The Biology of Collagen
Deep Dive: The Biology of Collagen
From targeted Instagram ads for supplement powders to add to your morning coffee, to the many methods of stimulating it in your own skin, you’ve likely heard talk of collagen. Collagen has recently skyrocketed in popularity. It’s found not only in skincare products but in shampoos, the aforementioned nutrition powders and body creams. So, what is it all about and what role does it play with regard to your skin? In this post, we’ll tackle what exactly collagen is, the relationship it has with your skin as you age and what ingredients you should be looking for in your skincare to boost your skin’s collagen. Find out which products to choose and when you can expect results. Here, your guide to everything you always wanted to know about collagen and more. What Is Collagen? Let’s begin with the basics. What is collagen? Collagen is a protein that provides structure to your bones, skin, tendons and ligaments —essentially, much of your body. Collagen’s role with regard to skincare is vital from both a functional and cosmetic perspective. The reality is that everyone’s normal aging process causes a decrease in the skin’s natural collagen production and this leads to a number of common aesthetic skin concerns. These include everything from lines and wrinkles to a loss of firmness to uneven texture in the skin. In other words, these are the visible signs of a lack or decreased levels of collagen on your skin. When Should You Focus on Boosting Collagen? When is the right time to stimulate your own collagen production? According to dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay, everyone aged 20 and up should be using some type of treatment that speeds up cell renewal. “By the time you are 50 years old, you have half as much of your collagen and half as much of your hyaluronic acid as you would in your 20s,” Dr. Bucay explains. Here’s another fun fact: She notes that every year, you lose 3% of your collagen, which is what gives the skin support. She uses a mattress as an analogy. “Collagen is like the mattress covering,” Dr. Bucay explains. “It holds everything together.” To further the analogy, in this scenario, Hyaluronic Acid is the coils, she says. “They resist compressive forces, and the less we are able to resist these forces, the harder it is for the skin to bounce back,” she says. For example, you know how sometimes you wake up in the morning and have that line from the pillow? The older you get, the longer it takes for that line to disappear. After your mid-30s, it can take at least an hour plus for that line to go away. Note to self: It’s good to invest in a silk pillowcase. What You Eat Makes A Difference A healthy diet is also integral to supporting the natural process of collagen production. Eat protein-rich foods from plant or animal sources to get amino acids. More nutrients that assist in the process of producing collagen are zinc, Vitamin C and copper. You’ll find these in fruits and vegetables. You’ll find zinc in dairy, red meat and poultry, along with beans, nuts, crab, lobster and whole grains. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, broccoli, cauliflower, green and red peppers, tomatoes, potatoes and winter squash. Copper is in dark chocolate (yes!), leafy greens, shiitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds. What You Don’t Eat Also Makes A Difference You also want to avoid things that accelerate collagen damage, of course. Some things that are associated with creating a decline in collagen production are probably not a surprise to you. Smoking and UV rays are high on the list of things you should avoid. And what you don’t eat is important as well. Avoid eating foods that are high in sugar or reaching for a lot of refined carbohydrates. These can also have a negative effect on increasing collagen production. Incorporate Retinol and Vitamin C Into Your Skincare Routine 1: Try A Complex Dermatologist Dr. Tomi Lee Wall points out that retinol is one of the best-known boosters of collagen. The third step of the REVERSE Brightening Regimen is the Dual Active Brightening Complex, which combines Vitamin C and Retinol. The power pair works together to enhance radiance and reveal brighter skin, while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Both retinoids and Vitamin C help improve the appearance the visible signs of aging on skin, often caused by decreased collagen levels. 2: Try A Serum If a serum’s more your thing, try REDEFINE Intensive Renewing Serum. This skincare product is formulated with Retinal-MD Technology, a form of Vitamin A that’s more potent than Retinol, but gentle enough for daily use. This nighttime serum jump starts your skin’s natural renewing process to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while revealing younger-looking skin. When adding any retinol product into your routine, it’s good to use it 2-3 nights a week and gradually amp up use up to every other evening. Always layer a nighttime moisturizer on top to minimize flaking. The Case For Derma-Rollers Dr. Wall says that a Derma-Roller is also an incredible tool for stimulating collagen. “Within your skin you have cells called fibroblasts, which are the makers of collagen,” Dr. Wall explains. “As you are derma-rolling, you create tiny areas of ‘trauma’ in the skin, which ‘tricks’ your fibroblasts to thinking they need to create more collagen,” she says. The micro-exfoliating, handheld Derma-Roller is part of the REDEFINE AMP MD System. The Derma-Roller uses micro-exfoliating tips to condition the uppermost layer of skin and boosts the performance of other products. This improves absorption and amplifies the results of Intensive Renewing Serum layered on top for smoother, firmer-looking skin. As Always, Consistency Is Key How long do you need to use a proper skincare regimen to see the results? It typically takes about a month for skin cells to turn over. So, a good rule of thumb is to follow your skincare Regimen consistently to see the visible results on your skin. Keep up with those morning and evening skincare routines and you’ll see youthful-looking, glowing skin before you know it.