The Truth About Boosting Collagen In Your Face
As we age however, our collagen levels deplete, falling at roughly 1.5 per cent a year for both men and women (although when women hit menopause their collagen levels fall more steeply). A decline in collagen levels can mean everything from more wrinkled skin to brittle nails and slower muscle recovery.
Boosting collagen is unsurprisingly, seen as the holy grail in many beauty products and treatments with many people prepared to go to great lengths for plumped up “juicy” looking skin and a supple body. Some will go that one step further. Luton Town Footballer Andros Townsend, 32, speaking last week on 5 Live’s Monday Night Club says he thinks his daily intake of steamed chicken feet (he eats 5 or 6 per night) maintains a robust collagen supply to keep him sprightly on and off the pitch.
While most nutritionists would applaud the protein intake from the chicken feet (and the fact they are high in collagen) eating them alone doesn’t necessarily mean these converts to collagen in the face or body.
Our quest for robust collagen also explains the current booming collagen supplement market – but do they work? High quality scientific papers have failed to demonstrate that collagen from supplements can replace the lost collagen in the ageing skin at least. Clinical studies supporting the use of collagen supplements are usually poorly designed and sponsored by the companies that produce the supplements.
Whilst collagen supplements don’t work, we can prevent collagen breakdown and support our body’s collagen production. The interesting thing about collagen is that once you are producing more of it, it causes a domino effect. The more you have, the more the body can produce.
Always wear SPFConsultant Dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch reminds us that, “UV rays will speed up the decline in collagen production in the skin. And remember UVA rays come through clouds and windows even on a rainy day in the UK so it’s imperative to wear an SPF 30 every day of the year above to protect our skin and obviously avoid excessive sun exposure.”
Studies have shown that vitamin C is essential for replenishing collagen – but it must be part of a healthy balanced diet. As far as the vitamin C goes, look to up your intake of citrus fruits – and any orangey vegetables at this time of year. Pumpkins and sweet potato are good sources of vitamin C.
Do Collagen Supplements work for the skin?Consultant dermatologist Dr Ophelia Veraitch is unequivocal on the subject, “I really don’t know any dermatologist that would say buying expensive collagen supplements will have any effect on the skin’s appearance. You’ll have much more of a positive effect on your collagen levels by wearing an SPF every day. Taking a good multi-vitamin also helps aid hair, nail and skin health. My hair vitamins have a well-researched and precise blend of vitamins C, D, B12, folate, iron, selenium and zinc for maintaining healthy hair but can also have a beneficial effect on the skin and general well being too”.
Which in-clinic treatments work to increase collagen in the skin?Unsurprisingly, recent years have seen a huge boost in collagen boosting non-surgical treatments in clinics which promise to boost declining collagen production. It’s often the ones which have been tried and tested for many years which are most effective:
Thermage FLXThermage isn’t a new treatment, but it works. Thermage FLX is the most recent version of the treatment which is a non invasive method of delivering Radiofrequency under the skin’s surface to heat the collagen rich deep layers and stimulate collagen production over the coming months. There is often an instant tightening of the skin’s appearance (it’s particularly good on jawlines but can even be used on the upper eyelids and can be offered as an alternative to blepharoplasty for some patients. It also has good results on the neck and tightening areas of the body such as upper arms or loose skin on the stomach.
Fraxel laserFraxel is a non-invasive microscopic laser which can literally change the surface of the skin on the face, neck and decolletage by penetrating your skin to encourage new collagen growth. Fraxel only targets a fraction of the skin at a time which is why it’s also known as fractional skin-resurfacing treatment.
It’s a non ablative laser which means it only heats up the tissue beneath the skin to stimulate new collagen growth. Over time, and with multiple sessions, it can also help fade acne scars and pigmentation while subtly tightening fine lines.
Dermal FillersWhile dermal fillers won’t boost collagen production, they can have a brilliant result for re-creating lost volume due to a decline in collagen. So in other words, they won’t treat the cause but they’ll fix the problem. Lots of people are cautious about dermal filler and rightly so as we’ve all seen over-filled lips and cheeks on programmes such as ‘Love Island’, but artfully placed subtle filler can work wonders on a face be it gently smoothing out the lines from the nose to mouth, softly redefining the cupids bow on someone who has lost volume in their top lip or even tightening a jawline.
Skin Boosters such as Profhilo and Polynucleotides
Both Profhilo and the newer injectable, Polynucleotides are injectables which offer both short and long term skin boosting by stimulating collagen production within the skin. Profhilo injections are essentially injections of hyaluronic acid into the skin whereas polynucleotides are chains of nucleotides (stretchy molecules) made up of fish derived fragments which mimic human DNA). Polynucleotides boost collagen by stimulating the fibroblast cells, as well as restoring skin tone and elasticity. Skin boosters won’t add volume but will create more collagen production over time. Lots of patients see great results particularly around the eye area and also on crepey necks with skin booster injections.
Each of these treatments is available in clinic with Dr. Veraitch, following a consultation. If you would like to get started, you can book an appointment here.