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, from around the age of twenty-five, this little love affair begins to wane.
Like any affair of the heart, it’s 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? 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 bit of 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 there are many types of collagen 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 our attention 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 skins 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 begin to form over time when existing collagen degrades and new collagen formation declines.
Collagen is formed in the body from amino acids. These are the building blocks of protein. Some the body makes, but others can only be derived from your diet.
Either way, for the body to form collagen, protein-rich foods are necessary and nutrients from fruits and vegetables. Along with protein, one nutrient, in particular, vitamin C is essential for the formation of collagen.
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 an abundance of 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, and they are proline, glycine and lysine.
Proline and glycine are the building blocks for proteins and are the primary amino acids involved in collagen synthesis.
Your body can make both, but you’ll also find proline and glycine in the foods you eat. The main 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 also another essential amino acid to help the body form new collagen, but unlike proline and glycine, you must consume lysine through your diet. 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, then 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, then you may find Collagen Beauty™ from Nutra Organics assists in better uptake of the essential amino acids required to support the natural processes for skin health and resilience.
Collagen Beauty™ contains Verisol Bioactive Collagen Peptides to reduce skin wrinkles, increase skin elasticity & hydration to minimise the visible signs of ageing.
Camu Camu and Orgen-Zn Guava provides a natural and bioavailable source of Vitamin C and Zinc to support collagen synthesis, wound healing and immunity whilst also supporting the growth and structure of hair & nails.
Bovine Collagen Peptides are a sustainable source of collagen. Derived as a byproduct of a pre-existing industry. Further, these peptides are derived 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 also known as 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 is producing new collagen, you should get an excellent response to this treatment.
An experienced skincare professional should always carry out your micro-medical needling treatments, and while the advice on frequency may vary from weekly to monthly it will depend on the depth of needling and how your skincare professional wishes to proceed and of course, your commitment.
Consistency is the key to results and I like to 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. It’s a convenient way to get your daily dose of the LED light.
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 know 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.
There are two ways you can do this, firstly with a regular mask application and secondly with regular lactic acid peels administered by a skincare professional.
Like to know a bit more about Lactic Acid, there’s more to know 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 true hero product in the Environ range.
Focus Care Youth+ Revival Masque is a dynamic masque leaving your skin looking instantly 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, well, then 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.
And, it must be said, if you continue to over-expose your skin to the sun or find moderating some of your lifestyle choices simply too hard, well, you’ve got yourself an uphill battle in reducing collagen loss and forming new healthy collagen. Even so, adopting some or all of these four solutions for collagen loss will give you better skin.
Before I go, it’s worth noting, there are other clinical treatments you can opt for, 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 treatments in this article >> Banish ten years from your face.
And now you?
If you liked this article, why not share it on your socials or, if you’ve got a question about collagen loss or any of the solutions I’ve talked about, 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,