Collagen induction and preservation are two essential ways we can keep our skins looking youthful. We discuss the DIY and professional options.
One of the most serious signs of skin ageing is sagging and volume loss due to the degradation of collagen and elastin in our skin.
In the old days, counteracting these signs required cosmetic surgery. No longer, fortunately. The selection of non-surgical interventions continues to grow, and the technique and skill when using these technologies just keep improving, so that we can continue to look like ourselves and age as well as possible.
However, before we discuss the great options available to correct loss of collagen, we need to focus on preserving and boosting our collagen capital.
It is essential to consult with a skincare professional to help you make the right decisions depending on your personal needs.
Maintaining collagen at home
If you are serious about looking after your skin, you need to start as young as possible, and that means using good quality anti-ageing skin care.
How do you know you are using the right stuff?
Firstly, look for active cosmeceutical or medical skin care, such as SkinCeuticals and Neostrata. The skincare professional will help you choose the right one for your needs.
These ranges are manufactured with the ‘right’ skin care ingredients, such as antioxidants, which fight free-radical activity in the skin to maintain cellular health and activity. They also use these ingredients at the right levels, combined with a cocktail of other ingredients that boost their effects.
For instance, firming products (usually used at night) contain proven collagen-stimulating ingredients that not only preserve the quality of the collagen you have in your skin (its capital), they boost the production of new collagen.
The gold standard is still retinol, a form of vitamin A. It not only stimulates skin-plumping collagen, it also helps minimise pigmentation and it is a great antioxidant. Other great collagen champions include vitamin C, growth factors, alpha hydroxy acids, certain antioxidants and certain peptides. You can find these essential ingredients in excellent products such as Neostrata Skin Active Matrix Support SPF30 and Lamelle Dermaheal Cellular Repair Cream.
Your essential skin arsenal
Besides a gentle and effective cleanser and protective day cream and targeted night treatment, the essential product to include in your skin-care routine is a smart sunscreen. ‘Smart’ means it contains other ingredients besides sun filters – such as antioxidants – at the very least. Unprotected sun exposure is the biggest culprit that degrades the integrity of your collagen stores.
Did you know?
Topical products containing collagen won’t be able to help you bump up your reserves, as the molecule is too large to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin. When you spot collagen on the ingredients list, it’s merely there to act as a hydrator.
Turbo-boosting collagen treatments
If you’ve looked after your skin from an early age, professional interventions are complementary, intensive booster treatments to your routine and you should require fewer and less-intensive treatments, so that early investment really pays off!
However, in-office treatments are true skin savers for those of us who have been less careful about protecting our skin from sun damage. They can repair a considerable amount of the damage and help us regain a smoother, firmer, more youthful skin.
At Skin Renewal, many in-office treatments are focused on stimulating the production of collagen. This is achieved by reaching the deeper layers of the skin through treatments such as medical-grade lasers, radiofrequency, carboxytherapy and skin needling. Using a combination of these treatments yields the most effective results and is highly recommended.
The good news is that the collagen-boosting effect of these treatments combats the ageing process significantly, and also helps to address issues such acne, acne scarring and pigmentation.
How do collagen-stimulating treatments work?
These treatments work on the principle that the skin has the ability to repair itself when injured. When the tissues are heated, irritated or punctured (using laser, radiofrequency, carboxytherapy or needling), this causes controlled disruption in the skin, forcing an increase in blood to flow to the area, bringing along oxygen,nutrients and skin repairing growth factors, causing existing collagen to tighten and contract, and further stimulating the production of new collagen.
The effects continue to improve over time as your fresh, new collagen starts to grow. It is important to remember, though, that the stimulation and production of collagen is cumulative. This means that even though you may see results after just one treatment, the overall result will only continue to improve with regular treatments spaced one month apart.
CAUTION: It is essential to choose a reputable skin clinic that has training and certification in using these techniques, as the wrong treatment for your skin, or if the treatment is performed incorrectly, could damage your skin.
To find out more about Skin Renewal and how we can help you increase your skin’s collagen content, visit www.skinrenewal.co.za. It’s one of the many ways we can help you enjoy firmer, more youthful-looking skin for longer.
Take the quick Beyond Beauty Survey and you could win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher to spend in our online store, with free delivery within South Africa. T&Cs apply.