By Nieves Sevilla
Collagen. It’s there on every label. From creams and cosmetics, to oral supplements or facial treatments, we see this word multiple times every day.
But what exactly is it?
Collagen is the main structural protein in our bodies, providing strength to our connective tissues. This precious molecule also repairs damage and allows our tissues to regenerate. Achieving natural, healthy looking skin, hair and nails depend greatly on the quality of our collagen fibers and the ability to synthesize it.
The body produces collagen naturally. However, as we grow older, our collagen production starts to decline, normally at the age of 25 is when collagen and its capacity to synthesize starts to be considerably reduced.
Other factors affecting our collagen structures are sun exposure and smoking, also a poor diet with not enough proteins and vitamins contribute to collagen deterioration, and that’s why a healthy lifestyle is key to keeping a beautiful skin.
As we age, collagen deterioration can be seen on the outside and felt on the inside. Signs of aging such as fine lines, nail fragility, hair thinning, or joint pain demonstrates the deterioration of collagen fibers.
However, it’s not all bad news, there are many ways we can improve our collagen production, and here are some of my favourite and most recommended!
Microneedling increases the production of collagen and other healing factors, by causing a controlled trauma to the skin with tiny medical grade needles.
This treatment can be performed under numbing cream to minimise the discomfort of the small needles penetrating the skin, this procedure triggers the body’s natural response to wound healing. Resulting in new collagen production, which encourages a stronger and firmer skin complexion.
It is important to realize that microneedling is not a quick fix, as it involves the growth of new skin collagen fibers. It can take several weeks for a person to see the full results of the procedure.
I would recommend a course of three sessions, four weeks apart to start with. Followed for a maintenance of one session every couple of months.
When talking about collagen synthesis, this vitamin is key to encourage the natural process. Even though there are many ways of taking and administering vitamin C, I might say that the best route for optimum absorption is orally or intravenously with a drip.
I always recommend to my patients to take 2g daily one week before a microneedling session and continue its intake for 6 weeks.
Collagen is a big protein and can be hard to absorb. Perhaps this powder formulas contain all the essential amino acids needed for collagen to build up, but it is always good to choose hydrolysed powder formulas to ease the absorption.
My favourite one, which is free of any added sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavours is the Correxiko Premium Marine Collagen Peptides available here, or if you are looking for a vegan option, Vegavero MSM Powder is my favourite, available here.
In my opinion, collagen must be synthetized by our bodies in order to improve collagen levels in the skin. It is why I am not a big fan of the creams or serums containing collagen as an active ingredient.
However, a great active ingredient to look for in your creams or serums is Retinol.
Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A that helps boost collagen production and aid in cell turnover. By adding a few drops of Rosehip oil in your cream, which is high in vitamin A you will benefit from this powerful nature’s ingredients too. My favourites are Pure Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Oil by Cut.Le.Crap. Available here and the Retinol Cream Organic by I’m Fabulous available here.
Always encourage your body to regenerate and heal with its own natural power. Our bodies might sometimes need a little push in the right direction, but everything will flow as it is meant to.