Collagen is one of those words that is routinely thrown around the anti-aging skincare market. But what does it do exactly? And is it worth incorporating into your skincare routine or is it just a buzzword?
Why Does Collagen Matter?
Collagen is a protein present in all the body’s organs and tissues and provides the matrix that sustains the body’s structure. Collagen’s main function is to sustain tendons, skin and cartilage while providing firmness and elasticity to their structures. According to Dr. Leslie Baumann in Cosmetic Dermatology, collagen production decreases by approximately 1 percent with each year of age after maturity, leading to a loss in firmness and elasticity of skin.
“Collagen gives our skin its plumpness,” Dr. Amy Wechsler told Into the Gloss. “We start to lose collagen probably around age 18, actually—it starts to slowly diminish. There are things we do to our skin or that we’re exposed to that break down collagen more quickly than in the normal aging process.”
One of the best ways to avoid breaking down the collagen in our skin is…don’t smoke! There are a lot of health reasons you should avoid smoking, but from an aging standpoint, nothing breaks down your collagen faster than cigarettes. Secondly, wear sunscreen every day and limit your UV exposure. You should still be using an SPF even during the cold winter months. Finally eat – and topically apply – lots of antioxidants.
How to Rebuild Collagen
If you’re looking to increase collagen production you have a few different options. The first being dermal fillers. Collagen has been widely used in cosmetic surgery, and both human and bovine collagen is used as dermal fillers for treatment of wrinkles and skin aging.
If you’re afraid of needles, you can try phototherapy! LED phototherapy repairs sun damage and increases collagen and elastin production, although “lasers and peels have faster, more substantial results, but more side effects,” according to Seung Yoon Lee, a dermatologist at the National Medical Center in South Korea. With regards to LED therapy’s fewer side effects, Lee adds, “LED is safe for dark skin, unlike some lasers.”
The final option is topical peptide treatments. While collagen as a skincare ingredient will hydrate your skin, unfortunately it has never been shown to stimulate synthesis or growth. On a molecular basis, according to Dr. Leslie Baumann in Cosmetic Dermatology, topically applied collagen is too large to cross through the stratum corneum. Collagens have molecular weights of 15000 to 50000 daltons, but only molecules of molecular weight 5000 or less can typically penetrate the skin.
That is where peptides come in! Palmitoyl pentapeptide-3 has been shown to stimulate feedback regulation of new collagen synthesis and to result in an increased production of extracellular matrix proteins. Palmitoyl oligopeptide is another great collagen-stimulating peptide. Studies suggests that palmitoyl oligopeptide significantly stimulates human skin collagen production in fibroblasts, which may slow the degradation of collagen over time.
Collagen and peptides are a great anti-aging team! Together they hydrate the skin and stimulate collagen production to result in firm, glowing skin. You can find both of these powerhouse ingredients in our Collagen Lift serum.