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Collagen is a protein complex that occurs naturally in the body. It can also be taken orally, injected and applied topically as a supplement. Internally, collagen benefits include improved joint health and increased muscle mass. Externally, collagen benefits the skin by reducing the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and hyper-pigmentation.
When taken as a supplement, collagen benefits the joints. The body produces fluid around the joints to help them move freely, but as the body ages, the amount of fluid decreases, which can cause pain when the joint is flexed. Collagen supplements can help increase the amount of fluid around the joints, allowing them to move more freely.
Protein helps muscle grow and develop. Body builders and others looking to increase their muscle mass, take protein supplements in the form of capsules or shakes. Several popular weight and muscle gain products contain collagen because it is a protein complex that contains different amino acids.
Dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons use collagen in the treatment of scars. Acne, for instance, often leaves deep pitted scares on the face. Injecting a mixture of collagen directly into the skin around the scar helps raise the depression, making the scar less noticeable. The treatment, known as a tissue filler, has only a temporary effect, and the scar will return to its original condition after a few months.
Another popular cosmetic procedure is lip plumping. Cosmetic surgeons have found that injecting collagen directly into the lips increases their size. The small increase gives the lips a fuller, healthier appearance. This procedure is also temporary and later treatments are required to maintain the effect.
Topical treatments containing collagen also help reduce the signs of aging. As skin ages, it loses elasticity. This can make the skin wrinkle, sag, or appear dull. Applying collagen directly to the surface may smooth skin and increase firmness. Many lotions and face creams, especially those designed for overly dry or aging skin, contain collagen as an active ingredient,
Collagen benefits also extend to the hair and nails. A body’s hair and nails go through regular cycles that include both a growth and dormant period. Improper nutrition or poor health can extend the dormant period, keeping the hair and nails from growing or causing damage in the new growth. Collagen can help spur growth of the hair and nails and help keep them in a healthy condition.