After the age of 25 our collagen production decreases by 1% every year. In my previous posts I have explained that collagen isn’t something we can take by supplement, nor can it be applied topically.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a protein of our skin found beneath the epidermis in the dermal layer of the skin created by a powerhouse cell called the Fibroblast. It is what gives our skin volume, smoothness and firmness. Naturally as we age the reproduction of collagen slows down and environmental factors such as sun exposure, free radicals, smoking and alcohol all destroy what we have left. Another reason why using Heliocare SPF is so important to prevent all these damaging effects on our collagen.
So how can we stimulate the ongoing production of collagen?
Vitamin C! Both internally and topically. Collagen cannot be produced without the presence of vitamin C so it is an essential for everyday to maintain collagen production. As you know from my previous post I recommend Advanced Nutrition Programme Collagen Support as a supplement. Topically the vitamin C must be in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid. This is the only bio available form of vitamin c that the skin will accept and can use. Always buy your vitamin C from a skin specialist because they will have access to this form. It is rare that you can find an active vitamin C over the counter in supermarkets. As a topical product vitamin C is sensitive to light, heat and oxygen so it should be in an airtight dispenser in a light protective bottle stored in a cool dark place. A 15% is the best percentage to use. Any higher and the vitamin C looses its stability.
SkinPen Collagen Induction Therapy. One of my favourite treatments. In order to give our wonderful Fibroblast cells that nudge they need to get producing more collagen we need to create a little bit of trauma to the skin.
Microneedling is one of the most clinically studied and proven methods for the induction of new collagen production. SkinPen is a motorised pen that uses tiny but very precise needles at predetermined depths to create microscopic injuries to the skin to kick start this wound healing process. The injury sends signals of repair to all the surrounding cells including the fibroblast cells to reform the tissue that has been damaged. The fibroblast cells fill the area very quickly with new baby collagen. This new baby collagen (type3) will, over the course of 3 months, remodel and develop into adult collagen (type 1) which makes up 90% of our bodies collagen.This specific treatment has shown in some studies to increase collagen by 300%! SkinPen Microneedling is the only form of Microneedling I recommend. Traditionally, Microneedling by rollers can cause tears in the skin as the needles go in and come out at an angle and only one depth can be used so often you can’t treat around the eye area. There are many motorised pens available where the needle depths are adjustable (shallow for the eye and neck and deeper for the different areas of concern) but the only FDA safety approved pen is the SkinPen. The tips and filters are disposed of together whereas with others the needles will be disposed of but the filter which may have sucked up blood or other bodily fluids cannot be changed, so there is always risk of cross infection. The SkinPen is much more of an investment for the treatment provider but shows the clinics commitment to safety for their clients.
What’s the downtime? Expect to have 24-48 hours redness post treatment. You are supplied with an aftercare recovery balm to soothe and help with the skins recovery. You may have some dryness and flaking for up to a week after treatment but this is a good sign of the skin shedding old skin cells because they have been replaced with fresh health ones.
Does it hurt? A topical anaesthetic is often used to numb the skin although personally I don’t because it restricts the blood supply which is rich in all the growth factors so I prefer to do the treatment without numbing cream to ensure I get the best results. It can be uncomfortable but not painful. It feels more like a scratchy electric toothbrush on the skin.
How many sessions do I need? This is something that I would recommend my clients to have once every 3-4 months as an age management programme. The skin needs that constant reminder to keep going and keep producing collagen. To see a big impactful difference I would recommend having a course of 6 on a monthly basis and then follow with a maintenance programme.
Remember to do your research, follow the science and give your skin the very best. It deserves it!