If you are a frequent skincare consumer (or read beauty articles), you’ve without a doubt read that collagen is essential for maintaining a youthful appearance. You know it’s vital to your skin, and you especially know it is something you need in your anti-aging routine. But what is collagen, and how can you really boost it? Does consuming it make you look younger, or is it a buzzword used in beauty marketing? Let’s take a closer look at collagen and what modern tools are needed to keep it flowing.
Different types of collagen
To simplify collagen’s definition, it is a protein that creates structure all over your body, including the structure of your face, fingernails, and bones. It acts as a cement that glues together cells to create supportive strands. Although there are 28 types of collagen in our body, there are only five significant types of collagen that are the most crucial.
According to renewalliance.com, Type I Collagen is the most abundant in our body (over 90%) and stronger than steel by weight. It is found in our skin, hair, nails, muscle, joints, and organs.
Type II Collagen makes up movable joints.
Type III (the so-called ‘baby collagen’) is the second most abundant collagen in human tissue.
Type IV forms basal lamina, the epithelium-secreted layer of the basement membrane.
Type V is present in cell surfaces, hair and placenta.
Did you know that collagen was this important to your body as a whole? It is the key protein that creates beautiful and healthy-looking skin.
The bad news about collagen is that we lose it. When we turn about 25 years of age, our collagen production starts to put on the brakes a bit, then slows down dramatically after age 30. We lose about 1-2% of collagen each year after 30! You will inevitably compromise your collagen levels if you smoke cigarettes or get too much sun or pollution exposure.
When you start to see lines and wrinkles form on the face, your Type 1 and Type 5 collagen is starting to slow down in production. Usually, it is around this time when consumers begin to panic and buy every anti-aging cream on the market in hopes to reverse the damage. While the world isn’t going to end when you get crow’s feet, it may cause you to start to explore anti-aging options that are out on the market.
What can you do to boost collagen?
There are plenty of products on the market that claim to be the fountain of youth, but are you willing to go through expensive and exhaustive trials to find out? Here are two suggestions that combine natural collagen boosters along with some help from laser technology to help create firmer and more supple skin.
One way many consumers get their daily dose of collagen is to consume it through supplements. This subject is controversial because there have not been many scientific studies done on the effects of consumed collagen yet. Studies that were conducted were performed on very small groups, although the results reported have so far been impressive.
A study done in 2014 of 69 women ages 35 to 55 found that those who consumed 2.5 or 5 grams of collagen every day for two months showed improved elasticity of the skin compared with the group that did not take the collagen.
According to WebMD.com, U.S. consumers were expected to spend $122 million on collagen products in 2018–30% up from 2017. As you can see from this example, collagen supplements and products are a seriously growing trend–but according to doctors, the quality of the supplement is important.
According to WebMD.com, you should choose a collagen supplement from a company that chooses their bones and tissues from cage-free, free-range, and antibiotic-free sources. They also suggest that you shop around for a trusted brand with a third-party label, like NSF or USP. WebMD also suggests that you stay clear of collagen supplements that contain probiotics, fiber, or other types of additives which could interact with the collagen and make it less effective.
OrganicAuthority.com has a nice top 10 collagen supplements list, where their choices were determined using sources like the FDA and the non-GMO Project.
Today’s skin rejuvenating lasers, like Tria’s SmoothBeauty Laser for the face, are made to penetrate the surface of the skin using a non-ablative fractional laser that does not wound the skin as the stronger ablative laser does. This laser has several benefits that include stimulating collagen production to fade wrinkles and smooth out the texture and exfoliating the surface of the skin to help brighten dark areas and give the skin a healthy glow.
How non-ablative fractional lasers work: The laser’s heat promotes collagen production, which triggers the skin to tighten up. Thousands of tiny columns are created by the fractional laser to stimulate a healing response, resulting in less visible crepey-ness and wrinkles along with a smoother texture.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), non-ablative laser treatments cost about $1,031 per session in the medical office, and it will take several sessions for most people in order to see good results. Tria’s SmoothBeauty Laser for at-home use targets beams of light deep within the skin to stimulate collagen production the same way that professional laser treatments do. In other words, you’re getting the same technology, but for a fraction of the cost of one session of laser treatment. No trips to the clinic and everything is done on your schedule!
Apply the sunscreen!
One more tip that will help you save your precious collagen: Use SPF 30 or more. A majority of your collagen is lost through UV exposure, so make sure you find a good SPF moisturizer or sunblock that you can wear daily.