Collagen sounds like such a dream ingredient. It’s popular in anti-aging skincare product marketing and is even used by models in makeup ads. But much of this hype is misunderstood by consumers. What is collagen, where does it come from, and what does it actually do for the skin — or not do?
Collagen helps make up the structural proteins which, in turn, makes up 20-25% of your skin. This amounts to approximately 1.2-2.0 mg of collagen per square centimeter of skin (source). The skins ability to make this substance declines as you age which contributes to aging and effecting your appearance. However, even in healthy people, collagen production slows down with age, causing the skin to become less elastic and eventually leading to wrinkles and sagging.
Despite these negative effects of aging, the decline of collagen production doesn’t mean we can no longer have youthful skin. In fact, the body produces less collagen starting in our 20’s, but we also lose collagen with age and other factors, like sun exposure, smoking, or sugar. In other words, as we age, we lose more collagen than we make.
Studies say that taking collagen topically or orally is ineffective so how can you rebuild collagen?
If you’re using expensive serums that claim to boost collagen production, it’s important to understand that adding collagen to a topical skincare product may be ineffective due to various factors. But just because adding collagen topically isn’t a viable solution when it comes to anti-aging doesn’t mean your skincare regimen can’t help produce more collagen. For example, topical vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid with concentrations between 5 and 15% was proven to have a skin anti-aging effect by inducing the production of collagen types I and III. This means vitamin C could be an effective way for you to reduce wrinkles and firm your skin at the same time – as long as it’s in its natural form. If you also use a good sunscreen every day, you can expect to see results in just 12 weeks!
The retinoid family (vitamin A, Tretinoin and others) is comprised of several chemicals including all-trans-retinol, 13-cis-retinaldehyde, retinaldehyde and its derivatives, all-trans-retinoic acid and its esters, and a large number of synthetic compounds. The most common prescription retinoid is tretinoin (Retin-A). When applied topically as cream or gel, tretinoin helps to modulate the process of natural skin cell turnover. Tretinoin stimulates collagen production, improves elasticity and can help improve the appearance of photodamaged skin. It’s important to consult with your doctor and have a good skincare routine so that your skin doesn’t dry out.
If you have rough, uneven skin and are looking for ways to reduce the visibility of your skin imperfections, a chemical peel is an option that you may want to consider. Chemical peels comprise an accelerated form of facial exfoliation created by acids which produce a controlled injury to the skin. Chemical peels can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and other skin concerns by stimulating collagen remodeling. The epidermis heals in a few days resulting in an improved appearance of the skin, smoother texture, and decreased pigmentary irregularities.
Microneedling is essentially controlled skin injury. Your body's response to this 'needling' is to create new collagen and elastic tissue. In this case, the term 'controlled' means that your doctor or aesthetician will be moving along a grid pattern on your face and neck-equally spacing the tiny pricks with a small round hand tool. That way, the wounds stay small, things can heal faster and you end up with just enough trauma to stimulate the production of the desired volume of new tissue.
In order to understand what's happening on a microscopic level when you get microneedling your skin, let's take a closer look at MMPs (or matrix metalloproteases). They are enzymes that cause collagen breakdown and turnover. Collagen is only produced when it's needed, so when there is a lot of injury or damage to the skin, that prompts the body to produce extra. The process can significantly make your skin smoother, but the real benefit comes from filling in the deep lines and wrinkles.
If you’re aging, looking for an alternative to cosmetic surgery or Botox/Fillers or simply want younger-looking, healthy, glowing skin, then try out the treatments at Moonskyn to see how we can help restore elasticity and improve your skin’s firmness over time. Reach out today for more information about which treatment option might be best for you.
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