You often see the word ‘collagen’ buzzing around in social media, claiming to be the Holy Grail for ageing skin. Does this mean taking over-the-counter collagen supplements can reverse the fine lines brought on by the natural ageing process? The answer lies in understanding collagen and the part it plays in rejuvenating your skin.
- What is collagen and why is it important for your skin?
As your skin’s main structural protein, collagen is estimated to account for about 25–30 percent of total protein in your body. Collagen helps form a fibrous network, upon which new dermal cells grow. It gives skin its strength, structural support and elasticity that help the renewal of skin cells. There are about 28 different types of collagen in our bodies, and only collagen-I and collagen-II impact your skin’s firmness, strength and elasticity. Collagen-III, popularly referred to as ‘Youth Collagen’ is responsible for the bounce you see in your skin. Essentially, only these three types of collagen can help to repair your skin.
- What happens when collagen levels drop and can it be replenished?
Your body produces collagen naturally, but as you age, the production of collagen slows down. This can result in the skin becoming wrinkly and saggy skin as the skin loses elasticity. The effect of collagen levels in your body can also depend on your ethnicity and other hereditary and lifestyle factors. When the collagen levels are lower, it can also cause joint aches. However, collagen can be replenished.
A certified dermatologist analyses your collagen levels by mapping your DNA. Depending on the results, the dermatologist zeros-in on the type of collagen and the treatments and/or supplements that your body requires to restore depleted collagen levels.
- What are collagen supplements and are they effective?
Collagen can be ingested in the form of a dietary supplement or functional foods and beverages. Generally, collagen as an additional supplement is available in the form of a tablet or powder. However, to know the right kind of supplement that the body requires it is vital to consult with your dermatologist. This will enable you to embark on a more comprehensive plan to counter the level of collagen depletion your body is experiencing. It will also help determine how well your body responds to collagen supplements, and even if you need a collagen treatment, to begin with.
- Will a treatment help you replenish collagen levels?
The most common clinical treatment for collagen replenishment is micro-needling skin treatment, which gets rid of semi-faded scars, acne and also allows the skin to regain the lost radiance. The procedure involves puncturing the skin with 9 or 12 pressurised needles at various places and depths of the skin. The skin then self-heals. This reaction causes the skin to produce collagen and the puncture creates micro-tunnels which help the skin in its regenerative process. It also heals moderate levels of skin issues such as blemishes, oversized pores and mild forms of acne scarring. Your dermatologist is the best person to perform this service for you. Other than micro needling, one could also try Skin Boosters and PRP—all of which boosts collagen production and rejuvenates the skin.
Ageing begins at the molecular level, and it takes years before any visible changes occur. This is why it is necessary to start early and work with your dermatologist. Your dermatologist will help you by creating skin care routines and by recommending treatments that are specific to your needs—helping you keep your skin young and radiant.