Our skin is an incredible living organ that constantly regenerates itself by replacing dead cells.
From a structural perspective, our skin is made up of multiple layers, each with different types of cells. We constantly shed cells on the outer layer (the epidermis), which are replaced with new cells, while the skin cells under the epidermis tend to have a lower turnover rate.
These lower layers – the dermis and sub-dermis – consist of elastic connective tissues, fibres, blood vessels and various other components that can stretch or contract.
The dermis makes up roughly 90% of the skin’s thickness and its elastic fibre and collagen composition helps to retain the skin’s shape and tautness.
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The stretching and sagging saga
Factors such as age, poor nutrition, dehydration, excessive sun exposure, smoking and weight loss (especially when it happens rapidly) causes skin to lose its structural integrity and elasticity.
In particular, the dermis can lose its elasticity or tear when placed under severe stress, which can lead to saggy skin and stretch marks. This can occur due to excessive weight gain, muscle growth, or during pregnancy.
Hormonal changes associated with puberty, pregnancy, exercise (mainly weight lifting) and hormone replacement therapy can also cause stretch marks.
The implicated hormones (called glucocorticoids) prevent the body from forming more of the collagen and elastin fibres that keep skin taut. This impacts the skin’s structural integrity and makes it easier for it to tear when placed under stress.
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Common problem areas
This pulling and stretching can happen anywhere on your body, but is more likely to occur in places that have larger fat deposits.
The most common places that experience loose skin or stretch marks include:
- Abdominal region, especially near the belly button
- Back of the upper arms
- Inner and outer thighs
- Hips and buttocks
Collagen to the rescue
Thankfully, there are treatments and products available that may help to reduce stretch marks and firm up loose skin.
Some of the most commonly used options include supplements and creams that provide or stimulate collagen growth and the formation of new elastin.
Collagen is a complex protein that makes up 30% of the body’s protein and contains 19 different amino acids, which are vital building blocks for tissues, including skin. From an aesthetic perspective, collagen helps to give our skin elasticity and firmness.
There are at least 28 different types of collagen. The most common are types 1 to 5, with type 1 the most plentiful, accounting for 90% of total collagen in our bodies. It is a vital form to create firm skin because it has a densely-packed fibre structure.
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Boost your skin routine
In supplement form, collagen peptides or hydrolysed collagen offer the most effective products for skin health.
For these reasons, consider adding the following supplements to your regular beauty regimen:
Biogen Collagen with Peptan®: Contains important type 1 Hydrolysed Collagen in the form of Peptan®, a high purity natural bioactive product containing more than 97% protein (on a dry weight basis), supplied in a form that your body can easily digest and use.
Biogen Collagen: Contains hydrolysed collagen, a form that has undergone a process called hydroxylation that breaks down collagen into peptides for optimal absorption. This collagen helps the body form new connective tissue, including skin, and also supports joint health.
Biogen Collagen Refresh Ready To Drink: Simplify your skincare approach with this convenient and incredibly tastysugar-free sparkling drink. Biogen Collagen Refresh contains 10 g of collagen in every can and is available in Blueberry & Pomegranate and Passion Fruit Coconut flavours.
RE NU Collagen & Skin capsules: An advanced nutricosmetics skin health supplement that helps to reduce the signs of ageing and maintain healthy radiant looking skin.
RE NU Beauty Glow shake: Revitalise and renew your skin from within with an advanced beauty cocktail that includes the Verisol® blend of Bioactive Collagen Peptides to improve skin elasticity and appearance, and reduce wrinkles and signs of ageing.
Author: Pedro van Gaalen
When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.