What is Collagen??

What Is Collagen??

Collagen is a fiber in the connective tissue throughout your body, most noticeably in the face. As we age, our bodies naturally stop producing collagen and unfortunately our existing collagen begins to break down. This leads to facial sagging and wrinkles.

By the age of 25 we start to lose 1% of our collagen per year, by our mid 30’s, its 2% per year, and in our 40’s and 50’s it’s up to 4% per year!

Let’s Face It!  We ALL want supple, youthful, glowing skin, right?  So how do we tend to this breakdown of collagen and keep our skin looking young and healthy for as long as we can?  First and foremost, we must pay strict attention to our sun exposure! UV rays are responsible for a huge percentage of collagen and elastin breakdown.  A daily sunscreen is a must, even on overcast days. Remember that the sun is the #1 cause of actinic aging, so don’t allow it to, wear an SPF of 30 or more!

Another sure fire way to help with producing new collagen is to challenge the skin and through exfoliation.  This can be done through getting regular exfoliation treatments (i.e. chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning) with your esthetician as well as doing a manual weekly exfoliation as part of your home care regimen.  By removing the layers of dead surface cells and build up from the skin (causing minor injury to the skin), it is “shocked” into producing new cells which also helps stimulate new collagen production!  We can equate exfoliation of our skin to a workout at the gym…when we work out our muscles they regenerate and come back stronger and/or more tone.  Exfoliation helps keep your skin “in shape” and healthy as well as producing more collagen.

While a monthly or bi-weekly visit to your esthetician is a great way to help keep your skin healthy, a good home care regimen is also important to maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Vitamin C is crucial to holding on to collagen.  Humans are actually 1 of 2 mammals on the planet that do not produce their own vitamin C.  So while taking a vit c supplement can help, it is also very important to apply a topical serum in order to prevent some of the breakdown of collagen and elastin and to promote a boost in production of both as well.  

Retinol is another collagen booster.  It has been proven to help fight the breakdown of collagen and it also helps with the formation of new collagen.  Win win! There are also many other benefits from using retinol. It not only firms and tightens the skin, but also helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles, unclog and tighten pores, and helps lighten dark spots.  This is simply a must in daily home care.

Peptides in skincare products such as moisturizers, cremes and serums help promote collagen production by sending the skin messages that it has lost collagen and needs to generate more!  This helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles and can also aid in wound repair to improve conditions such as eczema and dermatitis. There also neuropeptides, which are important because they have the ability to penetrate your skin more deeply to do the most good.  The peptide Argireline (Acetyl hexapeptide) has been marketed as a safer, less expensive, and non-invasive alternative to Botox. This anti-aging peptide works by causing facial muscles to relax, thereby minimizing wrinkles.

Many people ask if taking a collagen supplement or drinking a powder mixture can help produce collagen within the skin.  It has been said that “it doesn’t make sense that you would ingest something which would be digested and broken down, then circulate throughout the body and make it to your skin.  Most collagen supplements contain animal by-products such as chicken feet and cow hide and are not regulated by the FDA.” 1. Dr. Eva Hurst, an associate professor of dermatology at Washington University in St. Louis, 2. NBC News Health Editor Madelyn Fernstrom.


So in closing, Let’s slow the breakdown of collagen and elastin and boost their production!
Sunscreen, sunscreen, SUNSCREEN! We have to stop the sun from causing damage to our collagen and our cell’s DNA.
Exfoliation, bi-weekly chemical peels (series, 3 month process), monthly chemical peels or microdermabrasion, and weekly at home manual exfoliation.
Good home care, cleansing, serums, moisture (if needed) eye cream, Vitamin C and Retinol are a must!
And don’t forget to eat a protein and antioxidant rich diet to help from within.


Heather Tolsma

Owner/Licensed Aesthetician

Let’s Face It! Aesthetics, LLC