Everyone’s talking about collagen - pills, gels, powders, treatments and more. But what actually is collagen and why is it so important for plump, firm, radiant skin? Our Senior Brand Ambassador, Emma Coleman, tells all…
WHAT IS COLLAGEN?
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, accounting for approximately 30% of protein tissue. Its fibre-like structure is used to make connective tissue and it is a major component of bone, skin, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It helps to make tissues strong and resilient and elasticized. Collagen is not naturally found on skin’s surface but in deeper layers, which is why it is an ingredient often included in creams and serums.
WHY DO WE NEED MORE OF IT?
The body naturally produces less collagen as we age, and existing collagen breaks down at a faster rate. As the years pass, the collagen we do produce is also lower in quality than what it was in youth. According to the American Journal of Dermatology, women’s skin loses about 30% of its collagen during the first five years of menopause due to a reduction in oestrogen in the body. After that, the decline is more gradual. Women lose about 2% of their collagen every year over the next 20 year period. For men too, the body produces less collagen with age, and existing collagen breaks down at a faster rate.
HOW CAN WE INCREASE COLLAGEN?
Working from the outside, in:
Microcurrent treatment has been shown to significantly improve production of connective tissue including collagen in skin after 10 days of use (1). Another study provided evidence of increase in fibroblast and collagen fibres following application of Microcurrent over a 21-day period (2). Microcurrent treatment can now be done easily and cost-effectively with at-home handheld devices such as the MAGNITONE LiftOff®, which has been clinically proven to improve skin firmness an average 26% with regular use over 4 weeks.
Radiofrequency (or Remidelling) treatments use heat to increase molecular vibrations in skin, leading to increased collagen production. One biopsy study provided evidence that skin collagen increased from 9% to 25% after four weekly sessions (3). At-home radiofrequency devices are also becoming more readily available, watch this space for an exciting new launch later this year!
Working from the inside, out:
Collagen supplements come in the form of tablets, powders, gels and drinks and have become popular in recent years. There is clinical evidence to support the efficacy of these types of supplements, but you will need to do some research on a brand by brand basis. Some examples of these brands are our GenM partners such as Kollo and Pura Collagen.
HOW CAN COLLAGEN BE BOOSTED DURING MENOPAUSE?
During the peri and post-menopause periods, collagen production is best encouraged through combination therapies, including in-clinic treatments and skincare. Retinol (or Tretinoin) is a Vitamin A derivative which encourages cell turnover to become accelerated. This boosts collagen production and also helps to thicken the skin which may become depleted due to loss of oestrogen in the body. I recommend prescription retinol use once daily at night, alongside a course of Microcurrent or Radiofrequency for optimum collagen enhancement during and after the menopause.