If you want to improve your skin's elasticity and maintain a youthful skin texture and complexion, you cannot ignore the role of collagen in your body. Collagen, when taken in the form of supplements, can also strengthen your bones, improve your joint health and promote hair growth.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein naturally present in animals. The structural protein is composed primarily of amino acids. It is found in connective tissues supporting the tendons, cartilage, bones, and skin tissues.
Collagen performs a significant role in cell processing, including
- Cellular migration and communication;
- Repair and maintenance of tissues;
- Improving cellular response
The Role of Collagen in the Human Body
Collagen is an insoluble, fibrous protein network that provides structure and supports the body tissues, improving texture and elasticity.
Having healthy collagen levels in your body can improve joint health, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system, and protect vital organs, like kidneys.
Improved collagen levels can also improve your skin health, making your skin elastic and firm.
Signs of Reduced Collagen as We Age
With age, your body starts producing less collagen. Also, aging makes the collagen more fragmented and less distributed throughout your body. As a result of reduced collagen formation and distribution, your skin starts to show signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles with dry and saggy skin.
Other factors that can speed up your skin's aging process are
- exposure to the sun's UV rays
- Environmental pollution
- Excessive smoking
- Increased consumption of alcohol, sugar, and processed food
How to Reduce/Prevent Collagen Loss
Although natural collagen production in the body reduces with age, maintaining healthy dietary habits and improving your overall lifestyle can slow down the aging process, preventing the loss of natural collagen in your body.
Here are some ways to slow down collagen loss in your body and boost collagen production to have healthy skin and joints.
Improve your food habits
Collagen is naturally found in all animals and is concentrated in the joints and skins. To boost collagen products, you need to eat animal products that are rich in protein, like:
- Skin, ligaments, and bones of animals like pork and chicken skin,
- Fatty fishes, like salmon, herrings, sardines, and tuna, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids;
- Animal products like fish skin, cod liver oil, liver, and bone broth.
Some other foods that can improve the collagen levels by enhancing your skin quality are:
- Seeds like flax seeds, chia seeds, nuts like walnuts;
- Tropical fruits rich in vitamin A and C like mango, pineapple, orange, lemon, and grapefruit;
- Leafy greens like kale and spinach;
- Green vegetables like beans and bell peppers;
- Berries like blueberries and blackberries;
- Vitamin C, copper, and zinc.
Use collagen supplements
The best way to get a collagen boost is by consuming protein-rich food. In addition, you can also try collagen supplements, especially when your diet cannot replenish your collagen levels.
Taking collagen supplements regularly can reduce collagen loss while improving skin texture, hydration, and elasticity, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.
Supplements containing collagen are unlikely to have any serious side effects. However, it is essential to read the product labels and become familiar with the other ingredients present in the supplements to reduce the risk of any potential side effects.
Take vitamin C
Vitamin C is an essential ingredient in maintaining a healthy collagen level. Make sure to consume fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C like citrus fruits, broccoli, and red and green peppers. If you are deficient in vitamin C, your doctor can recommend supplements.
Apply hyaluronic acid to your skin
Hyaluronic acid plays a significant role in trapping moisture in the skin, keeping it hydrated to preventing skin aging. Hyaluronic acid is often used in dermal fillers to promote skin rejuvenation by adding volume to the skin and improving skin hydration and elasticity.
Exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays can cause irreversible skin damage, reducing your skin's hydrating and elasticity properties. Make sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 when out in the sun to prevent premature skin aging.
Use retinoids, peptides & growth factors
Using cosmetics and skincare ingredients that boost collagen production and reduce the effects of aging skin can help you maintain that perfect skin for a long time. Some of such skincare ingredients are as follows:
- Retinoids - With age, the cell regeneration of your skin slows down. Retinoids promote new cell growth, stop the breakdown of collagen, and prevent skin aging;
- Peptides - They are amino acids that supplement the skin protein that fights the first signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles;
- Growth factors - Epidermal growth factors are large proteins that promote cell rejuvenation, boosting collagen and elastin production.
Consume foods and beverages with antioxidants
You can get your fill of antioxidants by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, boosting collagen production and preventing skin aging.
Procedures to Increase Collagen
Here are some procedures that, when used, can increase the collagen in your body, improving your skin's hydration and anti-aging properties.
Ultherapy is an FDA-approved, non-invasive skin tightening treatment that uses focused ultrasound to tighten skin on the neck, chin, and brow.
The treatment uses traditional ultrasound to treat the deepest layers of the skin, boosting new collagen formation. The treatment is simple and effective and has no downtime requirement, as you can resume your normal activities immediately post-treatment.
Laser Therapy (ResurFX and Photofractional)
Photofractional laser and light treatment use broad-spectrum intense pulses of light (IPL) that penetrate below the skin surface at various wavelengths. It can address multiple skin problems, including the signs of skin aging like wrinkles and fine lines.
The ResurFX laser uses modern technology that delivers controlled injury deep within the dermis, stimulating fibroblasts and producing collagen.
Microneedling with PRP therapy
Microneedling is a procedure that uses microneedles to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and create firmness in sagging skin. The microneedles stimulate the production of collagen, improving skin texture.
Microneedling, when combined with PRP therapy, is known as collagen induction therapy or vampire facial.
Cosmetic Products: SkinMedica TNS Advanced Plus and SkinMedica TNS Recovery Complex
Cosmetic products like serums, creams, and lotions from premium skincare companies like Skin Medica can improve your skin's quality, reducing the early signs of aging.
SkinMedica is known for its radically unique skin rejuvenating formula in its skin products. Skin Medica came out with its first growth factor solution, the TNS Recovery Complex. It had a blend of growth factors that’s been patented. It’s been tested clinically to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while improving the skin's elasticity.
Later, they made an improved version called the TNS Advanced Plus serum. The advanced serum from SkinMedica delivers a classic anti-aging formula with a growth factor blend of botanicals, peptides, and marine extracts that promise skin rejuvenation and repair by boosting the body's collagen production.
The importance of a reputable facial plastic surgeon and a licensed medical esthetician.
A plastic surgeon has a solid education with a general surgery background followed by many years of in-depth, rigorous training in their areas of specialization.
In addition to a comprehensive educational background, a reputable plastic surgeon, like Dr. Bradford S. Patt, of the Houston Center for Plastic Surgery, and a licensed medical esthetician must also have essential qualities like excellence, creativity, dedication, and scientific ingenuity.
To have the desired outcome, you need to research and find a plastic surgeon with whom you are comfortable, discuss your expectation, and gain maximum satisfaction from the surgery.