What is Collagen?
By Rene Sacchitella
You probably hear it all the time, “this serum will help promote collagen in the skin” or “this cream will help protect your collagen” or “collagen infused to give you a youthful appearance.” What exactly does this mean? What is collagen? What does collagen mean in terms of having youthful skin? How can collagen benefit my skin? We are going to dive deep into the facets of this protein spring so you can become just as savvy as a skin care professional.
Collagen is a main structural protein found in skin and connective tissues and is the most abundant protein in the human body. Cells called fibroblasts are the most common cells that create collagen, which are found the dermis. The word "collagen" is derived from the Greek "kolla," meaning glue. This glue like protein secreted by fibroblasts gives the skin its strength and structure, and also plays a role in the replacement of dead skin cells. There are at least 17 different kinds of collagen in the body but types 1,2 3 and 17 are primarily found in the dermis. Collagen 1 are the long fibers that give preserve the strength and stability of the tissue. Collagen 2 promotes the elastin in the skin to keep that youthful spring. Collagen 3 is similar to Collagen 1 yet it found deeper in the dermis and lymph nodes promoting a deeper lift. Collagen 17 or keratinocytes for a barrier against free radical damage in the upper layers of the dermis. The other types of collagen can be found in tissues ranging from the eyes, arteries, cartilage, bones, and other muscular fibers.
So what does this have to do with skincare? Our fibroblasts produce an abundant and regular production of collagens when we are younger. As we age the production slows down decreasing the amount of support and creates irregularities in how much collagen is in the dermis. This creates the skin to lose elasticity and creates wrinkles.
Looking at the diagram above we can see what that decrease in collagen production looks like to the skin. Because the support system of the skin has been compromised, deep wrinkles and elasticity are formed.
So how do we stop this from happening? Well unfortunately as of right now the decrease in collagen production is inevitable but we can do things to help the process happen less dramatically. Nutritionally we can help the formation of collagen by fibroblasts by incorporating vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that play a vital role in collagen production. Ingesting more vitamin C, manganese, copper, proline and anthocyanidins (found primarily in berries like blueberries and cherries) can help.
Free radicals like sun exposure and smoking breakdown collagen over time but also large amounts of sugar can also be detrimental in breaking down collagen production. Topical products can also help maintain beautiful amounts of collagen in the skin.
Products containing high amounts of the amino acid vitamin C, help fibroblasts produce collagen by protecting against damage of free radicals. Products also containing the most versatile antioxidant vitamin A can help as well. Also known as retinoids or the prescription Tretinoin, this powerhouse helps the reconstruction of collagen. Hydration is also key in maintaining the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis. Hydration is beneficial because it provides the right environment for collagen and elastin to thrive.
At Denver Laser Solutions our favorite products that help with collagen production vary for each unique skin type. If your skin is depleted of nutrition, boosting it with high amounts of Vitamin C can protect your collagen and refresh your skin cells. Products like Pamplemousse from YonKa and Image’s Vital C Anti-Aging Serum are perfect. For someone that needs help resurfacing their skin either from acne or wrinkles, Vitamin A can do the trick. Ranging from Retinol blends like in Image’s Ageless Anti-Aging Serum or a more powerful prescription strength of DLS skincare
Services at Denver Laser Solution that can help the production of collagen are fractional laser services or dermal needling, photofacial or a chemical peel to name a few. Depending on your skin care goals and concerns Come by for a complimentary consultation so our certified Medical Estheticians can give you expert recommendations for your skin goals and concerns. Ask us today how increasing collagen production can benefit your skin!