It's difficult to overestimate the importance of collagen when it comes to healthy skin -- collagen makes up about a quarter of your body's total protein content, lending itself to skin, hair, bones, tendons and internal organs. Collagen adds structure to the skin, giving it elasticity and plumpness. While you can bolster your collagen intake with foods like water-rich veggies, fish and soy, you can also turn to a collagen mask to keep your skin looking youthful.
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A Boost of Collagen
By around age 30, your skin loses roughly 1.5 percent of its natural collagen stores; by 40, it loses about 15 percent. With less collagen, you skin becomes thinner, less elastic and less supple, leading to wrinkles, sagging and a rougher texture. By boosting your skin's collagen content and slowing the rate of collagen depletion, collagen masks potentially reduce fine lines and wrinkles, promote smoother skin texture and help restore or maintain your skin's elasticity.
In addition to helping restore your skin's structure, collagen masks aim to hydrate the skin. While collagen itself makes for a more supple texture, additional ingredients in off-the-shelf collagen masks also work as moisturizers. Common examples of moisturizing ingredients in off-the-shelf collagen masks include the berry-derived sorbitol, aloe-vera extracts, vitamin C and natural oils -- think jojoba, olive and rose oils.
Better With a Mask
While you can find collagen in foods, lotions, creams and gels, collagen masks offer their own distinct benefits. Karen Asquith, of G.M. Collin skin-care products, notes that because masks cover a great deal of the skin's surface, they offer better penetration of active ingredients than other topical solutions. Likewise, the drying action of the mask tightens the skin, making for an instant, though temporary, face lift.
With regular application -- about two to three times weekly -- collagen masks can also help ward off skin-damaging free radicals and minimize the appearance of pores, according to the cosmetics manufacturers at LAC Taut. Naturally, additional ingredients in collagen masks offer additional benefits, such as inflammation-soothing oatmeal, pore-cleansing kaolin or antibacterial zinc oxide. Facial masks also give you a quick chance to relax, and sometimes feature soothing fragrances.