As we age, a number of different changes take place in the skin. It begins to get looser, starting to sag and lose firmness, form wrinkles, and often develop brown pigmentation. It’s not possible to stop aging altogether, but there are options for slowing down the process significantly and keeping your skin looking youthful and vibrant as long as possible. If you’ve been looking into anti-aging products, then you’ve probably heard collagen used as a buzzword in the skincare industry lately, with many products claiming to support, strengthen, or create additional collagen, but what exactly does collagen do for the skin, and why does production start slowing down with age?
What is Collagen and What Does it Do?
Collagen is a connective, supportive protein that supports the skin and forms other connective tissue. Collagen forms the foundation of the skin, giving it elasticity and firmness. The structure provided by collagen gives the skin a smooth, glowing look that is the hallmark of youth.
Abundance in Youth
Youthful skin is beautiful—glowing, firm, and smooth. This is largely due to the abundance of collagen in the skin, and once any acne has settled down, young people can expect some of the best skin of their life. This is the best time to start practicing good skincare habits and protecting existing collagen—a topic we’ll discuss more a little later.
Collagen Depletion and Degradation
Unfortunately, as with other processes in the body, collagen loss is simply a fact of life that starts taking effect when you’re as young as 25. The body gradually begins to slow down the production of collagen, triggering the aging process. How fast this process occurs depends on many different factors, including genetics and lifestyle. When collagen starts to break down and become less plentiful, the unsavory signs of aging start—wrinkles, sagging skin, a dull complexion, and more.
Once you reach middle age, much of your existing collagen will have broken down, and less collagen will be in production to replace it. So how can you fight this process and keep your skin looking young longer?
Protecting Existing Collagen
No matter what age you are, protecting the collagen you still have should be a priority in maintaining beautiful skin. You can work toward this goal in a couple of ways. The first major step is to protect your skin from the sun. The ultraviolet (UV) rays break down collagen in the skin over time, causing it to lose elasticity and age prematurely. Using sunscreen and practicing good habits like avoiding the sun during peak hours can help prevent skin cancer and protect your collagen.
Diet is another factor that can have an effect on protecting existing collagen. Sugar breaks down the protein, resulting in dull, wrinkled skin. By keeping sugars in the diet to a minimum, you’ll see numerous health benefits, as well as aesthetic perks.
Finally, a good skincare routine can help protect your collagen. Practice good washing, moisturizing, and exfoliating habits, and make sure you’re diligent about what products you use, including makeup.
Encouraging Collagen Production
There are some subtle ways you can help your body produce more collagen over time, but don’t count on these methods to make a dramatic impact on your skin’s appearance. Treatments to try at home that might boost collagen production include:
- Peptide products
- Vitamin C serum
- Amino acid skincare products
Popular Anti-Aging Procedures
Are your at-home efforts just not cutting it? Don’t despair, there are many different cosmetic treatments available that specifically work to increase collagen production and improve the overall appearance of the skin. Many of these treatments require little to no downtime and are affordable for many people coping with the effects of aging.
Talk to an Expert
There is a wide number of treatments that can help the body increase collagen production and improve the appearance of the skin. However, it can be hard to navigate your options alone, which is where the opinion of an expert, board certified plastic surgeon comes in. Only someone who understands the intricacies of facial aging can help you determine which procedure is appropriate for your needs.
Our team of experienced plastic surgeons offer a wide range of anti-aging solutions to suit every need and budget. Curious to know what you could accomplish with cosmetic treatments? Call Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery at (866-487-3223) to schedule a complimentary consultation with our board certified surgeons in Birmingham, or Dearborn, MI.