Debunking Misconceptions: Is There Plant Based Collagen?

Collagen has long been a popular yet contested ingredient for products that promote youthful skin. Because collagen is a protein produced solely by animals and primarily derived from the muscle, tendon, and cartilage of livestock, it has been historically denounced by those hoping to lead a cruelty free and plant based lifestyle. However, it’s a misconception that collagen-like substances can only be derived from animals and fortunately there are many newly formulated plant based collagens that Essentique is proud to utilize in it’s products such as Bloom toner and Lumin8 cleansing oil.  

Before we get into the science of plant based collagens, I’m sure you have seen the word “collagen” listed on the ingredient label of various beauty supplements and products but let’s fully understand what it actually is. Collagen is a protein that makes up a majority of the connective tissue in your body. Such tissue includes your skin, bones, muscles, tendons, and joints. Collagen makes up 30% of all our body’s protein as well as 70% of all the protein in our skin. This means collagen not only helps maintain a youthful appearance by building elasticity and plumpness in our skin, but is also crucial to maintaining overall health.

Our body naturally produces collagen, but as we age, we break down our natural collagen faster than we can replace it. This contributes to the majority of the aging seen in the skin and results in weaker connective tissue. In the dermal layer of the skin, animal fibroblast cells use Vitamin C, minerals, and amino acids found in the plant products they consume to build collagen. Since all the necessary products to make collagen are found in plants, scientists have been able to break down products such as soy, hemp, and pea protein to isolate certain amino acids and reassemble them to mimic the collagen that animals produce. Therefore, this collagen substitute is now plant based because it is a combination of a huge mixing pot of various plant derived molecules that create an amino acid structure similar enough to animal collagen so that it can have the same functions. 

Now that vegetable collagen has been created, the big question is: does it work? A comparison study put Vegetable Collagen (derived from zea mays, triticum aestivum & glycine max) up against Soluble Collagen (animal-derived). The two proteins were placed in a humidity chamber and were tested every 2 weeks over a 16 week period to gauge their ability to take in moisture. The results suggest vegetable collagen has a better moisturizing effect when compared to 1% soluble collagen. 

Next time you see vegetable collagen listed as one of the ingredients on Essentique’s products, hopefully you’ll remember that the protein is a collagen substitute made up of plant product that mimics the effects of animal collagen. Although plant collagen is not real collagen, it has a protein structure extremely similar to animal collagen so that it can still absorb moisture and help build strong and youthful tissues and skin. We take in pride in including high quality ingredients that are all natural and don’t contribute harmful or unsavory practices that are often used to extract animal collagen. With products like Bloom and Lumin8 you can rest easy knowing you are avoiding animal derived ingredients while also using quality collagen that produces results. 

By Rojean Janzad

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