When new patients come to see us at the Collins Cosmetic Clinic most have already heard of Collagen and understand that it is important to the health and appearance of their skin. However, many are also confused by the different claims they have heard about how to improve Collagen in their skin. Do you need to ingest more Collagen, rub it on your skin, inject it, or can you stimulate new Collagen, or remodel old Collagen?
So is Collagen for your skin worth the hype. Let’s start with some basic facts about Collagen and then consider what works and doesn’t work in improving your skin’s Collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is the most abundant protein found throughout your body not just the skin. The word COLLAGEN comes from the Greek word ‘kolla’ which means Glue and is best thought of as the building block that provides structure and support for much of the body. Young healthy skin consists of around 75% Collagen, and it provides not just a structural framework for support, strength, and elasticity but is also important for skin hydration as it absorbs water.
The skin needs to constantly repair and produce new Collagen as it wears out and becomes weaker over time. Certain things are also known to damage Collagen in the skin, in particular UV radiation and Smoking which can reduce Collagen production and too much refined sugar which interferes with Collagen repair.
Collagen in the skin is produced by fibroblast cells primarily in the dermal layer of the skin. It is formed from a combination of the 2 amino acids glycine and proline in a process that requires nutrients such as Vitamin C and copper. The microscopic structure of Collagen is like a rope with 3 chains of protein tightly wound around each other to form a Collagen triple helix. Collagen is classified into many different types and subtypes which are simply called Type I, Type II etc. The most important type of Collagen in the skin is Type I which consists of densely packed protein fibers.
From around the age of 25 the body’s own production of Collagen begins to decline and Collagen starts to reduce in quality and becomes less ‘tight’. This results in the skin being less firm and supple and wrinkles developing. To reverse or slow skin ageing many approaches have been tried to increase skin Collagen levels and improve Collagen quality through skin ‘tightening’ procedures.
Eating Collagen Rich Foods
Collagen can be obtained from a variety of foods with marine sources thought to have the advantage of easier absorption. However consuming Collagen rich foods doesn’t directly increase Collagen levels in your body because Collagen, as with any protein you eat, needs to be broken down into amino acids before it can be absorbed.
A recent trend is to take Collagen supplements such as Hydrolyzed Collagen and Gelatin. These are advocated to be better than foods as they contain protein in smaller peptides which are more easily absorbed into the body. As with Collagen rich foods it is debatable if consuming Collagen rich supplements will actually increase the level of Collagen in your skin. However, research is ongoing and one 2019 German study of 72 women aged 35 years older taking a drinkable collagen supplement called ELASTEN for 12 weeks did find improvements in skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density. This study suggests there can be improvements in skin appearance and elasticity by taking a Collagen supplement.
Applying Topical Collagen
Some have tried applying topical Collagen creams and gels but there is no scientific evidence that applying a Collagen product to the surface of the skin will result in increased Collagen levels in the dermal layers of the skin.
The use of Collagen as a Dermal Filler for cosmetic purposes was widespread in the 1980’s. The first Collagen fillers were derived from cows (Zyplast and Zyderm) and then human Collagen was also tried (Cosmoplast, Cosmoderm). But there were issues with allergic reactions with the cow (bovine) Collagen, and the human Collagen products simply did not last long enough after being injected. Collagen dermal fillers are no longer used in Australia as there are many other far safer and more cost effective Dermal fillers that consist of Hyaluronic acid that are now available. There is also another type of Dermal Filler that we use that not only helps restore the structural foundation of the skin in the short term but can stimulate Collagen production over time to give longer lasting results. Improvements of more than 2 years can be achieved if you are a suitable candidate for this Dermal Filler option. (https://collinscosmeticclinic.com.au/our-treatments/dermal-fillers/)
There are many machines that are promoted as stimulating Collagen production, promoting Collagen remodeling, or causing Collagen ‘tightening’ but unfortunately most of these devices do not give proven, consistent, and reliable results.
It has been clearly demonstrated that if you can heat the deeper layers of the skin to a high enough temperature you can get Collagen contraction and skin tightening. The problem though is that it is not easy to heat below the surface of the skin to a high enough temperature without damaging the surface of the skin. It is also known that skin trauma such as with skin needling can trigger a wound healing response that can result in new Collagen formation. The problem here is that the trauma needs to be deep enough to be effective but at the same time not severe enough to result in a scar reaction.
The big advancement in Collagen stimulation and wrinkle reduction was when micro needling was able to be combined with skin heating and at the Collins Cosmetic Clinic, we choose to use the INFINI device for Collagen stimulation. The INFINI uses a series of very fine (0.2 mm) needles to penetrate deeply (up to 3.6mm) and then delivers Radiofrequency heat energy down the needle sparing the surface of the skin from damage. For more information visit https://collinscosmeticclinic.com.au/our-treatments/infini/
Collagen is the key building block of the skin, and it reduces in quantity and quality as we age, and this loss is the major reason lines and wrinkles develop. There are certain lifestyle measures that can help slow down the age-related rate of Collagen breakdown such as not smoking and using sunscreen. Collagen supplements may help but the formulation is important. Whilst there are also treatments that can help stimulate new Collagen formation care needs to be taken when choosing these treatments as not all devices work equally well. At the Collins Cosmetic Clinic, we only recommend scientifically proven and cost-effective skin treatment choices. If you have any questions about Collagen treatments feel free to ring our rooms on 03 96545720 or email us on email@example.com