You might have heard that increasing your collagen intake or adding it to your daily routine can help with a skin’s firmness and general appearance. And while it might seem like a new trend, collagen is actually produced naturally by our bodies. Here we explain what it is and the steps you can take to boost its natural benefits.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a key protein in our body that helps to keep our skin taut and strong, plus it works to replace dead skin cells. It’s made up of 18 different amino acids which serve as the building blocks of protein that form our hair, muscles, bone and of course, skin. When your body has plenty of it, collagen helps to make our skin look more youthful. Unfortunately, as we age, the body’s ability to produce collagen begins to decline.
How to boost collagen naturally
There is an abundance of emerging research in the skincare industry. A German study conducted in 2014 by the University of Kiel found skin elasticity improved in women aged between 35 and 55 years who took a dietary collagen supplement for 12 months (compared to those who took a placebo).
Increasing your daily intake of all antioxidants, especially vitamin C, is essential to stimulating the production of collagen. As are foods rich in sulphur. Eat as many varieties of fresh wholefoods – kiwi fruit is particularly good, as are oranges, almonds, carrots, avocadoes, garlic and dark green leafy vegetables – as you can at every meal.
We recommend avoiding, wherever possible, sugar, smoking and spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen.
Massage can also stimulate collagen production, so build upwards movements into your daily routine as you apply skincare products.
What about collagen creams?
The collagen molecule can’t penetrate the skin, so you need to look for a product that has includes the amino acids that help to produce collagen. They could be called something like a protein and peptide complex on the packaging. Otherwise, look for products that are high in vitamins C and E, both of which help with collagen production.
Can I get a treatment?
There is some evidence to suggest that microdermabrasion can stimulate the production of collagen, although microneedling and Ultraformer III treatments are better alternatives. The tiny pinpricks made during the procedure cause microscopic injuries to the deeper dermal layers of the skin, which in turns triggers both collagen and elastin production increase to help with healing.
Microneedling is relatively painless but a topical anaesthetic cream can also be used to ease discomfort, and the procedure can take as little as 10 minutes. Afterwards, your clinician will use products high in retinoid (vitamin A) and antioxidants, including vitamin C, to boost skin regeneration.
Improvements in the skin can usually be seen in three to four weeks, with changes ongoing over the coming months. Results can also be improved by combining microneedling with chemical peels and adding platelet-rich plasma during one of our Factor4 treatments.