About Boosting Collagen
Around 30% of the protein content of the human body is collagen. You can think of it as the ‘glue’ that holds the body together. Collagen is abundant in fibrous tissues such as skin, ligaments and tendons. It is essential for strengthening our blood vessels. Collagen heals our skin, giving it elasticity and strength. Its fibers support and provide structure for various parts of our bodies, particularly our connective tissues.
When our skin contains plenty of collagen it looks youthful. Collagen increases the elasticity of the skin’s connective tissues, allowing them to expand and contract without damaging cells and causing wrinkles.
As we age, the production of collagen begins to slow down. Our collagen degrades and cell structures begin to lose their strength. Our skin becomes fragile, and less elastic. Wrinkles and other skin problems appear. Due to collagen loss our hair turns grey, joints lose their flexibility, and bones lose their density. This is why collagen boosting treatments are popular with older men and women.
Millions of people all over the world worldwide look for ways to stimulate collagen production and keep their youthful looks. NOTE: Evidence shows that eating collagen does not benefit your skin.
4 Ways to Boost Collagen
Laser treatments really do stimulate collagen production. Our skin contains fibroblasts, which are a type of cell that manufactures collagen and plays a vital role in wound healing. Laser skin treatments use light to break down our collagen. Collagen fragments then send signals to the fibroblasts, telling them to make a lot more collagen. Some brand names of laser treatments include V-Beam, Thermage, BBL, Foto Facial, Genesis, Clear and Brilliant.
Intense Pulsed Light
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) works the same way as laser therapy – by fragmenting collagen to encourage it to multiply.
IPL employs a broad wavelength light pulsed onto the skin. It can treat several conditions simultaneously, including
- Decreased collagen
- Broken veins and capillaries
- Redness of the skin
- Age spots, sun spots and freckles
Some brand names of IPL include Elos and Limelight.
Visit our dermal fillers section.
Injectable skin fillers can correct fine lines, creases and folds, scars and loss of volume and are also used for enhancing lips, reconstructing noses and chins, jawline sculpting and non-surgical rhinoplasty. Dermal fillers generally contain hyaluronic acid which, according to a study published in Archives of Dermatology, is thought to stimulate the production of collagen, restoring the structure of damaged skin. Some brand names of dermal fillers include Restylane, Radiesse and Juvederm.
Unlike compounds such as Botox, dermal fillers have no muscle-relaxing properties whatsoever.
Before You Book
- Check that the person has the qualifications and experience to be injecting.
- Ask for before and after photos.
- Be very clear about your expectations and make sure your doctor understands what you want.
- Ask the injector what areas he or she specialises in. Some treatments, such as nose or chin reconstructions, jawline sculpting and non-surgical rhinoplasty, should be done by a specialist.
What to Expect
- Pain: This is minimal, because your practitioner can apply an anaesthetic cream to numb the area being treated, or give you a local anaesthetic injection.
- Side effects: These may include minor redness, bruising and swelling, which usually resolve by themselves within 24 hours.
- Are you eligible?: Doctors will not inject dermal fillers into pregnant or nursing mothers, or people with a skin disease in the area to be treated.
- Cost: This depends on how much filler you need or want, but usually you will pay anything from $350 to upwards of $700. It is sensible to begin with a small amount of filler and add more at a later date if you wish.
- Durability: Results usually last from 4 to 12 months, depending on the filler, the technique and the area that was injected. The more treatments you have, the longer the results will last.
Collagen Stimulating Injections
Collagen loss is one of the major reasons or skin looks older as time passes. As we age, our skin produces less collagen. By the time we are in our thirties, collagen depletion overtakes collagen production. This is the time when we might begin to notice:
- Loss of volume in the cheeks, temples, lips and jawline.
- The development of lines and wrinkles, especially particularly in the folds between the nose and mouth.
- Sagging skin and the appearance of ‘jowls’ in place of your once a firm jawline.
- Dull, rough skin instead of the smoothness of youth.
There are a number of ways to promote collagen regeneration, including collagen stimulating injections/therapy. This treatment involves the injection of a plant-derived substance called ‘polylactic acid’ (PLA), the same substance used by surgeons in dissolvable stitches. A qualified practitioner uses a needle to deliver this substance into lines, wrinkles and depressions in the skin. Polylactic acid acts as a dermal filler, plumping up the skin’s volume, while simultaneously helping to stimulate the body’s own production of collagen.
Collagen stimulating injections can add volume to places that have become sunken or ‘baggy’. They can be used to treat:
- lines and wrinkles on all parts of the face
- the forehead
- around the eye, especially ‘tear troughs’
- around the lips
- between the mouth and nose
- the cheeks
- the neck
- the décolletage
- hands, knees and ankles
- certain types of scars
In general, a minimum of two sessions at least 15 days apart will give good results. Some estheticians recommend 3-4 treatments. Improvement can be seen immediately following treatment. The full effect will appear about 20 days after treatment. Due to polylactic acid‘s action of collagen stimulation, the results can last a lot longer than for other types of dermal fillers. Improvement can last from at least a year up to two years. Eventually the body will absorb the polylactic acid.
Brand names of collagen stimulating injections using polylactic acid include Sculptra™.
Secrets of Preserving Your Natural Collagen
To save and protect your own natural collagen, particularly in the face,
- Wear a good sun screen.
- Avoid sun exposure between 10am and 3pm.
- Wear sunglasses to preserve the delicate skin around the eyes.
- Do not smoke.
- Avoid pollution.
- Apply skin creams containing Retin-A (tretinoin). Retin-A is a form of vitamin A that aids in skin renewal.
- Apply skin creams containing alpha-hydroxy acids, especially glycolic acid.
- Eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Cultivate good sleeping habits.
Some dermatologists recommend taking antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents such as resveratrol (a compound found largely in the skins of red grapes), acai, green tea, vitamin C (ascorbyl palmitate), Nicomide ®, Coffeeberry ®, and Pynogenol ®.