Ah, yes, collagen.
I’ve got you under my skin, so deep in my heart, you’re really a part of me… I’d tried so, not to give in, I said to myself this affair never will go so well…
Thank you, Cole Porter; I’ll take the affair from here.
And, what a love affair it’s been, and we can swoon and croon about it, but the truth is, you’ve held me together and been my fortress against the world, keeping my joints healthy, bones strong, and a skin robust and mighty.
Indeed, collagen, you are a part of me, but, and it pains me to say it, this little love affair begins to wane from around the age of twenty-five.
Like any affair of the heart, it all seems so unfair. So fleeting. And, as quickly as it began, it’s over.
But seriously, what’s going on?
With each passing year, depending on your level of sun exposure, the foods you eat, how much sugar you consume and other second-rate lifestyle choices like smoking or too much alcohol, you can expect to lose up to two per cent of your collagen. Sure, what’s two per cent amongst friends? I know, mere bagatelle. Of course, but fast forward to forty or fifty, and well, that’s quite the accumulated loss.
But let’s not give in yet. Let’s wake up to reality. What can we do about our lagging collagen?
And more to the point, can this affair with collagen become a long-lasting relationship made in heaven?
Sure it can! You can restore the collagen you’ve lost if it’s important to you. But it will take a little effort on your part; dare I say, commitment?
But first, let’s get acquainted. What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein. But it’s a specific protein, and many types of collagen are found in the body supporting our muscles, ligaments, tendons, digestive tract, bone joints, and, of course, our hair, skin, and nails.
But for today, let’s focus on the collagen under your skin.
Well, technically, it’s not under your skin but found within the dermal layer of your skin and is the support structure that gives your skin its strength and resilience and is essential in the process of wound healing.
Collagen makes up 70 per cent of the skin’s protein, and there are two types of collagen, type one and three, that are the essential components in the skin, keeping it firm, flexible and wrinkle-free.
Sadly, wrinkles and sagging skin form over time when existing collagen degrades, and new collagen formation declines.
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein that contribute to collagen formation. Your body makes amino acids, but you’ll also need dietary support.
Either way, protein-rich foods and nutrients from fruits and vegetables are necessary for the body to form collagen. Along with protein, one nutrient, in particular, vitamin C is essential for collagen formation.
There are four ways to activate the formation of collagen in your skin.
#1 Eat your collagen.
Can you eat your way to new collagen? Yes, and you should.
A protein-rich diet with abundant vitamin C from fruits and vegetables will provide you with the necessary amino acids and nutrients for collagen-building.
Three amino acids, in particular, are significant in making collagen in the body: proline, glycine and lysine.
Proline and glycine are the building blocks for proteins and the primary amino acids in collagen synthesis.
Your body can make both, but you’ll also find proline and glycine in food. The primary source of these amino acids in your diet is protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, dairy and eggs, or consumed in a nutritional protein supplement.
Lysine is another essential amino acid to help the body form new collagen, but unlike proline and glycine, you must consume lysine in your foods. The best sources of lysine are meat, dairy, eggs and collagen powders or plant proteins such as pea and hemp protein powders for a vegan option.
If you’d like to know more about edible beauty foods, you might like this article >> Beauty from the inside, collagen-boosting peptides.
If you’re looking for a natural solution to the visible signs of ageing, Collagen Beauty™ from Nutra Organics may help. It assists in better uptake of essential amino acids to support natural skin health processes.
Collagen Beauty™ contains Verisol Bioactive Collagen Peptides to reduce skin wrinkles and increase skin elasticity & hydration to minimise the visible signs of ageing.
Camu Camu and Orgen-Zn Guava provide a natural and bioavailable source of Vitamin C and Zinc to support collagen synthesis, wound healing and immunity while supporting the growth and structure of hair & nails.
Bovine collagen peptides are a sustainable collagen source and are a byproduct of a pre-existing industry. Further, these peptides are from healthy, non-hormonally treated, non-GMO and grass-fed animals. No other source of collagen peptides on the current market is clinically proven to be more bioavailable.
#2 Collagen Induction Therapy
Micro-medical needling, or collagen induction therapy, may sound extreme, but it can be an excellent way to activate new collagen when done correctly.
When the surgical steel micro-needles puncture the skin, a microscopic wound is created, which activates a wound response. This response in the skin pushes out newly formed collagen via fibroblast cells.
If you’re healthy and your body produces new collagen, you should get an excellent response to this treatment.
An experienced skin care professional should always carry out your micro-medical needling treatments. While the advice on frequency may vary from weekly to monthly, it will depend on the depth of needling, how your skincare professional wishes to proceed and, of course, your commitment.
Consistency is the key to results, and I recommend a course of needling treatments for the best results.
I’ve written about micro-needling in more detail here >> Micro-needling: Taking your skincare to a whole new level.
#3 LED (Light Emitting Diode) Light Therapy
LED Light Therapy works with the body’s natural processes to counteract the effects and signs of ageing.
But what does that mean? Well, LED light works with what’s already present in your skin. In this case, fibroblast cells activate the wound healing response and collagen production.
LED light stimulates this function to keep your skin behaving as it should or as it did ten years ago. The result is skin with fewer lines, wrinkles and sagging. Of course, just like all the treatments I recommend, time and commitment will yield the best results.
LED can be done at home with one of the many LED masks currently available on the market, and it’s a convenient way to get your daily dose of the LED Light to boost collagen.
Or, if you want a more intense result, I suggest a regular visit to a skin clinic with a professional-grade, state-of-the-art LED Light machine.
If you’d like to learn more, you might like this article >> LED Light. What can it really do for your skin?
#4 Lactic Acid in your skincare.
Why Lactic Acid? When topically applied to the skin, Lactic acid is well known for its ability to exfoliate the surface layer of the epidermis.
However, you may not know that when you regularly exfoliate with Lactic Acid, you’re activating growth hormones to improve the amount of collagen secreted by the specialised skin cells known as fibroblast cells.
You can do this in two ways: first, with a regular mask application and second, with regular lactic acid peels administered by a skin care professional.
If you want to know more about Lactic Acid, there’s more to learn here >> Alpha Hydroxy Acids: What are they, and why do you need them?
Combining three powerful alpha hydroxy acids, including the much-loved lactic acid, makes this weekly treatment mask a hero product in the Environ range.
Focus Care Youth+ Revival Masque is a dynamic solution, leaving your skin radiant, luminous and ready to glow. Suitable for all skin types. Go for it!
Keeping it all together.
So you may decide to do all these things, and if you do, you’re well on your way to slowing down the loss of collagen in your skin. But as I mentioned earlier, all these interventions are for the committed.
If you continue over-exposing your skin to the sun or find moderating some of your lifestyle choices too hard, you will have an uphill battle in reducing collagen loss and forming new healthy collagen.
Adopting some or all of these four solutions for collagen loss will give you better skin.
Before I go, it’s worth noting that you can opt for other clinical treatments, such as radio-frequency skin tightening or high-intensity focussed ultrasound, if you want to take a deep dive into remodelling your collagen.
You’ll find more on these non-surgical aesthetic treatments in this article >> Banish ten years from your face.
And now you?
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If you have a question about collagen loss or any of the solutions I’ve discussed, you can reach me here.
Finally, perhaps the best affair is the one you have with yourself. Oh, and, of course, your collagen.
See you next time,