Beauty cosmetics? Now they are supplements, Part 1 collagen and beta carotene

Beauty, luminous, elastic, sun protected and smooth skin thanks to supplements taken by mouth, today we’ll see the properties and the effects of collagen and beta carotene.
Cosmetics have very ancient origin and arise from the need to protect the body and guarantee hygiene. You should think, for example, to ancient Egyptians who used eye makeup to protect the eyes from the infections due to warm weather. Over time cosmetics have changed and their main result has become the aesthetics, however, in the last years, scientists are focusing their attention to the connection between body health and skin. In particular, the latest frontiers in cosmetics are paving the way to the intake of substances taken through a healthy diet or supplements in order to obtain beneficial effects on health and appearance of the skin. A few months ago a review was released in the International Journal of Molecular Science (Vollmer et al, Oct 2018), The work analyzes the past researches in order to understand the benefits of particular supplements to counteract skin aging from the inside by making the skin luminous and by fighting wrinkle formation. Let’s see better in detail.

Collagen

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and can be found in the layers of the skin but also in bones, tendons, cartilages and blood vessels, it guarantees elasticity, tone and structure. During years and because of sun damages the collagen tends to decrease thus causing the wrinkle formation. There are several face creams enriched with collagen but you can also find collagen-based supplements. This type of collagen has a synthetic origin or is obtained from a plant based or animal, such as fish or bovine, source. The most used collagen is that extracted from marine organisms. There are different studies that show the effectiveness of collagen as a supplement in order to counteract dry skin, wrinkles and skin aging and to improve elasticity, hydration and the microcirculation (Matsumoto et al, ITE Lett, 2006 – Schwartz et al, Clin Interv Aging, Jul 2012). In the supplements the collagen is in the hydrolyzed form to improve the absorption, and often it is proposed together with hyaluronic acid for a powerful anti wrinkle action. Avoid to take this supplement during pregnancy and breastfeeding and ask your doctor for advice if you are taking medicines in order to avoid interactions. Finally, be informed about the source of collagen and avoid, if possible, the bovine based collagen because there is the suspect that the substance obtained from these animals may cause illnesses.

Beta Carotene

The carotenoids are a class of more than 700 pigments contained in fruits and vegetables, one of this pigment is the beta carotene that isn’t produced by the body but should be integrated with diet, for example carrots, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potatoes and turnip greens, and with supplements. The beta carotene is an antioxidant and for this reason its role isn’t just limited to the skin, by protecting it from aging, cancers and the sun damages, but it counteracts also the free radicals and the inflammations in body. Although this supplement is taken by mouth, the beta carotene is able to reach the skin by increasing its levels of carotenoids and this integration is useful to soothe and heal photo aging and rashes caused by sun rays (Heinrich et al, J Nutr, Jan 2003). In comparison with topical applications of face creams and serums enriched with beta carotene, taking this substance orally has the advantage that the pigment is stored in the body and slowly released when it is needed. When the cream with beta carotene is applied instead these substances remain on skin layers just for a short period of time (Darvin et al, J Dermatol Sci, Oct 2011).
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