Collagen is a protein (in fact, it’s the most abundant protein in the body) that’s made up of the amino acids glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. Not only is collagen crucial for human skin physiology, but it also supports countless bodily functions. As we age, our body produces less collagen which naturally results in skin aging. Below, our team of estheticians explain some of the most commonly Googled questions: What is collagen? What does it do? How can I promote collagen production?
If you’re looking to stay as young as possible for as long as possible, you’ve come to the right place. The Bakersfield Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute offers a variety of non-invasive skin treatments that – in just a few sessions – can turn back the clock on facial aging. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is one of many types of proteins in the human body. In fact, collagen makes up about 30% of total protein in the body. This type of protein is a crucial component for almost all connective tissues, including human skin, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and even blood vessels.
Amino acids make up all types of proteins, including collagen. More specifically, the amino acids that are crucial for collagen formation are glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline. These amino acids – along with micronutrients like vitamin C, manganese, copper, and zinc – create triple helix collagen fibrils in the collagen synthesis process.
Types of Collagen
There are many different types of collagen in the body, including:
- Type I accounts for 90% of the total collagen in the human body according to a 2021 study. This type of collagen is crucial for the structure and function of the ligaments, tendons, bones, and skin.
- Type II makes up the cartilage found in joints.
- Type III collagen is one of many proteins found in organs, blood vessels, and muscles.
- Type IV collagen is also found in the skin.
- Type V collagen is also found in the skin, as well as the hair, the corneas, and the placentas of pregnant women.
What Does Collagen Do?
Sufficient collagen production is crucial for countless bodily structures and functions, including:
- Wound healing
- Overall skin health, such as skin elasticity, skin hydration, and youthfulness
- Replacing dead skin cells
- Making up the connective tissue that protects the internal organs
- Allowing the blood to clot
- Cellular communication and migration
How Age Affects Collagen Production
Everyone experiences collagen loss as they get older, with a significant drop off in collagen production around age 60. Women generally lose collagen at a faster rate after they endure menopause in their early to mid 50s. The following symptoms and health issues may indicate a drop in normal collagen levels:
- Aging skin (fine lines, wrinkles, sagging, etc.)
- Joint pain and stiffness, lower bone mineral density, and/or osteoarthritis
- Poor mobility
- Parts of the face – around the eyes and under the cheekbones – appear hollow and sunken in
- Circulation problems
- Stiff tendons and ligaments
- Digestive problems due to thinning of the connective tissues in the abdominal organs
Benefits of Collagen Supplements
The body produces collagen naturally, but you can support collagen production by taking oral collagen supplements. Specific collagen peptides (such as hydrolyzed collagen) are common collagen supplements that come in powder form. This type of collagen supplement works best because collagen can’t be absorbed into the body in its whole form. So collagen peptides are basically really small pieces of animal collagen that can be more easily absorbed by the body. Many people mix collagen peptide powders into their coffee, smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. Collagen supplementation comes in capsule and liquid form as well.
Taking collagen supplements may lead to the following health benefits:
- Improved skin elasticity and overall youthfulness
- Strong hair and nails
- Improved joint and bone health
- A boost in muscle mass
- Weight loss and/or a metabolism boost
- Improved digestion
Med Spa Procedures That Increase Collagen Production in the Skin
If you’re already seeing premature signs of aging – such as fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging – taking a collagen supplement likely won’t reverse this process. But there are several medical spa procedures that may improve skin elasticity, support healthy collagen production, and turn back the clock a few years in reference to aging.
Laser skin resurfacing works by using intense light energy to essentially destroy the outer layer of skin (the epidermis) so that the body will produce collagen in order to repair it. The most common type of laser therapy that we offer is CO2 laser skin resurfacing, and it can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, sun spots, stretch marks, age spots, and so much more.
The Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute also offers pico laser treatment, which breaks down the upper layer of skin through super short pulses of energy. Similarly to other laser treatments, this laser treatment also stimulates collagen production.
Plasma Fibroblast Therapy
Plasma fibroblast therapy is a skin tightening treatment that works in a similar way as laser therapy. This type of therapy uses intense heat to create “micro-injuries” in the skin so that it will produce collagen in order to heal the wounds. Several treatments can improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, acne scars, sun spots, and more.
Radiofrequency microneedling uses tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin, and therefore, encourage healthy collagen production in the treated area. Similarly to the aforementioned Med Spa procedures, RF microneedling can improve the appearance of many kinds of skin concerns including wrinkles, sun damage, crepey skin, stretch marks, acne scars, and more.
Unlike the other treatments mentioned previously, Sculptra injections can improve the appearance of “hollowness” in the face. Not only that, but Sculptra injections can also stimulate collagen production in the treated area due to the active ingredient: poly-L-lactic acid. Patients commonly receive Sculptra injections in their face, butt, thighs, arms, and even the chest. Unlike other dermal fillers, the youthful effects of Sculptra can last for up to two years.
Lifestyle Habits That Decrease Collagen in the Body
There are several lifestyle habits that can accelerate collagen loss in the body, and therefore lead to premature signs of aging. If you want to appear as youthful as possible throughout your life, be sure to:
- Stop Smoking: Nicotine can accelerate the aging process in multiple ways. Firstly, it constricts blood vessels in the upper layers of skin, which inhibits the delivery of oxygen and nutrients. Secondly, nicotine damages both collagen and elastin in the skin, leading to slower wound healing and – you guessed it – wrinkles. If you’re looking to stay young, kick the cigarettes.
- Wear Sunscreen: Aside from smoking, excess sun exposure is the number one way to speed up the aging process. Not only do UV rays decrease collagen production, but they also break down pre-existing collagen at a rapid rate. Therefore, many people who have spent their days in the sun or the tanning beds will notice premature skin aging compared to their peers. Be sure to wear SPF 30 sunscreen on your face every day, and apply sunscreen to the rest of your body if you know you’ll be out in the sun for several hours.
- Cut Down on Sugar and Excess Carbohydrates: Don’t get us wrong, there is nothing wrong with eating carbs and treating yourself to a cookie or slice of cake. Everything is healthy in moderation. The problem lies with eating far too much sugar and refined carbs. This can lead to early signs of aging because – scientifically – sugar binds itself to proteins which then leads to the creation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs then damage other proteins which leads to weak and brittle collagen.
How to Maintain Youthful Healthy Skin At Home
There is nothing inherently wrong with getting older and looking your age. But of course, most of us want to stay young and beautiful for as long as possible. If you’re looking to extend your youth, you could make an appointment at our Bakersfield Med Spa and implement the following habits into your lifestyle.
- Take Collagen Supplements: As previously explained, consuming collagen peptides in the form of collagen powder may aid in overall health and wellbeing. As a bonus, collagen supplements may fight against early signs of aging.
- Eat a Healthy Diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, eggs, and quality meat and dairy. You could also focus on implementing collagen rich foods – such as chicken skin, pork skin, bone broth, and some types of seafood. You could also eat foods that contain essential amino acids that create collagen protein, such as citrus fruits (vitamin C), leafy greens (copper), and nuts and seeds (zinc). Basically, if you eat a little of everything, you’ll get the micronutrients that you need.
- Skin Care: Having a good skin care routine is another great way to keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and youthful. But there’s no need to go overboard with 10+ skin products which may or may not have any actual benefits. The best anti-aging products are regular sunscreen use, topical retinoids, and vitamin C serums. If you’re still unsure what products are best for your skin type, it’s best to see a dermatologist.
Call the Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute Today
If you’re looking to prolong your youth, you’ve come to the right place. The Med Spa at Silhouette Plastic Surgery Institute offers countless non-invasive skin procedures that can make you feel young, beautiful, and confident. Call 949-359-8397 to schedule an appointment at our clinic today.