What’s the big deal with collagen?

Collagen is a structural protein found throughout the body and one of the single most important biological components when it comes to facial contours. Collagen provides a kind of scaffolding, and for the skin, makes it appear full and youthful. The collagen found in skin gives the face volume and, for children, gives that “squeezable” appearance. As we age, however, our body’s ability to naturally produce collagen is diminished. This is why our cheeks aren’t as plump, necks aren’t as taught, eyelids being to droop, and jaw lines begin to fall. The collagen decline starts around the mid to late 20’s and on average by age 30 we lose 1% dermal collagen annually.

Lose collagen? Yes, we “lose” collagen in a manner of speaking. When we age preexisting collagen becomes old and brittle and our bodies cannot replace this “old” collagen quickly enough. Thus, with a decline in collagen production and a “breaking down” of existing collagen, we begin to see the telltale signs of aging through lines, wrinkles and sagging skin. The aging process is inevitable, but don’t despair quite yet because there are proven treatments to combat this decline.

First and foremost our environment, lifestyle and genetics will influence the speed of collagen decline and the appearance of age. So by taking simple measures in our daily lives to slow down the dreaded collagen decline we can effectively maintain a youthful appearance. Let’s start with the easiest ways to maintain healthy collagen and methods of how to slow down aging concerns.

Avoid sun exposure! The sun is a wonderful thing, but too much will rapidly age you. The collagen killing effect of the sun is a major contributor to why you may or may not show your chronological age. So by wearing daily SPF, you can reduce the harmful effects of the sun and save your collagen from unneeded stress. If you smoke, STOP smoking! Smoking has many potential health risks but the chemicals found in cigarettes, cigars, and other smoking methods will deplete the body of vitamin “C” and vitamin “C” is an integral component to healthy collagen formation. Eat a healthy balanced diet! The best way to ensure a properly functioning body is to feed yourself with nutrient-dense foods that will energize every structure in the body, including your skin.

You already follow all of the above and still have concerns that the sands of time are marching across your face? There is still hope with modern science, a balance between non-invasive professional procedures and targeted at home skincare product! When it comes to in-office treatments, there are many choices, but exfoliation and fibroblast stimulation are key. Exfoliation removes the outer layers of the skin and is important since aging slows down cellular turnover which can lead to lines, wrinkles, dehydration, and the appearance of weathered skin. Exfoliation methods such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion indirectly stimulate deeper cellular activity and increase collagen production, thereby improving the appearance, health and condition of the skin.

However, more advanced techniques like Laser Genesis and Microneedling can improve more severe aging concerns by directly stimulating the collagen factory (fibroblasts) of the skin. Laser Genesis harnesses the reparative power of deep thermal therapy and “forces” the body to manufacture more collagen. The feeling of this treatment is similar to basking in the warm afternoon sun and may leave you rosy for a few hours following your treatment. Laser Genesis requires zero downtime and is ideal for patients with busy schedules or preexisting conditions such as keloid scaring. A series of 4-6 Laser Genesis treatments progressively increases your natural collagen production and returns a smoother, more youthful appearance. Microneedling is a different method to achieve collagen stimulation and often provides more immediate results. In this procedure patients are first prepped with a light topical anesthetic and once patient comfort is established treatment is administered. Microneedling involves a pen-like medical device that holds a sterile cartridge containing 9 micro fine pins. The physical penetration of these pins into the skin releases growth factors and these growth factors “turn on” the collagen factory. This technique is customized to the condition of your skin by strategically controlling the depth of the penetration. Immediately following treatment, there is redness resembling sunburn and often lasts for about 3 days. Series of 3-4 Microneedling procedures are recommended for optimal results and require little to no downtime.

No time for professional treatment? Not to worry! Home care products are a must for the daily management of aging concerns. What to look for? Home skincare products that are highly concentrated with peptides, growth factors, and antioxidants. Home care containing these ingredients will provide support to the skin while stimulating natural, healthy collagen production.

With so many options out there today, the best approach to age management and collagen stimulation is a combination of therapies. The best way to determine your treatment plan is by having a consult with a licensed esthetician. This is particularly true if your esthetician practices within a physician’s office since they have access to treatments and products reserved specifically for medical doctors. It is never too late to start your treatment but easiest to prevent severe aging before it happens by consulting with your skincare professional today!