Ingredient Highlight: All About Collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and its fiber-like structure is what gives our skin strength and resilience, keeping it plump and wrinkle-free. Our bodies naturally produce Collagen, but this production decreases with age starting in our mid twenties and, for women, speeding up as we enter menopause. The result of decreased Collagen production leads not only to fine lines and sagging, but also causes the skin to become thinner and drier. Replacing Collagen, however, is not as easy as adding a supplement or cream to your daily routine. And, despite the boom in collagen powders over the last few years, there is little evidence to support that ingesting Collagen has any effect on the skin; meanwhile, as a skincare ingredient, traditional animal-derived collagen molecules are too large to be effectively absorbed through the skin.
As the primary building block of our skin, Collagen provides strength and structure
So how do we boost our bodies’ natural production of Collagen and keep our skin strong and supple? Read on to learn more about this essential skin protein and how to both preserve and stimulate the essential skin building block.
What are the Benefits of Collagen in Skin?
Collagen Boosts Elasticity
Collagen helps to maintain elasticity and firmness, which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Collagen Reduces Fine Lines and Wrinkles
Collagen can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by improving skin elasticity and promoting cell turnover. Collagen also helps to strengthen the skin's barrier and protect against environmental damage, which can lead to premature aging.
Collagen Improves Skin Hydration and Texture
Collagen helps to improve skin hydration and texture by promoting the production of Hyaluronic Acid, a natural humectant that helps to retain moisture in the skin and improve its appearance.
Collagen Reduces Scarring and Discoloration
Collagen can also help to reduce the appearance of scars and discoloration by promoting skin regeneration. Collagen can help to stimulate the growth of new skin cells, which can help to fade scars and improve overall skin tone and texture.
How To Boost Collagen Production
Collagen levels naturally decrease with age but there are also external factors that can lead to a drop in Collagen production, including sun exposure, environmental pollution, smoking, alcohol consumption, and a lack of sleep and exercise. As collagen levels decrease in the dermis (the middle layer of skin), our skin loses its strength, structure, and elasticity, leading to loss of skin tone and sagging. The good news is, there are ways to preserve Collagen in the skin and also stimulate our bodies’ natural production of Collagen. Here’s how:
Exposure to UV light damages Collagen in the skin. In fact, UV radiation can cause Collagen to break down at an even higher rate than normal aging. UV radiation is also one of the major creators of free radicals, which can also break down collagen. By limiting sun exposure and wearing a broad spectrum SPF daily, you can prevent the degradation of existing Collagen levels in the skin.
Studies show that both chemical and physical exfoliation can stimulate the production of Collagen. By removing the surface layer of dead cells, the skin is shocked into production of new cells, which helps stimulate new Collagen production. Gua sha facial massage has also been shown to help stimulate the production of Collagen, as it promotes circulation.
Try LED Light Therapy
Studies have shown that red light therapy increases Collagen growth and improves wrinkles and skin elasticity. Invest in an LED face mask or have your esthetician add an LED light therapy treatment to your regular facial. Radio frequency (RF) has also been found to stimulate the production of Collagen, as the heat causes the body to release proteins that create new Collagen fibers.
Incorporate Collagen Stimulating Ingredients Into Your Skincare Routine
While there are many skincare products that use Collagen derived from either animal sources (bovine and fish) or vegan sources (like fermented algae) using biotechnology, there are also ingredients that protect existing Collagen and stimulate the production of new Collagen in the skin.
Read on for our guide to what’s what.
Unlike animal-derived Collagen, vegan Collagen is created using genetically modified yeast that is then fermented. Because vegan Collagen molecules are smaller than their animal-derived counterparts, this ingredient is capable of penetrating the top layer of the skin and promoting new Collagen production. This Firming Serum from The Outset contains a clean, vegan Collagen in the form of a bioavailable peptide.
In skincare, Antioxidants work to prevent oxidative stress and free radical damage, which in turn both protects existing Collagen in the skin and also promotes new synthesis. By incorporating a sunscreen with powerful antioxidants such as Green Tea and Algae into your daily skincare protocol, you can protect your Collagen reserves from UV damage and boost new Collagen production in one easy step.
Peptides are chains of amino acids inside proteins that are the building blocks of skin. When applied topically, Signal Peptides, or Palmitoyl Pentapeptides, are known to stimulate the production of Collagen and Elastin and other structure proteins in the skin. Copper Peptides work as an Antioxidant, while also promoting Collagen production and removing damaged Collagen from the skin.
Retinoids are a group of Vitamin A derivatives commonly used in skincare to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. Applied topically, Retinol and its gentler plant-derived alternative Bakuchiol have been both found to speed up the turnover of surface skin cells and boost Collagen production.
While widely hailed for its brightening and antioxidant properties Vitamin C, has also been proven to stimulate collagen production. Be on the lookout for products formulated with L-Ascorbic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (MAP), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (SAP), and Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, which are all stable, effective forms of Vitamin C. This serum from Marie Veronique is formulated with multiple forms of next gen Vitamin C for the ultimate Collagen boosting combination.
Also known as Vitamin B3 or Nicotinamide, Niacinamide helps build proteins in the skin and boosts production of both Collagen and Elastin. This mask by A-list esthetician Joanna Vargas combines Antioxidants, Peptides, and Niacinamide for a multi-pronged approach.