Collagen – What is it and why we are so desperately trying to hang onto it!
We’ve all seen the statistic, when we reach our 20’s the amount of collagen we have begins decreasing by 1% every year. If that’s not the most depressing fact you’ve ever read here’s another – we also lose around 30% of our collagen in the first 5 years after menopause!
What is collagen and why do we need it?
Collagen is one of the most important proteins in the body and is the building block for bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue. We have many different types of collagen in our bodies but when it comes to our skin Type 1 and 3 collagen are the key components.
So what does Collagen do to our skin?
We mainly find collagen in the dermis where it gives the skin strength , flexibility and elasticity – increasing skin resilience and preventing sagging. It is essential for younger looking, bouncy and resilient skin. It is essential for wound healing, be that a large cut or smaller wounds from facial treatments such as microneedling.
Microneedling increases the production of collagen and other healing factors by causing trauma to the skin. This triggers your body’s wound healing processes to heal your micro wounds immediately. However the most dramatic results will not be visible until four to six weeks after treatment. It takes roughly this long for your body to create new, strong, healthy collagen.
What factors affect our collagen?
- The amount and quality of our collagen is affected by ageing and extrinsic factors such as uv exposure, smoking, sugar intake and stress.
- Uv exposure leads to the production of reactive oxygen species which damages collagen and accelerates ageing.
- Chemicals in cigarette smoke damage collagen and elastin. Nicotine also narrows blood vessels which decreases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to the skin.
- Collagen can also be damaged by a diet high in sugar. Glucose attaches to proteins in the skin, such as collagen and elastin, this is known as glycation and it results in weak, fragile collagen.
- Chronic stress increases our levels of cortisol which decreases the production of collagen as well as abnormal, weak collagen.