The Truth About Collagen
Collagen is one of, if not the most important building blocks of your skin. But what’s the deal with collagen loss and can skincare really help put back what’s gone? Here’s everything we know…
If you’re here, you’re probably semi-interested in your skin and how it works. And if that’s the case you’ll know a little bit about collagen and the role it plays in the overall health of your skin. Hint: it’s a LOT.
But how much do you really know about collagen? Like, what happens as you age? And what collagen in skincare truthfully means?
Interested to up your collagen knowledge (ooh, try saying that three times in a row after a few pinots!)? Then read on for the full intel…
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the whole of your body and it’s made up of a combination of amino acids. While there are many different types of collagen, there are only four main variants, and of these, just one (type I) accounts for a whopping 90 percent of your body’s collagen levels.
Collagen is found in the body’s connective tissues and it has a kind of dense, fiber-like structure which acts like ‘glue’ to make these tissues strong, supple and resilient. You’ll find collagen in your bones, muscles, teeth and blood, but it’s most prevalent in your skin where it’s produced just beneath the surface in the dermis.
How Does Aging Affect Collagen?
When you’re young, your skin is awash with lots of delicious collagen which keeps it soft, strong, plump and wrinkle-free. However, once you hit your 20s, you start to produce around 1-1.5 percent less collagen every year. This is what’s known as intrinsic aging and it’s what causes the inevitable thinning and weakening of your skin you literally have no control over.
Of course, there are plenty of other factors at play here, too. Your lifestyle, your diet, how much sleep you get and your levels of stress all work to deplete collagen in your skin. Then, there’s the environmental stuff like pollution and UV damage that cause collagen-damaging free radicals. All this you can control and it’s what’s known in the biz as extrinsic aging.
So, Can You Slow Down The Rate At Which Your Skin Loses Collagen?
Yes and no. Intrinsic aging is a done deal and unless you’ve invented some kind of Back To The Future style DeLorean, you can’t alter time. But you can control all the other factors. The sun is the biggest player and responsible for around 80 percent of extrinsic aging, so you must protect your skin from UV damage every day by applying an antioxidant like Vitamin C Facial Serum followed by sunscreen with broad-spectrum coverage.
Getting a great night’s sleep, not smoking and reducing emotional stress are also super important. And so is your diet. Sugar and refined carbs can really screw up collagen synthesis so try to avoid these. Instead, up your intake of antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies and ensure you get plenty of protein as this helps your body produce more quality collagen in order to maintain firmer, younger-looking skin.
Meat, poultry, seafood, dairy, beans and tofu are real BFFs for quality collagen production.
What’s The Deal With Collagen In Skincare?
Experts are divided as to whether applying skincare containing collagen really works. Although, in truth, most agree it probably doesn’t. The issue is that collagen is a large, very complex molecule making it pretty hard (almost impossible?) to penetrate the skin when applied topically. Darn it. Hydrolyzed collagen (which is collagen that’s been broken down into peptides) may absorb more easily, but the jury’s still out on that one.
In our opinion, your best bet is to stick with skincare ingredients that work to increase your own rate of collagen production, rather than to apply topical, synthetic collagen. Ingredients like retinol, MSM and vitamin C have all been studied and proven to stimulate your skin’s natural collagen production and inhibit its breakdown. Retinol, in particular, has been used for decades and has an awesome track record when it comes to upping your collagen levels.
Try Retinol Facial Serum or Vitamin C Super Serum +. And of course, don’t forget that super important sun protection to reduce the formation of free radicals in your skin and consequently decrease your risk of collagen damage.
Finally, What About Collagen Drinks & Supplements?
As with topical collagen, there’s not a huge amount of evidence to support whether ‘miracle’ collagen shots or supplements will realistically make your lines and wrinkles disappear. Some research papers point to them having definite potential, but many experts believe that by the time the collagen has been ingested, digested and made its way into your bloodstream its potency and quantity could be so lacking it has no real benefits at all.
Again, hydrolyzed collagen supplements seem to have more potential as studies show these to be more easily absorbed by your body. But, we’re still not 100 percent convinced.
Our advice for maintaining quality collagen for as long as you possibly can? Stick with a healthy diet, use daily sun protection and apply antioxidants and retinol on the reg. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
More About This Article
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.
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Because one small change to your skincare routine = a giant step for the look and feel of your skin…
It’s easy to get into a rut with your skincare routine. We get that. After all, when things are ticking along nicely and your skin seems to be behaving well enough, why put a cat amongst the pigeons?
Don’t get us wrong, we’re all about consistency here at TruSkin. Finding your routine mojo – and sticking with it – is worth its weight in gold. But, unless you’re some kind of inch-perfect superhero who never puts a foot wrong (does that person even exist?), improvements to your skincare routine can always be made. This could be adding an extra treatment serum to your bedtime regimen to help resist the signs of aging now you’ve hit 30, or it might be something as simple as washing your bedsheets more often (*note to self, right there!). Whatever your routine looks like, we know that you (and us included) can always do better.
Read on for some simple tweaks to help upgrade your skincare jam. And excellent news: not only are they super speedy and completely effortless, but they won’t cost you a dime.
First, Detox Your Beauty Cabinet
When was the last time you looked at your product arsenal to figure out which products you actually use and see visibly results from? If the answer is anywhere between six months ago and never, then now’s the time to change that.
Products have a shelf-life and, unless otherwise stated on the packaging, should generally be used within a year of opening. And if you're not sure how long that dusty serum has been hanging around at the back of your cabinet? Then apply a little to the back of your hand. If it smells funny, has changed color or looks separated – toss it. Using ‘off’ products on your face can cause all manner of unwanted issues so avoid even the slimmest chance of that happening by ditching anything old and unused.
Not only can you do without all those 'passed their best' products, but neither do you need 20+ skincare products that overload your skin and cause potential irritation. Instead, basic is best. Of course, by basic we don’t mean sticking with a cruddy soap and bog-standard moisturizer. But cleanser, eye treatment, serum (or two), moisturizer, night cream and sunscreen are perfectly adequate. In fact, this combination is the perfect sweet spot in our humble opinion.
Read Your Labels
You might think you know how to cleanse and moisturize your skin because you’ve been doing it for years. So why read the labels? What could possibly go wrong? Similarly, your skin is super strong and has never reacted to a product in the past, so why should you bother familiarizing yourself with a new product’s ingredients and instructions? Well, the most important thing to remember is that every skincare formulation is different. Sure, washing your face is essentially washing your face, but maybe your new cleanser contains super-strong active ingredients that might irritate your skin if you go in all guns blazing. Or perhaps it's best applied to dry skin first, then rinsed off with water. Who knows if you don’t check first?
Take a minute or so (because honestly, that’s all it will take) to read any new skincare labels before using products for the first time. And while you’re at it, go back and read your existing ones to check you’re applying those correctly, too. You never know, you may just learn something new. And your skin will thank you for it.
Cleanse For An Extra Minute
Rushing through your skincare regimen is a real shame. Not only because applying products should be enjoyable, rather than a chore, but also because taking your time will reap countless rewards.
Cleansing, for example, is often looked over as something to be swiftly checked off your list before getting to the main event of applying treatment serums and moisturizers. Huge mistake. Cleansing is the absolute foundation of great skin, removing potentially pore-clogging debris from the surface while preparing your skin to absorb and maximize the benefits of the rest of your routine. Do it badly, or too quickly and you won’t do a great job. That’s the truth.
So word to the wise: Take. Your. Time. Just a couple of minutes is all it takes to get rid of all that built-up grime, oil, sweat and makeup. Grab your favorite formulation – we have three awesome ones to choose from – and apply it to damp skin, then use your hands and pads of your fingers to gently work it all over your face and neck. Sweep it all over using stroking, lifting motions then massage it in circular motions to help boost blood flow and lymphatic drainage. Honestly, there is no easier way to improve the radiance of your skin.
Swerve The Hand Towel
Being aware of the quality and cleanliness of your face towel is a great way to level up your skincare. How so? Because old or dirty towels can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. And this is far from ideal for your skin – especially if you’re prone to breakouts.
This means it’s super important to set aside a specific towel for drying your face. Communal bath or hand towels? Unacceptable. Choose cotton or cotton blend towels as these combine the ideal blend of softness and absorbency alongside a little gentle exfoliation. Wash yours after every other use (yes, that means every day!) and replace them every few years.
Skincare layering is an incredible way to supercharge your routine by injecting (not literally, of course!) extra hydration, antioxidant protection, strengthening or acne-fighting ingredients into your skin without too much hassle.
But if you’re going to do it, you need to get your order right.
The general rule is that your thinnest products should be applied first, with the thickest, most dense-feeling products going last. This means the order goes as follows: cleanser, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturizer, facial oil and sunscreen.
Another important thing to remember is not to bombard your skin with every AHA, BHA, retinol and vitamin C product you can get your hands on. These are all potent ingredients that can quickly overload your skin, resulting in redness, dryness, excess oils and/or irritation. Take it easy and apply just one serum at a time. Of course, you might want to invest in two or three to tackle different concerns and that’s fine. In fact we love the combination of Vitamin C Facial Serum and Retinol Facial Serum. But we never use them both at once. Instead, apply them on alternate days, or try one in the morning and one at night.
Wear Sunglasses Every Day
OK, so this isn't strictly a skincare tweak, but sunglasses are an awesome way to protect the skin around your eyes from aging up lightning fast, so we’re going with it. Plus it’s easy, stylish and chances are you have a few pairs of sunnies anyway – so why not make the most of them by wearing them even on cloudy days?
The skin around your eyes is thinner and more fragile than the rest of your face which means it’s less able to protect itself from the damaging rays from the sun. And the sun is always there – rain or shine – so protection shouldn't be kept aside for sunny days only.
Shield your eyes every time you go outside with sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection. Go for plastic instead of metal frames to avoid reflecting damaging sunlight onto your cheeks, and choose mirrored over tinted lenses as these are more effective at blocking out those nasty rays.
Trust us, this is an awesome way to help ward off the visible signs of aging around your eyes. Plus, if you combine it with a daily eye treatment like Peptide Eye Gel you’ll be laughing.Acne
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Feel like your skincare routine isn’t quite cutting it? Here’s how to make it work harder… and better.
Skincare is a fine art and, while it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to moisturize your face, knowing the finer details that help maximize a product’s potential can result in some major differences to the look, feel and health of your skin.
Here’s how to kick-start your routine into doing the best job it can for your skin.
Rule #1: Always Read Your Labels
Are you guilty of buying a new product and using it right away without so much as glancing at the label? Big mistake. Sure, you might have spent the last 30 years cleansing your face with zero issues because, come on, how difficult can it be? But it’s worth bearing in mind that not all products are created equal. Some cleansers are formulated to be used without water, others are meant to be applied to damp skin and massaged into your skin for few minutes. And how do you know which is which if you've not read the fine print?
Reading the instructions is super important and will help you get the most from each and every product in your routine. It’ll help guide you in terms of how often to apply as well as how much to apply. So do it. No arguments.
Rule #2: Use Your Products In The Correct Order
This is another one that might sound obvious, but gone are the days when skincare routines were basically cleanse, tone, moisturize… and you’re done. Now there are tinctures, oils, essences, serums, gels, lotions, and all sorts to get your head around. And if you apply them in the wrong order, then they might not work correctly. Money. Down. The. Drain.
The general rule of thumb when it comes to layering skincare formulations is to cleanse and tone first (obvs) then work from your thinnest to your thickest product. The simple fact is that thinner products aren’t able to penetrate through the thicker stuff so you need to build up to the big guys. This means that after toning, you should apply your serum first, then your eye treatment, moisturizer, face oil and finally – in the mornings anyway – sunscreen. Of course, your specific regimen doesn’t need to include each and every one of these steps, but if it does, then this should be your order if you want to get the best results.
Rule #3: Apply Your Treatments To Damp Skin
To turn up the efficacy of your products, full throttle, always apply your first treatment product to moistened skin. This could be an exfoliating toner such as Ocean Minerals Super Toner or an antioxidant serum like our new Peptide Facial Serum. But whatever it is, try to apply it within the first minute of cleansing. The reason for this is that damp skin is more permeable than dry skin which makes it far more receptive to active ingredients like vitamin C, glycolic acid, MSM and peptides.
Gently pat your skin with a clean towel after cleansing so just a small amount of water is left on the surface, then, using fingertips, apply your treatment product all over your face and neck. Simple, but super effective.
This being said, there is one exception to the rule, and that’s to avoid doing this if you have skin that’s particularly sensitive to certain ingredients like retinol. Retinol is a potent (but awesome) little beast that can easily irritate sensitive skin. So if you apply it to damp skin you could exacerbate these irritations. Instead, apply it to dry skin, after patch testing first, and you'll likely get along with it way better.
Rule #4: Know That A Serum Is The Absolute Key For Targeting Skin Concerns
Facial serums might not be absolutely essential for clean, moisturized skin but if you really care about your complexion and the rate at which it ages, facial serums are everything. The bare minimum skincare routine is, of course, cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. But if you have concerns like acne, blocked pores, fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, sagging skin and the like, and you want to really target them with your skincare, you simply HAVE to include a serum (or two) in your daily routine.
Serums are formulated differently to moisturizers and have a smaller molecular structure. This means they’re able to penetrate the surface of your skin quicker and deeper to hone in on your particular skin gripes. Getting really peeved by dull, patchy skin? Then a moisturizer is essential, for sure, but it will never give you the same results as an antioxidant treatment serum like our best-selling Vitamin C Facial Serum.
Not sure where to start with choosing the right serum for your needs? Not a problem. Check out our helpful guide right here. And remember that important order: serum comes after cleansing and toning, and before moisturizing. Always.
Rule #5: Understand The Importance Of An Awesome Nighttime Routine
Your morning routine is great for waking up your skin, replacing lost moisture and preparing yourself for the day ahead, but overnight is when the real business happens so it’s vital to prepare your skin for eight hours’ worth of healing, regenerating and repairing time before you hit the sack.
At night, blood flow to your skin increases, collagen production speeds up, cell turnover accelerates, free radicals get nixed by your body’s natural defense system and your skin’s barrier function works hard to restore itself. All good stuff, we think you’ll agree. But how can all this happen if your skin is covered in crud that’s built up on the surface during the day? Well, it can’t. Not properly, anyway. So you simply have to cleanse properly with a gentle but effective face wash before bed. We have three awesome cleansers to choose from depending on your skin type and needs – check them out here. Then, after cleansing, apply a collagen-boosting treatment serum like Retinol Facial Serum followed by Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream to help seal in moisture.
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Say hello to the latest powerhouses for hydrated, healthy skin. And yes, as their name suggests, they’re just like Gatorade for your skin. Well, kinda…
Some skincare ingredients come and go lightning fast. Especially when they’re all talk, no action! Some, however, are built to totally stand the test of time. Think retinol, vitamin C, vitamin E and exfoliating acids like glycolic and salicylic which are all awesome examples of tried and tested ingredients that are loved the world over. Because, of course, they work.
When it comes to hydration we’re sure you’re well aware of some of the most successful and commonly used moisture-magnets used in skincare formulations. Yes, here’s looking at you hyaluronic acid, glycerin and aloe vera. But, while incredibly effective at getting the job done, these are not, contrary to popular opinion, the be-all and end-all.
Enter electrolytes which are pipped to be the new, long-lasting darlings of skincare ingredients.
But first, let’s revisit skin hydration for a hot minute – because we know it can all get a little confusing…
What Is Skin Hydration?
Hydration is simply about the levels of water in your skin. But here’s the thing; hydration has nothing to do with dryness.
Allow us to elaborate. As you may know, there are four true skin types which are categorized not by their levels of water, but by the activity of your skin’s sebaceous glands and their ability to successfully (or not) moisturize your skin with sebum (oil). These skin types are normal, dry, oily and combination. While your skin can certainly change over the years, your skin type is the one you were born with and it’s predetermined by your genes. In this sense, skin types are very different to skin conditions which are usually the result of lifestyle or environmental factors like your age, hormones, stress levels or the products you put on your skin.
OK, so how is this all linked to hydration? Well, dehydrated skin is skin that’s lacking in water (NOT oil) and is a condition rather than a skin type. Dehydration can be due to any number of reasons like cold weather, stress, lack of sleep and sun damage, but it's rarely a genetic disposition which means you can have dry skin that’s dehydrated, oily skin that’s dehydrated or, well, you see where we’re going here.
How Does Skin Naturally Stay Hydrated?
A healthy barrier function is the key to hydrated skin. This important protective layer not only pulls in water from the air, but also works hard to keep it there, creating a barrier to stop moisture from escaping from the surface of your skin. It does this thanks to its natural moisturizing factor (NMF) which is a combination of amino acids and humectants.
Pretty smart stuff, right? Indeed it is... Until it isn’t. You see the problems start as skin ages and is subject to years of UV radiation, harsh ingredients in skincare and personal care products, prolonged exposure to water, pollution and so on and so forth. All this works hard to compromise your barrier function and break down your NMF, resulting in all manner of unwanted issues – dehydration included.
And this is where help from quenching skincare ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin and, the newest kids on the block, electrolytes come to the rescue.
So, What Are Electrolytes?
Ok, here’s the science bit. Electrolytes are essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium which, when dissolved in water, conduct electricity – hence the name. In terms of your overall health electrolytes are vital for keeping you hydrated, balancing your body’s pH levels, rebuilding damaged tissue and regulating nerve and muscle function. They’re obtained mostly through a balanced, healthy diet and are abundant in things like fresh fruit and veggies.
You lose electrolytes through sweat (as well as urine, diarrhea and vomiting) which is why many athletes or people who exercise intensely replace them with sports drinks.
And What’s The Deal With Electrolytes In Skincare?
When it comes to skincare, applying electrolytes topically has the same moisture-quenching benefits. Their electoral charge helps drive water into the skin and retain essential moisture, while simultaneously giving energy to other hydrators and active ingredients, delivering them to exactly where they’re needed most. The result? Hydrated, plump, soft and most importantly, healthier skin.
Of course, electrolytes need water in order to work, so it’s important to choose the right water-based formulas for effective results.
And have we got just the thing in the form of our brand new Multi-Vitamin Facial Serum. Containing a special electrolyte blend of magnesium, potassium and calcium to hydrate your skin with a capital ‘h’, this all-in-one serum is also chock-full of water-binding hyaluronic acid, glycerin and aloe. But it doesn’t stop there. It’s also brimming with a mighty seven skin-loving vitamins to protect, strengthen, brighten, soothe, restore and replenish your skin so it continues to look its absolute best.
Already becoming a big hit with TruSkin fans, this lightweight serum is ideal for all skin types but we're finding it to be particularly effective for dull, dry, sensitive or dehydrated skin.
Are electrolytes the future for skincare? Who knows? But what we do know is they’re pretty dreamy for hydrating the skin and helping the rest of your routine perform better.
And, we don’t know about you, but we’re All. Over. That.Skincare
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It’s time to celebrate all those awesome women in your life with facials, fun and maybe even a tipple (or two!) of your choice…
Galentine’s Day is just around the corner (February 13 in case you didn’t know!) and we firmly believe this is the perfect excuse to gather your besties and host a pampering get-together to celebrate.
Any excuse, right? ;)
Here’s how to transform a regular girls’ night in into something a little bit special – for your skin and your soul…
First, Do Your Prep Work
Preparation is key for a successful spa night, so start as you mean to go on by creating the right vibe for a relaxing, but fun evening. Here are a few tried and tested tips we’ve honed over the years…
1. Keep It Small. We believe an intimate do is better than a full-on party for this kind of get-together, so invite somewhere between one and five fabulous people to celebrate with.
2. No Need For Formalities. Do away with stuffy invites. Instead, send your guests a funny gif or selfie alongside a few words about what you’re planning – plus where and when it’s going to happen, of course.
3. Comfort Values. Make sure your girls come dressed in comfy loungewear or better yet, fluffy robes and slippers. And have a lovely clean stack of white towels ready for everyone to use.
4. Candles Are Everything. What type of spa are you creating if you don’t have a few of your favorite scented candles lit around the house? You could also spritz your home with a little aromatherapy spray or arrange some gorgeous flowers for the center of the room.
5. Feel The Music. If you have time, create an awesome playlist beforehand. Think about the type of music you and your peeps love; maybe some tunes that bring back fond memories. As long as it puts you all in a happy place, that’s good enough for us.
6. Lovely Libations. While this gathering is more about pampering than eating and drinking, a few snacks and a couple of bottles of bubbles are great for getting the party started. If you’re feeling adventurous you could even create and name a cocktail in honor of the night! Coconut water, pineapple, cucumber and berries are all great for your skin so something that incorporates one or more of these ingredients is going to be a real winner.
And For The Main Event
Once everyone’s arrived and you’ve had time to have a good chat/nibble/sip, let’s do some facials, shall we? Facials are so easy to do and everyone’s skin can benefit from a little love – whether it’s dry, dehydrated, oily or just plain exhausted.
To start, place a few different cleansing options around the bathroom sink, pile up those fluffy towels and give everyone time to thoroughly wash their skin. We have three awesome cleansers to suit most skin types, and all of them work even better if you spend time giving yourself a facial massage. Not convinced your gal group is clued up on that kind of thing? Not a problem. Be an incredible host and show them how it’s done!
Moisten your skin with lukewarm water first, then apply a dime-sized amount of cleanser (Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser is a great all-rounder for clear, healthy skin) all over your face and neck. Next, use your hands and the pads of your fingers to really work it in to your skin. Avoid tugging at the skin (especially around your eyes), but pay special attention to your jawline, around the nose and up along your cheekbones. This helps boost circulation to bring fresh oxygen to the surface of your skin while draining away unwanted toxins.
Steaming & Face Mask Time
Next, give your ladies the option of steaming their face or relaxing with a face mask – or both! Steaming is excellent for increasing blood flow, loosening excess oils and clearing the pores. But it’s not for everyone and is best avoided if anyone has dry, sensitive skin; are prone to facial flushing or have existing conditions such as rosacea or eczema.
That being said, fill some bowls with hot, but not boiling water for those who wants to get involved. You could also add some essential oils like lavender, chamomile or geranium. Then give everyone a towel to cover their heads while hovering their faces about 12 inches above the water for 10 minutes. The rest of the team can relax with a face mask of their choice. Or pour drinks. Or just kick back and chill – no pressure!
When you’re done, sweep a reusable makeup pad over your face to remove any loosened dirt and debris, then spritz your skin with Rose Water Refreshing Facial Toner to hydrate and soothe or try Ocean Minerals Super Toner to boost cell turnover and power up the skin with vitamins and minerals.
Impress With A Serum Bar
Moisturizer is the only way to finish your facial, but before that comes a very important step in anyone’s skincare routine: the mighty serum. Your gal pals will probably have a favorite serum up their sleeves – and by all means, they’re welcome to bring theirs, especially if they have sensitive or reactive skin – but you could also create a cool serum bar showcasing our awesome collection of eight serums. With everything from the classic Vitamin C Facial Serum to our brand new Multi-Vitamin Facial Serum, we’re proud to be able to offer something for everyone. They also look super cute when lined up next to each other on a glass tray or your bathroom shelf.
And we know that’s not important in the grand scheme of things. But still…
Apply just a couple of drops of your favorite serum to your face and neck, patting it gently into your skin rather than rubbing it too vigorously. Then wait a few seconds before finishing with Vitamin C Deep Hydration Night Cream.
To end the evening, light a fire (unless it’s 80 degrees outside, then don’t do that!), grab some blankets (ditto!) and curl up together with one of your favorite chick flicks.
What could be better?Skincare Tips
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