What is collagen?
Collagen is a highly versatile, fibrous and insoluble structural protein that is found abundantly in the human body. It is composed of amino acid chains that are coiled together into triple helices. More often than not, 2 of the amino acid chains share the same chemical composition while the remaining third chain consists of a slightly different formulation. Not only is collagen the building blocks of soft yet elastic skin, it is also a fundamental component of strong bones. The varying range of mechanical strength all lies on the degree of mineralisation of collagen tissues. In the skin, collagen helps to form the strong scaffolding for other cells like elastin fibres and hyaluronic acid. The skin is at its healthiest when high-quality collagen fibres are constantly produced by the body.
What are collagen masks?
Masks are skincare products that are usually applied on the face for about 10 to 15 minutes to quickly yet effectively deep-condition the skin. Collagen masks are simply face masks rich in collagen and other anti-ageing ingredients like hyaluronic acid. In its natural state, collagen molecules are too big to even be absorbed into the skin; however, a good quality collagen face mask is made of hydrolysed and stabilised collagen molecules. These collagen face masks are then able to deliver nano-collagen particles into the dermis layer of the skin that may help stimulate the production of naturally-occurring collagen fibres. Collagen masks are also designed to address various under-eye aesthetic problems like puffiness and darkness. Since the tear trough region is very delicate, collagen eye masks should not contain highly concentrated ingredients or irritants like perfume that may aggravate the under-eye. These collagen masks help to subtly fill fine lines under the skin while reducing the severity of under-eye darkness. Besides that, collagen masks for the lips are also available on the market. Not only do they help to instantly hydrate parched lips, collagen lip masks also temporarily plump lips for a sensuous appearance, albeit not as drastically as lip fillers. For best results, patients are advised to gently exfoliate their skin before they apply any of the collagen masks. They should also apply the masks for the recommended time only. Failure to do so might result in skin irritation. Patients should read the ingredients list thoroughly before using the masks to reduce the risk of allergies or inflammations.
What are some alternative skincare ingredients?
Besides collagen, patients are encouraged to look for other ingredients that will nourish and protect the skin from damage. Retinol is a type of vitamin A derivative that helps to speed up cellular growth and repair of collagen fibres. It comes in various forms (e.g. serum, cream, etc.) to suit various skin types. Besides retinol, patients can also find masks enriched with vitamins C and E. These 2 antioxidants help to shield the skin from highly reactive toxins.