Knowing how collagen works is key to understanding the aging process. This important component of the skin ensures elasticity and firmness, and when it’s in short supply, these aspects suffer, and sagging skin and wrinkles start showing up as a result. The good news is that there are things you can do to help!
What Happens to Collagen as We Age?
Your body is constantly in the process of creating more collagen. So since we’re always producing more collagen, there shouldn’t really be any issue, right? Wrong! As we age, our collagen production slows down. Starting from about our mid-twenties onward, collagen production begins to slow. This can lead to fine lines, wrinkles, skin folds, and sagging.
How Can We Counteract This?
There are several ways to replenish collagen, with varying degrees of efficacy. However, each has its pros!
Taking collagen supplements and increasing collagen-rich foods: One way to replenish the body’s collagen is by taking collagen internally to ensure that it makes its way to the skin to help strengthen it and help it retain moisture. Collagen is best absorbed when you eat foods naturally rich in this nutrient. You can also opt for a supplement. Collagen supplements and foods have the added benefit of also helping your hair and nails. Other types of collagen supplements target joints and ligaments, which also make use of this necessary component and can suffer with age. A good all-around collagen supplement contains a few types.
Topical collagen: Another way to help replenish collagen is by applying creams and serums that contain it as an ingredient. These don’t work as well as other methods since collagen isn’t readily absorbed by the skin. But they do help by creating a barrier to retain moisture in the skin, thereby helping it look plumper and less wrinkled.
Encouraging collagen production: Finally, there is a way to get the skin to up its own production of collagen, kind of tackling the problem at its source. There are different devices and procedures that do this. For example, a procedure called PDO thread lifts uses “threads” with tiny barbs that pull skin upwards, giving it a lift. The threads are eventually absorbed by the body, but not before the skin is triggered to produce new collagen in the area.
Radiofrequency devices can also trigger collagen production in the skin, causing it to tighten, resulting in less fine lines and wrinkles. This procedure can be done by a healthcare professional, but there are even at-home tightening devices on the market that utilize radiofrequency to tighten skin, all from the comfort of your home. Another good option for triggering collagen production in the skin is microneedling. This anti-aging device is used to puncture the skin, creating hundreds of tiny wounds that the body then seeks to heal. In doing so, it ups its production of collagen.
So while slowed collagen production is pretty much a fact of life, it’s good to know that there are several ways you can counteract this! It’s recommended that you use a combination of methods: Make sure you’re taking a supplement and/or eating collagen-rich foods (like bone broth!), use a good facial cream or serum (whether it contains collagen or not), and get your body ramping up production by getting a tightening device you can use at home or by seeing a health care practitioner for some help!