“He who dies with the most collagen, wins.”
-Larry Helwig, laser instructor with Sciton, Inc
Collagen. We’ve all heard of it. We even know it’s important in maintaining our skin’s youthful appearance. But what exactly is it? Collagen is a protein fiber that essentially holds everything up, keeping skin firm and elastic. It’s like the coils under your mattress. When it’s damaged, you begin to see sagging and wrinkling, leading your skin to lose its youthful appearance and glow. Collagen is damaged by unprotected sun exposure, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of proper skin care. Additionally, your body stops producing collagen naturally around the age of 25, so maintaining and protecting the collagen your body has previously manufactured is especially important. When your collagen is at its strongest, you see skin that is more resilient, fewer visible lines and wrinkles, tighter pores, and texture that is more evenly toned. There are steps you can take to not only protect your collagen, but to arouse further collagen growth. Read the steps below for five ways you can defend and stimulate your body’s collagen growth.
Step 1: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen!
Protecting your collagen can easily be compared to building a house. You can’t do anything until you build your foundation first, and the foundation to maintaining your body’s natural collagen is to start a strict SPF regimen. The sun is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to breaking down your collagen, but by cleansing, toning, and wearing a good daily SPF (Broad Spectrum SPF 30 or higher is recommended) you can help protect your collagen.
Step 2: Add In Retin-A To Your Daily Routine.
Building on top of your daily SPF regimen, you want to start adding a good Retin-A product to your daily routine. Retin-A is a Vitamin A derivative, which will give your collagen the nutrition it needs to stick around longer than those who go without. Retin-A creams come in different strengths, you can schedule a complimentary Skin Care Consultation with Betsy Moran, RN or Angela Goodwin, RN to see which strength would best suit your skin.
Step 3: Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a key ingredient in maintaining your nutrition and collagen levels. Vitamin C products contain high levels of antioxidants, which can boost your skin’s ability to protect itself both inside and out. The antioxidants found in Vitamin C are a key ingredient in manufacturing collagen growth, keeping your complexion plump and smooth. Obagi Medical carries a line of wonderful Vitamin C products available for purchase at the Plastic Surgery Center of Nashville.
Step 4: Chemical Peels and Laser Treatments
The SPF and Retin-A both help protect and stimulate the collagen in your skin, but just as important is boosting the stimulation of new collagen growth. Laser treatments, such as the Sciton Laser’s Profractional treatments, Micro-Laser Peel, or SkinTyte treatments penetrate deep below the skin’s surface to jump-start collagen development. Certain chemical peels can also be proactive in stimulating collagen growth. The VI Peel is a medium-depth peel that can provide exfoliation of old skin cells and encourage both skin and collagen growth.
Step 5: Surgical and Non-Surgical Options
For those that want to promote collagen growth without having surgery, Sculptra® injections are your best bet. Sculptra® injections, which achieve best results over the course of a year, are FDA approved to stimulate collagen growth. For more information about Sculptra®, please schedule your complimentary Skin Care Consultation with Betsy Moran, RN or Angela Goodwin, RN.
Surgical options include the CO2 laser treatments and facial rejuvenation surgeries, such as the facelift or fat injections. As with all plastic surgery, recommendations are based on your desired outcome, your current starting point, as well as your tolerance for downtime. Most surgical interventions do require more downtime. Please schedule a surgical consultation with Drs. Mary Gingrass and Melinda Haws to see which surgical options are best for you.