Beauty and Lifestyle Expert
Collagen is the key protein to unlocking plumper, luminous and more youthful skin. This is fine if you’re twenty and full of it, but as you age, collagen production needs a kick in the pants! Here are your options for ways to boost your collagen levels.
Image via Harpers Bazaar
There is an array of laser procedures available in-clinic, including laser resurfacing, IPL (Intensed Pulse Light), Laser Genesis, Titan Laser…and the list goes on. Confused? Well, if you are in between the approximate ages of 30-60 and feel your complexion has lost some of its youthful contour and skin could do with a renewed level of ‘zing’, then there is likely a laser option that can help.
Laser’s work to heat the collagen proteins to specific temperatures, creating a natural biological reaction, explains Derya Koch from The Victorian Dermal Group. “Collagen production is triggered and over a period of about six months, new collagen grows to further tighten the skin,” she explains. “When skin is wounded like this, our body instantly works to heal the wound by creating new collagen, resulting in immediate tightening and long term rejuvenation.”
To Note: This non-invasive treatment provides long term, natural results because you are stimulating your own collagen production as opposed to undergoing anti-wrinkle procedures (such as Botox or peels) that only work on the surface, notes Koch. “But the results take time,” she cautions, so be prepared to see the best results over six months to a year.
Pre-peel preparation is important if you want better results, therefore consider introducing healthy lifestyle choices today. Foods to make fast friends with include collagen stimulating Omega-3’s – salmon, flaxseeds and Tofu – and exercise is also important in order to help your bolster your immune system and subsequent recovery time. Lastly, lavish your skin with the kindest of skincare to ensure it is hydrated prior to laser.
Stem cell therapy
“Anyone with loss of skin elasticity, generally around late 30’s is a candidate for Stem Cell Therapy,” explains Cosmetic Physician, Dr Joseph Hkeik. With results that last from one to two years, Stem Cell Therapy uses your own natural, regenerative stem cells – which are found in fat tissue – to repair damaged tissue when injected into a specific area of the body. “They can make different cell types or they can direct other cells to heal or grow,” explains Dr Hkeik. “In the case of collagen production, the stems cells theoretically stimulate the fibroblasts (the cells responsible for making collagen) to produce an abundant amount of collagen.”
Patients need to undergo a liposuction procedure to harvest the stem cells and there is downtime from discomfort, swelling, bruising, redness and tenderness afterwards, explains Dr Hkeik. “After injecting the stem cells, you might get redness in the area, slight temperature increase and occasional palpitation – very briefly,” he says. Generally speaking, the repair process of the skin can take two to three months to complete, although visibly improved results are generally evident well before then.
Dr Hkeik notes that more research is needed on a large scale to evaluate the benefits of Stem Cell Therapy. “And since it is an invasive treatment, don’t rush into making the decision to undergo this procedure,” he advises. As Stem Cell Therapy is not as widely available as some others like laser or Botox, it is important to only visit a clinic that is reputable and specialises in the procedure. There is no governing body that policies salons or clinics, and Google is not really reliable enough, so before you make a booking, check how long the clinic has been operating, whether therapists are appropriately licensed and if there is a doctor or surgeon on the premises at all times as an extra precaution.
Needling is a great option for a fast, effective, fail-safe treatment for inducing collagen in a short-period of time. Minimally-invasive, non-surgical and non-ablative, Needling involves the use of a micro-needling device which methodically creates fine needle punctures in the skin, creating channels or micro-wound, explains Dr Koch. “This then triggers the body to fill these micro-wounds by producing new collagen and elastin in the papillary dermis,” she says, resulting in an increased look of plumpness eventuating during the recovery period.
If you suffer from scarring, needling – ironically as it sounds – may be the best option for you also. “This neovascularisation and neocollagenesis following treatment leads to reduction of scars and skin rejuvenation whilst improving skin texture, firmness and hydration,” explains Dr Koch.
Skin needling procedures are contraindicated for patients suffering from rosacea and blood clotting problems, poor wound healing, viral or bacterial infections and a history of keloid scarring, warns Dr Koch. “A good clinician will advise you on the topical ingredients to be used for prepping your skin at least two to five weeks prior to your treatment.”
Similar to Needling, Stamping is primarily designed to induce collagen production by stimulating it within the body via a micro-needling of the surface using a gliding ‘roller’ mechanism. Non-heat based, there is no burning or lasering of the skin at all during the treatment, making downtime minimal and redness only visible for 24-48 hours afterwards.
Stamping can be approached as an add-on to the Needling procedure to target delicate, isolated areas of concern including around the eyes, nose and lips. Furthermore, it has shown significant results in treating scarring and acne-scars also.
Stamping sounds painful. And it could be if your face is not thoroughly sterilized and numbed. If you feel any sensation that is uncomfortable, speak up for Gods sake, as the prep sterilization and numbing procedure is paramount to this treatment!
Feeding your face is the first step towards pausing the signs of time. With a healthy, hydrating diet comes healthy, hydrated skin. Fill your fridge with greens and Omega-3 foods, lots of lovely grains and nuts and avoid processed foods, charred meats and sugary confections. Additionally, an array of vitamins – such as Vitamin C – which has been shown in certain trials to stabilise collagen and increase the protein synthesis to aid the repair of damaged skin – and Silica (which also provides nutritional support for collagen formation) are important to promote healthy connective tissue.
Although it can’t hurt your collagen to take vimtains and supplements, the jury is still out on how helpful they are to heal it, notes Dr Hkeik. “Like most protein molecules they get broken down in the stomach before they reach your skin,” he explains. Theoretically, however, a pill – or several – a day is supposed to increase the production of collagen in the fibroblasts.
“If you have concerns about elasticity of your skin, include food rich in Lutein as we know they help promote collagen,” suggests Dr Hkeik. These include zucchini, kale, turnip greens, parsley and eggs.