WHAT IS COLLAGEN AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

Collagen is one of those words which we in the beauty industry tend to throw around all the time.  We stress the importance of ‘boosting collagen’ or describe it as the ‘holy grail of youth’ but do you know what it is and why you need it?

Well, collagen is a protein, and a pretty important one at that as it is found all around the body…in the bones, skin, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and the digestive organs. In the skin, collagen provides elasticity and replaces dead skin cells. In the tendons, collagen acts like glue by holding everything together.  In my book that all sounds pretty important.

Collagen is essential for youthful skin keeping it plump and wrinkle-free, but as we age our supplies drastically dwindle.. In addition to ageing, lifestyle factors like stress, poor diet, and poor gut health can all decrease the body’s ability to produce collagen and thus speeding up the ageing process.  Here’s how to top it up naturally or with the latest hi tech treatments:

Skincare

*Despite the promises, collagen creams cannot be absorbed through the skin, as the molecule is too large. It’ll sit on the surface of the skin to help lock in moisture and make it feel nice, but that’s it, so save your money.

* Some of the most effective skin ingredients that will promote collagen production include vitamin C, amino acids and copper peptide. Choose a serum containing any of these potent ingredients, as it will penetrate deeper into skin cells than a moisturiser can target.

* Retinoid creams – only available on prescription – have been proven to help boost collagen production.
Food

*Food is a great way to boost collagen naturally in the skin   Fish like tuna and salmon are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids which help create stronger cells. Dark green vegetables will boost collagen production and orange ones like carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in
vitamin A to help restore and regenerate damaged collagen. Protein is also important as it can help support the body’s natural production of collagen, particularly bone broth, eggs fish and small amounts of meat.

*High-sugar consumption can lead to collagen depletion as a high-sugar diet can damage proteins and make collagen fragile.

*Vitamin C is key to radiant, healthy skin as it acts as an antioxidant and helps produce collagen. Oranges, strawberries, broccoli, kiwi fruit are all good for you…plus they are so delicious.  Indulge!

*Boost Zinc production by including shellfish, meat, beans and peas, nuts, seeds

*And don’t forget Copper which is found in whole grains, beans, nuts, shellfish, leafy greens
At the Clinic 
*Collagen Boosting Facial
You can kick-start and boost collagen production with regular hi-tech radio frequency facials. Gwyneth Paltrow swears by them and says her favourite Collagen Wave facials have taken ‘years off her face’.  First, skin is cleansed and then a hand held device delivers radio frequency over the entire face – a smaller device is used for delicate areas under the eyes and around the mouth. There’s no downtime and a course of four monthly treatments will see plumper and tighter skin.

* Replace lost volume with Sculptra
Scupltra is an injection with a difference. It is based on Lactic acid which is a natural product found in our muscles. When it is injected in the face it replaces lost collagen and stimulates the growth of new collage. Many celebrities are secretly having Sculptra as it gives gradual results and a natural-looking, fresh-faced appearance. Sculptra is a particularly good option if you want to restore a more youthful shape to your face but don’t want a face-lift or other surgery. Nobody immediately recognizes you’re had it done, unlike dermal fillers, where the effect is more instant. Three to five treatments two months apart may be needed. A topical anesthetic may be required, and you may be bruised and/or swollen afterward. You’ll see an immediate plumping effect but best results are seen after six weeks when new collagen is stimulated.  Results last up to four years.
From £450 an area

* Regenerate Naturally
Microneedling is the crème de la crème for stimulating new collagen.  A peptide solution is massaged on the skin and then a Dermaroller, a barrel-like hand roller with hundreds of very fine needles, thinner than your own hair, is rolled over to spike the skin, leaving pin point punctures– this is perceived by the body as damage which activates a wound heal response to regenerate the skin, boost collagen levels, which in turn thickens and plumps fine skin, fading lines and reducing wrinkles. A course of three to four weekly treatments
may be required and you should see results within six weeks. A home kit is also available to prolong results.

Finally…..Do Not Smoke.  Many chemicals in tobacco smoke damage collagen and elastin, and remember that UV rays from the sun can damage collagen in our skin. When it rebuilds, it forms wrinkles — so, do what every beauty editor recommends and apply that sunscreen. Every day not just when you are on the beach.

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