by Kristy Adam, PA
What is Collagen?
The word collagen is derived from the Greek word “kolla” meaning glue. That’s because collagen functions as intracellular “glue.” It provides the structural integrity of the body’s building blocks found in skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage.
Collagen is a natural protein produced by the body; in fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in animals totaling 1/3 of the total protein found in mammals and 3/4 total dry weight of human skin. There are 28 different types of collagen composed of amino acids forming a triple helix. This unique composition allows collagen to create tensile strength and structure throughout the body.
The Beauty Benefits of Collagen
Collagen is also responsible for providing that youthful glow. In addition to providing a smooth skin appearance, collagen promotes cellular turnover. Essentially the more collagen you have in your skin, the greater the skin elasticity, smoothness, and plumpness. Collagen also plays a vital role in hair health, contributing to stronger and shinier tresses, increased hair growth, and delayed graying.
But collagen naturally degrades, and its production rate slows with time. When we lose more than we produce, visible signs of aging appear.
What Causes Collagen Production To Diminish?
Both controllable and uncontrollable factors play a role in decreased collagen production. The factors cause inflammation which in turn causes damage to collagen fibers.
Uncontrollable factors include the natural process of aging, the constant pull of gravitational forces, and environmental pollution such as free radicals in the surrounding air and atmosphere. Controllable factors include UV exposure, such as sunlight and radiation, diets high in sugar, and smoking or being exposed to smoke.
When collagen production slows down, we often see a loss of volume or fullness in the face. Cheeks flatten, under-eye hollows become more prominent, and the skin begins to sag. Weakened blood vessel walls and broken capillaries may appear, and fine lines and wrinkles appear more prominent, leading to a prematurely aged look.
Reducing The Rate Of Collagen Loss
You can do several things to minimize collagen loss, including lifestyle modifications and medical treatments. When it comes to lifestyle, limiting controllable factors by using SPF sunscreen, eating a diet high in antioxidants and low in sugar, and avoiding smoking. A daily skin care regimen that includes antioxidants can also help, such as Skinmedica TNS Advanced Serum.
In combination with a healthy lifestyle, several treatment options increase collagen production. These treatments utilize light, heat, or energy differently and offer an increased benefit when combined.
Microneedling promotes the physical production of collagen by creating small superficial wounds in the skin, which signal the body to start the healing process. Microneedling is fantastic for improving skin texture and restoring that youthful glow.
BBL (Broadband Light)
BBL uses pulses of non-ablative light which promotes thermal therapy by gently heating the skin. This process enhances biosynthesis (generation of natural molecules) and stimulates collagen production.
HALO Hybrid-Fractional Laser
HALO is really two lasers in one, using ablative and non-ablative laser technology. HALO delivers controlled injury to the dermis similar to Microneedling, but HALO’s adjustability allows practitioners to dial in custom settings for your unique aesthetic goals. HALO’s efficacy is the gold-standard of total facial rejuvenation, addressing skin tone, texture, pigmentation, scarring, and fine lines.
PDO (Polydioxanone) Threads
PDO threads are small absorbable sutures inserted just under the skin to create a selective and gentle irritation that creates a natural response of collagen production. Along with strengthening the skin and improving elasticity, this can reduce fine lines and minimize the appearance of wrinkles.
PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) & PRFM (Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix)
PRP and PRFM utilize your body’s healing compounds, such as plasma and platelets, which contain growth factors that increase stem cell activity and create hyaluronic acid.
Drawing blood and spinning it in a centrifuge separates the PRP and it is then either injected into the skin or topically applied to the skin. PRFM combines PRP and a lattice of calcium, allowing platelets to live longer and offering even better collagen production results. PRFM can be used similarly to dermal fillers (which also boost collagen production) by injecting it to create volume in areas such as the under-eye hollows. However, the volumizing effects don’t last nearly as long as filler.
Collagen production is the key to having a brighter, more youthful appearance. Increased production can be achieved through lifestyle choices and incorporating a variety of medical treatments that utilize light, heat, and energy. A good provider will understand the nuances of treatment variables and match them to your specific skin needs. The best time to start is always now because it is much easier to maintain the collagen levels you have rather than trying to build back any significant loss.
Schedule A Consultation To Boost Your Collagen Production
Please contact us today if you’d like to learn more about your options for boosting collagen with our advanced skincare offerings or any of the cosmetic treatments above.