We all notice differences in our skin as we age. Pores get larger, fine lines appear, and our skin seems to lose that glow it had when we were twenty.
The source of all of this trauma? Collagen loss. Our bodies are naturally always in the process of both breaking down old collagen, and making new collagen to replace it – a process called ‘turn-over’. When we are in our teens and twenties we are making new collagen faster than we are breaking down old collagen, so our skin is getting thicker, healthier, and stronger every day.
And we sure take it for granted – don’t we? I know I did! Here’s what you need to know about diminished collagen production, and how to get that youthful glow back now that you’ll really appreciate it.
What is collagen?
Collagen is a structural and elastic molecule. I think of it as both the foundation of our skin’s strength, and the source of its tautness. When we hit our thirties we start to break down collagen faster than we make it. We don’t see the signs of this at first, but over time we start to see the consequences of having less collagen in our skin: Our skin becomes thinner and weaker – resulting in fine lines, enlarged pores, and sagging skin.
What can we do about reduced collagen production?
Turns out a lot! Think about muscle. We naturally lose muscle mass as we age, but by going to the gym and eating right, we can maintain the muscle we have, and even build new muscle! Skin is the same – but instead of eating right and going to the gym, we need to use the right medical grade skin care, and have regular collagen-building treatments.
There are many treatments that can be used to build collagen. Using the gym analogy – you can do cardio, you can lift weights, do Yoga classes, you name it! All of these things will help you build a healthy body, regardless of how different they are. Now think of the various collagen building treatments – like lasers, peels, or microneedling – the same way you would all of these exercise examples.
Different types of exercise will transform your body in different ways – weights carve muscle, cardio makes you lean, and yoga makes you flexible. Collagen treatments are similar. Some will create more collagen than others, some will produce less, but have other benefits like reducing reds or browns in the skin, some have more downtime, and some have less. Microneedling is my personal favorite for pure skin regeneration because it has the most collagen stimulation with the least downtime.
There are a few things to think about when selecting a collagen-stimulating treatment. For example – How much downtime will you experience? How long till you see results? What other peripheral benefits exist (like reducing brown / red spots or scar tissue)?
I consider microneedling the foundation of keeping skin healthy. Six treatments over six months can roll five to seven years off your skin with only one or two days of redness and flaking each time.Plus, just three to four treatments a year will maintain your skin at a healthy, glowing thirty. For how long? Honestly, I’ve been using it for about 10 years, and my skin has not aged – but I’ll keep you posted!
Check out some before and after pictures of what microneedling can do for your skin!
Medical Microneedling should not be confused with home needling. Home needling devices generally have short (.25mm) needles and are used two to three times a week to reduce pore size, and oil production. Medical microneedling penetrates up to 12 times deeper into the skin. When needles reach this depth, they trigger the body’s natural healing response which produces new collagen, leading to reduction in fine lines (look at the upper lip, and below the eyes) as well as improvements in skin tone and texture.
The growth of collagen triggered by microneedling will make your skin thicker and healthier. With repeated treatments, fine lines will fill in and wrinkles will be reduced in depth – an effect that is usually visible after three to four treatments.
Microneedling is one of the safest skin treatments in esthetics, delivering results similar to deep fractional lasers without the downtime, pain and risk. Collagen can fill in fine lines, but it can also fill in scar tissue – such as the acne scarring seen here – as well as surgical or traumatic scarring.