Monday, July 24, 2017

Collagen & Skin: What’s All the Hype?

This post is sponsored by Dr. Mark Jewell. 

Good morning! Today I am so excited to have a guest post from Dr. Mark Jewell's office, where I was able to get a hydrafacial last year (see that post here). As I'm getting older (turning 26 in a few months... yikes;), I am definitely more conscious of my skin regime. I believe the first step to having good skincare is education - learn about it! I never really understood what collagen was, and I'm sure some of you have questions as well - take a read at the post below for lots of useful information! xo

If you're like me, you may be slightly paranoid about premature aging. I often joke to my friends that I'm part of the “12-Step Program” – my personal skincare routine consisting of a dozen anti-aging cleansers, creams, lotions, and potions that I slather on religiously every night.

Do I need that many products? Maybe. Maybe not. But considering the fact that wrinkle formation can start as soon as your early 20s, I prefer to keep my bases covered.
There's definitely no shortage of anti-aging products. And among the laundry list of skin-smoothing treatments available, one has been receiving a lot of attention lately: collagen. Collagen is a protein comprised of amino acids that's found in the skin and connective tissues. It's a major component of our bone and joint health, as is responsible for giving our skin its elasticity or “bounce.” It's also the reason why, if you gain and lose a little bit of weight, your skin can stretch and shrink accordingly. Collagen keeps our skin looking plump, hydrated, and smooth. Basically, it's kind of a big deal.    
But unfortunately, as we age, our body makes less of it. And when this happens, that's when things really start to go downhill: your skin becomes less elastic, your pores start to stretch, your cellular renewal slows, your skin loses volume, and wrinkles start to set in. Many experts used to believe that this process didn't start until our mid-30s. But actually, collagen production starts to dwindle at a rate of about 1% each year beginning at age 20.
But luckily, there are a number of ways you can help your skin produce more collagen – from supplements to skincare products, and even collagen infused beer. Let's take a look at some of the options:
  • Collagen supplements: Ingesting collagen through oral supplements is said to improve your hair, skin, nails, and joints. These supplements may be in the form of a powder, paste, or pill, and may be derived from a number of sources, including animals, plant extracts, and marine sources. Although the market for collagen supplements has exploded recently, there's still much debate about whether or not collagen from a pill finds its way to your most stubborn wrinkle. Although, it may help improve tendon and joint function.
  • Skin care products: Using collagen-boosting skincare products is another common home remedy people use to keep wrinkles at bay. Some ingredients that are believed to help enhance your collagen production include over-the-counter retinol, prescription Retin-A, alpha hydroxy acids, and glycolic acid. Many dermatologists also recommend preserving the collagen you have by using products that contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and E, green tea, B vitamins, and resveratrol. Of course, using a good sunscreen to protect your skin from environmental damage is also strongly recommended.
When to Bring in the Big Guns
Perhaps some of the most effective and proven ways to help your skin build more collagen include more intensive treatments like those found at a medical spa. These treatments are typically more aggressive, sometimes requiring a short recovery period, but they provide more dramatic results.
  • Injections: Some injectable treatments like Sculptra® are believed to boost collagen production while also adding volume to your skin. Sculptra is a filler material made from a synthetic material called poly-L-lactic acid. When injected under the skin, the body responds by making more collagen. This provides cumulative benefits over time – making the skin smoother and suppler.
  • Ultrasound technology: Treatments like Ultherapy use ultrasound energy to attain more youthful-looking skin. According to the website of Dr. Mark Jewell, who offers Ultherapy in Oregon, this nonsurgical procedure “relies on the body's own regenerative process to stimulate the natural creation of collagen and elastin.” This results in smoother, firmer skin with each treatment.

  • Lasers: Laser technology works similarly to ultrasound technology by heating up the tissues (actually damaging them), which then causes the skin to repair itself and create more collagen molecules. There are a number of laser treatments available, all of which help boost collagen, so find one that best meets your specific skin needs.  
It’s important to remember that prevention is one of the best strategies to minimize wrinkle formation and slow collagen loss. Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, drink in moderation, and don’t smoke (or quit if you do). And never, ever skimp on sunscreen.

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