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The truth about collagen and the proven ways to rebuild it

Truth About Collagen, Skin Wellness

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By: Dr. Corey Hartman, Skin Wellness Dermatology

Did you know we lose 1% of collagen production every year? This loss of collagen is precisely why we develop wrinkles later in life, and why so many people are desperate to find ways to not only prevent this loss, but build it back. 

Of course, while one friend is adamant on the benefits of drinking collagen powder, you’re also curious about other, possibly more effective options, like microneedling. But if you’re looking to increase collagen production, prevent wrinkles, and keep your skin firm, plump and elastic, then we have the information you need. 

What every woman needs to know about collagen

Here, I’m going to go over exactly what you need to know about rebuilding collagen, from collagen induction therapy to creams and supplements, and even more importantly, how to prevent it from breaking down in the first place. 

How to prevent the breakdown of collagen

When it comes to collagen, our best line of defense is to prevent it from breaking down as we age, and this includes a good skincare regimen packed with both antioxidants and retinoids.

Why antioxidants? Free radicals increase the enzymes that break down the building blocks of the collagen, and that’s where an antioxidant is going to come into play. The whole point of an antioxidant is to scavenge up free radicals caused by sun exposure (hence the importance of sunscreen). If you stop the development of those free radicals, then you don’t have the monsters that are eating away at the collagen to begin with. 

Along those same lines, retinoids, which are made from vitamin A derivatives, are going to work to neutralize free radicals in the skin and reduce the breakdown of collagen. 

My other pieces of advice: drink water, stay hydrated, and don’t smoke. Smoking will degrade your collagen. You can be doing everything right, but if you’re smoking, you’re still doing five times more to destroy collagen than whatever you’re doing to create it.

Microneedling, or collagen induction therapy: How it works

Microneedling is one tried and true way to produce collagen, and it works by using tiny needles that create micropunctures to the skin, and through this, we’re able to stimulate collagen production. When you do this regularly, over time, you’re going to see fine lines and wrinkles disappear as well as an improved skin tone and texture as a result of this newly built collagen.

While this technique has been used for decades, the devices that we now have available make this one of the go-to treatments for those looking to rebuild collagen. 

Facial massages and other techniques: Do they work?

Is there something to these facial massages? Yes. Are they as dramatic as people say? Of course not. But they’re not hurting. There may be something to these facial rollers and other techniques, but they’re going to be an adjunct …to other treatments such as microneedling. 

It’s just like when you go to the physical therapist but still do exercises at home. Those exercises aren’t going to replace the physical therapist, just like these techniques aren’t going to replace your microneedling.

Collagen creams: The main ingredient

When you’re looking for a cream to rebuild collagen, you want to look for one with a higher concentration of hyaluronic acid. But keep in mind, many of the hyaluronic acid creams that have been available in the past only sit on the surface of the skin, and that’s not doing anyone any good. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of hyaluronic acid creams on the market that are getting better and better at delivering the active ingredient to the layer of skin where they’re actually going to be effective. 

Collagen supplements: Do they work?

Not that I’m a nay-sayer when it comes to ingesting collagen supplements, I just haven’t seen any science to support it. There is a lot of ongoing research, and I even recently attended a meeting where a colleague presented evidence that shows maybe there’s something to it. But at this point, there’s not enough to hang your hat on, and though I do keep an open mind, I tend to hang my hat on the things that we know are effective.

Collagen is the enemy of wrinkles. Luckily, not only can we take steps to prevent collagen breakdown, but we have quite a few proven options for building it back over time.

Learn more about building collagen from Skin Wellness Dermatology in Birmingham, AL

At Skin Wellness Dermatology of Alabama, we offer cutting-edge skincare and dermatology services to our patients in the Greater Birmingham area, including Hoover and Homewood. At our offices in Birmingham & Chelsea, AL, our certified dermatologists are here to listen to your concerns and offer the individualized, high level of patient care you seek. We believe in making care accessible and affordable, and we will go out of our way to accommodate your visit. Give us a call today at 205-871-7332