits of Collagen
1. Benefits of Collagen for Hair
Can collagen stimulate hair follicles to produce more hair? Well, it is a structural molecule, so it definitely helps construct hair, but its hair growth abilities are less certain. For some it does, for most, it doesn’t. Collagen helps increase hair thickness, though, which can make your hair stronger and healthier.
2. Nails and Collagen
Collagen has the same benefits for nails as it does for hair. Again, being structural, collagen makes nails thicker (i.e., stronger) and shinier, but only causes a bit more growth.
3. Benefits of Collagen for Skin
Stimulating your skin’s natural collagen production can help reduce minor scarring and signs of aging. There are many ways to do this, but if microneedling is used as the method, the results can be compared to those of laser resurfacing. Here, collagen works to restore your skin structure as close to its original form as possible.
And the benefits of collagen don’t stop with beauty…
4. Arthritis Sufferers and Collagen
Those suffering from painful osteoarthritis have found relief with collagen supplements, which replace faulty joint collagen with healthy molecules instead.
5. Joints of Athletes Benefit From Collagen
Active people without arthritis can use collagen to help keep their joints healthy and to relieve pain from injuries. The ingested collagen quickly replaces any injured molecules lurking around after the stresses of physical exercise.
6. Can Collagen Heal a Leaky Gut?
It makes sense to take collagen for a leaky gut because the illness itself is caused in part by a lack of collagen in the body. This disorder can also surface when collagen in the intestinal lining becomes damaged due to inflammation.
How Can You Increase Healthy Collagen in Your Body?
1. Gulp It Down
Many people drink collagen peptides to boost their collagen levels. Peptides have shorter protein chains than normal collagen and can absorb into your system better. But will ingesting collagen improve your skin? Yes. Our bodies regulate the ingested collagen and send it first to where it’s needed the most. That includes problematic skin. We tend to see our skin as just aesthetic. To our bodies, the skin is our first level of defense, so it’s a priority.
2. Sip Some Bone Broth
After peptides, eating gelatin in a form like bone broth is the next best way to get more collagen into your system.
3. Take Supplements
Collagen in capsule form is great. But it won’t absorb into your body as well as peptides or broth.
4. Get Into Your Skin
If you’re really worried about less than perfect skin, you can always double up: drink collagen and also apply it to your face. Better yet, stimulate your skin’s natural collagen production with glycolic acid or see a microneedling professional.
Ready to Experience the Benefits of Collagen?
Overall, the ways to increase and to experience the benefits of collagen are many.
And by the way, if a gelatin mask still doesn’t appeal to you, try egg whites. They’re also kind of gross, but work great in the collagen department too. Plus they are Grandma recommended.