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October 10, 2019 7 min read

After I got a tattoo, my tattoo artist had quite a lot to say about my skincare in the following weeks. I needed to keep my tattoo covered for a couple of hours, but that was just the beginning of the healing process, which included keeping the area clean, moisturized, and most of all, away from the sun. And while all these turned out to be valid points, I wish I knew I could have done even more than just slap on some moisturizer and wear long sleeves.

For the tattoo to remain as vibrant and fresh as it is when it fully heals, as well as for it to heal properly in the first place, it is important to focus on the health and structure of your skin - and not just from the outside. Since you want to wear your ink proudly for the rest of your life, you need to invest not only in a good tattoo artist (seriously, don’t skip that part), but in your skin, too. Therefore, it is highly recommended for people who get tattooed to supplement with all-natural Collagen Peptides and nurture the skin from the inside, too.

What Is Collagen & Why Is It So Important for The Skin

Before we get into the actual tattooing process and the changes your skin experiences through it, it is important to grasp the immense role of collagen in the skin’s health, structure, and overall appearance.

Collagen, being the main insoluble fibrous protein, is massively present throughout the human body, including bones, cartilage, tendons, muscles, blood vessels, hair, nails, and of course - skin. Furthermore, well-balanced levels of collagen have also been linked to both physical and mental well-being, a study on functional collagen peptides finds.

Although collagen is a protein naturally manufactured from procollagen chains in our bodies, over the years it gets spent, and the battle with time is the one we cannot win. However, what we can do is make up for the depleted collagen and support natural collagen production by supplementing with non-GMO Collagen Peptides regularly.

According to a study conducted by C. Paul and colleagues, supplementing with a quality fat-free Collagen supplement grants an enhancement of collagen turnover in the entire body, as opposed to regular dietary sources. The same study supports this claim by highlighting the role of bioactive collagen peptides in stimulating cellular collagen synthesis, while also supplying the body with much-needed amino acids.

Collagen is a major structural skin componentaccounting for an impressive 70-80% of the dry weight of the entire skin, but as we’ve already mentioned, we’re not blessed with continuous collagen production, which leads to alterations in skin structure. Namely, according to a study on skin anti-aging strategies, the decrease in collagen levels results in significant changes in skin composition and appearance, manifested through dry skin and wrinkling.

In some cases, the structural integrity of the skin may be compromised due to a genetic factor, which may lead to accelerated aging. However, in other instances of premature skin aging, the skin has been experiencing overexposure to the sun, which has been shown to cause major changes in the dermis and a decrease in collagen synthesis - considered to be the key factor in skin aging.

Luckily, oral supplementation with soy-free Collagen Peptides has shown tremendous results when it comes to skin vitality and youthfulness, since it has been found to promote skin elasticity, moisture, and evaporation, a study conducted by Proksch E. et al. finds. Furthermore, Hydrolyzed Collagen Peptides powder has a twofold role in skin health, providing the skin with structure, while also supporting the natural collagen and elastin synthesis deep in the dermal layers. Finally, the importance of the protective activity of collagen shouldn’t be overlooked, as it has been shown to combat the harmful enzymes breaking down the natural collagen in the dermis.

The Tattoo Healing Process & Collagen’s Role In It

Tattooing is a process that has multiple meanings, depending on the historical period, culture, religion, and an individual’s beliefs. While in some traditions tattoos are generally frowned upon, it is safe to say that modern culture has not only embraced them, but taken them to the next level. As the tattooing process progressed, the very techniques underwent a number of changes. Nevertheless, tattoos are still permanent changes to the skin, and tattooing entails ink being injected into the deeper layer of the skin - hence the durability of the ink.

When it comes to tattoos, they, in fact, represent “injuries” to the skin, which basically means that your body’s healing capacity and immune response play a vital role in the actual tattoo healing. Therefore, if your body is currently going through another strenuous process (for instance, if you’re recovering from an injury or a medical condition), the healing of the tattoo may take some time. This just goes to show that tattoos, although mostly done for decorative purposes, still represent skin wounds that require special attention.

What you may not be aware of during the tattooing process is that your skin is experiencing hundreds of thousands of punctures, as the ink is being distributed into its layers. As we’ve already mentioned, a fully healed tattoo isn’t located in the epidermis, as it would cause it washing away in a matter of weeks, but quite the opposite - the tattoo actually exists within the dermis. And since we’ve already established that the composition of the skin is mainly collagen, its depletion is inevitable.

As the skin is experiencing these injuries, the immune system gets alarmed, calling for an inflammatory process, an article by Dr. C. Aguirre suggests. This is where the body commences the healing process, sending cells of the immune system called macrophages, unable to dispose of the pigment, which is how a permanent tattoo is created. Although the ink is distributed both in the epidermis and the dermis, the outer skin layer is eventually shed, revealing the actual tattoo. As tattooing is essentially a skin trauma, this area may be dry, itchy, red, and swollen for some time, which is completely individual.

As the collagen experiences damage during the tattooing process, it is repaired by fibroblasts creating scar tissue, which is physical proof of collagen impairment. Furthermore, tattoo ink, even when diluted, has been shown to negatively impact fibroblasts in the skin, which are the cells responsible for natural collagen production. In addition, a study on tattoo ink nanoparticles in skin tissue has found diluted tattoo ink to not only cause cell death, but jeopardize collagen synthesis. Therefore, in order to preserve healthy skin cells and support collagen synthesis on a cellular level, it is of high importance to regard tattoo healing as a process that requires both outer and inner care - primarily through nutrition and collagen supplementation.

Not only does collagen play a vital role in tattoo healing, but it is also one of the crucial factors in tattoo longevity. Taking proper care of your skin inside and out is pivotal when it comes to tattoo care, since any skin drying, sagging, or wrinkling will automatically jeopardize the quality of your ink.

According to a study focused on the effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on the dermal collagen network, nutrition represents the key factor in skin health, appearance, and overall physiology. When it comes to skin and nutrition, the previously mentioned study prioritizes hydrolyzed collagen peptides as the main source of amino acids highly beneficial to skin health, since these peptides are highly bioavailable and immune to further dissolution in the body.

Therefore, after having your tattoo done, it is of utmost importance to focus on your nutrition, in addition to your regular skincare. As far as nutrition choices during the tattoo healing process are concerned, make sure to remain hydrated in order to further promote the hydration of your skin. In addition, you’ll want to stack up on some fruits and vegetables, including oranges, blueberries, pineapples, and broccoli, packed with skin-loving vitamins and antioxidants.

Finally, when it comes to collagen supplementation for skin health, our recommendation is Marine Collagen since it is sustainable, clean-sourced, highly bioavailable, and abundant in Type I collagen which constitutes the dermis, a study on marine origin collagen states. For more all-natural, clean-sourced supplements, make sure to visit our online store.

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Article References:

  1. Lodish H, Berk A, Zipursky SL, et al. Molecular Cell Biology. 4th edition. New York: W. H. Freeman; 2000. Section 22.3, Collagen: The Fibrous Proteins of the Matrix. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK21582/
  2. Paul, C., Leser, S., & Oesser, S. (2019). Significant Amounts of Functional Collagen Peptides Can Be Incorporated in the Diet While Maintaining Indispensable Amino Acid Balance. Nutrients, 11(5), 1079. doi:10.3390/nu11051079
  3. Varani, J., Dame, M. K., Rittie, L., Fligiel, S. E., Kang, S., Fisher, G. J., & Voorhees, J. J. (2006). Decreased collagen production in chronologically aged skin: roles of age-dependent alteration in fibroblast function and defective mechanical stimulation. The American journal of pathology, 168(6), 1861–1868. doi:10.2353/ajpath.2006.051302
  4. Oikarinen, A. (1994). Aging of the skin connective tissue: how to measure the biochemical and mechanical properties of aging dermis. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed.
  5. Ganceviciene, R., Liakou, A. I., Theodoridis, A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Skin anti-aging strategies. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 308–319. doi:10.4161/derm.22804
  6. Collagen - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/neuroscience/collagen
  7. Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V., & Oesser, S. (2014). Oral Supplementation of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects on Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacology And Physiology, 27(1), 47-55. doi: 10.1159/000351376
  8. Vollmer, D. L., West, V. A., & Lephart, E. D. (2018). Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(10), 3059. doi:10.3390/ijms19103059
  9. The biology of a healing tattoo - Tattoo hubTattoo. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://hubtattoo.com/the-biology-of-a-healing-tattoo/
  10. Here's what's really happening to your skin when you get a tattoo. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-to-skin-when-you-get-a-tattoo-2015-6
  11. The International Dermal Institute. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://www.dermalinstitute.com/article/43/
  12. Grant, Colin & Twigg, Pete & Baker, Richard & Tobin, Desmond. (2015). Tattoo ink nanoparticles in skin tissue and fibroblasts. Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology. 6. 1183-1191. 10.3762/bjnano.6.120.
  13. Trend for larger tattoos masks a deeper problem of toxins and the skin. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://theconversation.com/trend-for-larger-tattoos-masks-a-deeper-problem-of-toxins-and-the-skin-30184
  14. Grant, C. A., Twigg, P. C., Baker, R., & Tobin, D. J. (2015). Tattoo ink nanoparticles in skin tissue and fibroblasts. Beilstein journal of nanotechnology, 6, 1183–1191. doi:10.3762/bjnano.6.120
  15. Asserin, J., Lati, E., Shioya, T., & Prawitt, J. (2015). The effect of oral collagen peptide supplementation on skin moisture and the dermal collagen network: evidence from anex vivomodel and randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials. Journal Of Cosmetic Dermatology, 14(4), 291-301. doi: 10.1111/jocd.12174
  16. Foods to Eat to Help Your Tattoo Heal Faster and Keep Your Skin Healthy. (2019). Retrieved 2 October 2019, from https://nat-a-tat2.com/blog/food-speed-tattoo-healing-process/
  17. Silva, T. H., Moreira-Silva, J., Marques, A. L., Domingues, A., Bayon, Y., & Reis, R. L. (2014). Marine origin collagens and its potential applications. Marine drugs, 12(12), 5881–5901. doi:10.3390/md12125881

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