THE SKIN STRUCTURE
The skin is the body’s largest organ and acts as a protective barrier from the external environment.
It is composed of multiple layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous tissues. The outermost layer or ‘epidermis’ is formed mainly of dead skin cells; at its base is an important cell barrier that prevents most things from penetrating below it – this is one of the body’s principle layers of defence. Below the epidermal layers lies the dermis, which is rich in proteins such as collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans, such as hyaluronic acid. These molecules are the main components of what is called the extracellular matrix and are secreted by cells called fibroblasts which live within the dermis.
Collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid nourish the skin from the inside. Collagen and elastin are proteins which are responsible for skin support, firmness and elasticity – they create a sort of flexible scaffolding. Hyaluronic acid is important for the hydration of the skin and keeps it plump, toned and radiant.
THE AGEING PROCESS
Skin ageing is a complex biological process that is genetically determined and influenced by external factors including sun exposure (UV damage), smoking, alcohol, poor diet, environmental pollution and stress.
With age, the skin gradually loses its key components - collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, a water-retaining molecule. As a consequence, the skin becomes thinner, drier and more rigid, and lines and furrows emerge.
Furthermore, with age, the skin wound healing process takes longer, mainly because the cellular renewal is slower.
In addition, the skin’s ability to deal with the damaging action of free radicals also declines and this results in an increased cell damage. Free radicals are charged chemical particles of oxygen that enter into destructive chemical bonds with organic substances, such as proteins, lipids and DNA. These are produced as a result of the effects of the external environment (air pollution and sun radiation) and internal cellular metabolism.
THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLAGEN
Collagen accounts for 80% of skin composition and is also found in joint cartilage and bones. Collagen confers structural support and integrity to the skin. Collagen in the skin is naturally produced by the fibroblasts present in the dermis. However, from the age of 25-30, the ability to replenish collagen decreases by approximately 1.5% per year. As a consequence, skin loses volume and firmness, starts to wrinkle and becomes more fragile. The reduction in collagen production also results in the loss of hyaluronic acid (a molecule that binds with water), further impacting on the hydration and suppleness of the skin.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ELASTIN
Along with collagen, elastin is a key structural component of the extracellular matrix (the material secreted by the cells in the dermis) and the ratio between these two proteins influences the normal function of the skin. Although elastin comprises only about 2% of the total protein in dermis, it is physiologically important to provide skin elasticity and flexibility. As a result of the natural ageing and photo-ageing (induced by sun exposure) processes, elastin biosynthesis slows down and the existing elastic fibres degrade. These changes in elastin can induce loss in skin elasticity, an increase in wrinkles and fine lines and sagging of the skin.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Skin is capable of counteracting the action of free radicals through efficient antioxidant defense mechanisms. Unfortunately, these processes weaken with time and can be overwhelmed by the increased production of molecules called ‘ROS’ (reactive oxygen species) One important approach to prevent or treat ROS-mediated skin damage is based on the administration of antioxidants.
GOLD COLLAGEN® RX is a nutricosmeceutical supplement containing an advanced patented complex (made up of hydrolysed collagen, hyaluronic acid, borage oil and N-acetylclucosamine) together with a combination of hydrolysed elastin and potent antioxidants that represent a powerful tool to slow down the ageing process. Furthermore, dietary intake of astaxanthin, a natural carotenoid and the most powerful antioxidant found in nature, combined with collagen hydrolysate can improve elasticity and barrier integrity in photo-aged skin.
The science behind advanced skincare
Collagen is a large protein, comprising of long chains of amino acids that form a triple helix structure. It is not easily digestible or absorbed and, if applied topically, its effects are limited to the skin surface. Oral intake of hydrolysed collagen, which consists of small collagen fragments with low molecular weight called peptides, represents an effective solution to this problem. Scientific studies have shown that these collagen peptides have high biological activity and when administered orally they reach the small intestine and are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Through the circulatory system, the collagen peptides are widely distributed in the human body and to the skin (dermis) where they can remain for up to 14 days. GOLD COLLAGEN® RX contains the highest quality bioactive collagen peptides extracted from farmed Tilapia fish. They are certified as fit for human consumption and guaranteed by health certificates signed by official veterinarians. Bioactive collagen peptides can act with a double mechanism:
- Stimulating the proliferation of fibroblasts, which in turn are responsible for the production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid;
- Providing the building blocks for the formation of new collagen and elastin fibres.
As a result, by increasing the number of fibroblasts and their activity, it is possible to increase the levels of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid in the dermis. Numerous clinical trials have been performed in many academic centres around the world proving the efficacy and benefits of collagen peptides on skin properties, such as increase in hydration, elasticity and reduction of wrinkles. Therefore, hydrolysed collagen can be considered an important ally in your daily skincare routine.
Ingestion of hydrolysed elastin significantly improves skin elasticity and the appearance of wrinkles. Moreover, hydrolysed elastin derived from fish has been shown to significantly enhance proliferation of human skin fibroblasts and elastin synthesis and to act as a potent competitive inhibitor of the elastase enzyme, to protect elastin fibres, thus restoring the elastic fibre network. GOLD COLLAGEN® RX contains hydrolysed elastin, which is extracted from selected fish skin by enzymatic hydrolysis. It is formed by small elastin peptides, making it easily digestible. RX has been formulated to reflect the ratio of collagen and elastin found naturally within the skin and to promote skin resilience and healthy ageing.
BENEFITS OF RX ACTIVE INGREDIENTS
LIQUID SUPPLEMENTS VS TOPICAL CREAMS OR COLLAGEN TABLETS
Many topical products such as creams, lotions and serums that contain collagen are unable to reach the dermis. This is because this protein has a large molecular size and cannot penetrate the skin’s natural protective barrier.
The oral intake of skincare products which contain bioactive collagen peptides is therefore more effective as these molecules do not need to penetrate the epidermis. The liquid form allows the effective delivery of large quantities of active ingredients. The active ingredients are ingested, absorbed by the body and distributed to the dermis via the bloodstream. At MINERVA Research Labs, our doctors and scientists have formulated hydrolysed collagen-based products as a liquid supplement instead of collagen tablets or pills. The liquid format it is easier to consume and more readily absorbed by the body. The bioavailability of the active ingredients is therefore higher than a tablet or pill.
A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study was conducted by an independent Clinical Research Organization on 108 healthy subjects taking either a product containing our European patented complex or a placebo for 9 weeks. A statistically significant increase in skin hydration was measured after 6 weeks of supplementation with the product. This increase was still significant after 9 weeks, while in the placebo group no significant change was observed.
An open label multi-centre study was carried out by 40 independent dermatologists on 265 healthy volunteer subjects taking a product containing our European patented complex daily for 60 days. Some of the subjects underwent a cosmetic procedure. At the end of the study a comparable statistically significant reduction in nasolabial folds was reported both in those subjects who underwent an aesthetic treatment and those who did not (30% vs 32% of reduction)
Histological examinations of skin biopsies from subjects who were taking the product showed a reduction of inflammation, solar elastosis and hyperkeratosis and the absence of dysplasia at the end of the treatment. An improvement in collagen structural architecture within the dermis (increase in the fibre width and parallel collagen running fibres) was also observed. These changes were clearly visible also in the photographic records of the subjects’ face before and after the supplementation with the product.
Several independent clinical trials now published in scientific peer-reviewed journals have shown that daily consumption of GOLD COLLAGEN® products induces visible and significant benefits on skin properties, such as hydration and elasticity, and clinically measurable improvements in the appearance of wrinkles, photo-damage and skin architecture. Moreover, systemic treatment with GOLD COLLAGEN® products can enhance the results of aesthetic procedures. These results are obtained thanks to the presence of unique ingredients specific to each product together with our advanced patented complex, which is contained in all of our GOLD COLLAGEN® products (including GOLD COLLAGEN® Rx).