Never mind Gen X and Gen Y, the only 'gen' that has any currency today is collagen. Integral to the continued health and vitality of your skin, you’ll recognise this all-important protein from its appearances in cosmetic surgery, medical info and – if you were paying attention – A-level Biology.
Just in case you need a quick refresher, here's a small breakdown.
What is collagen?
In essence, it’s the glue that binds our skin together. And, as dermatologists unpick our diets and routines with forensic eyes, we’re advised to bring it into our lives in ever-increasing volumes. Victoria Beckham, for one, pinpoints a diet rich in collagen-rich salmon as the solution to her skin complaints.
Where can I find collagen?
If you’ll excuse the expression, collagen is found in the depths of our own ‘meat’ - namely, the hair, skin, nails, bones and ligaments. As a result, foodstuffs such as beef and fish also rank as some of the richest sources available.
So what’s the skin-savvy vegan to do?
Should you be one of the increasing numbers to live a vegan lifestyle, then it can become difficult to ingest enough of this key amino acid. But, don't panic, there are plenty of paths you can take.
Your body is quite capable of creating its own collagen when provided with the right building blocks. These take the form of the different nutrients and vitamins that you should ingest as part of a balanced diet. Look out for foods that are high in glycine, lysine and proline - the three amino acids that are most abundant in collagen - and stock up on the likes of kidney beans, chia seeds, cashews, pistachios and peanuts.
And now, for the fun stuff...
Of course, this being a beauty and grooming site, we've also had our eyes on a few topical solutions: vegan-friendly, over-the-counter (or, better still, over the internet) formulas that allow you to support and stimulate the collagen in tired areas that need a little lift. Here's our rundown of a few favourites.
Collagen is the star of the show in this cream, accentuated by a supporting cast of japonica seed, sunflower seed and rice bran, along with a generous dose of vitamin C. A skin care nut's dream, in other words.
This breakthrough formula from Algenist fuses plant-based collagen with microalgae beads, forming a blend that's every bit as innovative and potent as it sounds. The amino acids within mimic the behaviour of bona fide collagen, providing aged, protein-depleted skin with an ethical, undeniably effective restorative.
Supplementing collagen loss is made easy with these KIKI Health food supplements. This purified, hydrolysed collagen helps strengthen skin structure and improve elasticity, thanks to its high protein count.
There is, additionally, something of a backdoor route to increased collagen: vitamin C. Ever since it was used to keep transoceanic sailors from contracting scurvy, this miracle vitamin has been a keystone of modern health and beauty trends. As one of the few animals who do not create our own vitamin C, us humans have to look to a diet rich in kakadu plums and sea buckthorn or, more realistically, broccoli and citrus fruits. At the same time, there's no shortage of vitamin C formulas on the market, and these are of particular interest to the collagen-keen.
So for that reason we've included a bonus formula, one that helps set the tone for more elasticised, healthier skin...
The award-winning formula combines three forms of vitamin C - pineapple juice, pure ascorbic acid and stable 3-O-ethyl ascorbic acid - enabling a much more efficient exposure of the key ingredient. This innovative blend of ingredients helps reduce the appearance of dark spots, uneven skin tone and scarring.
How to summarise vegan collagen? Well, it doesn't, in the strictest sense, exist. At least not in a format readily available to you and I.
But it's undeniable that the cosmetic and lifestyle worlds have collided to provide dedicated vegans with a vast array of ways to support and boost their bodies' own supplies of this dermatological keystone.
Elsewhere on our site, discover an entirely vegan beauty routine , or else unearth the cosmetic benefits of coenzyme Q10, another super-ingredient that can revolutionise the health and vitality of your skin.
Written by Alex Bryson
Alex has over six years of experience as a writer. He demonstrates exceptional grooming knowledge and has a natural skill for following current trends.