Myth vs. Reality (essential Collagen)

I hear all the time how my patients use collagen skin care products, erroneously thinking or hoping that they will improve the quality of their skin. Unfortunately as good as this sounds it’s not exactly true. Imagine how easy it would be for everyone to look young and for the skin to look plump just like baby skin, if collagen infused products would actually work.collagen2

While those products might have some collagen in them, they simply will not do anything good for the skin, besides at the most provide it with some hydration. It’s as simple as that. Imagine that you’d take a broken bone and on top of it you’d set another bone. Would the initial bone become stronger and it would get fixed only because it touched the new bone we set on top? No. The new bone would fall off eventually and it would be somewhere next to the broken bone.

The same way it works with collagen. Collagen is a large molecule, which does not have the ability to penetrate into the skin or stick to the already existing collagen, so eventually it would be washed off and your skin would not be or feel any better.

In order to look younger and for the skin to look more plump and elastic, collagen (essential binding protein in your skin, joints, muscles and bones) growth has to be stimulated. The cells responsible for collagen growth and synthesis are called  fibroblast cells and they are found deep in the dermis (layer of the skin), which is impossible to reach with any creams ever invented.collagen

Some key ingredients and procedures that will help stimulate and synthesize your natural collagen are: Retinol and RetinA, Vitamin C, Growth Factors which have to be in a very concentrated number in your skin care product in order to work, Red Light Therapy, Chemical peels indirectly to some degree, Microneedling, ultrasound devices such as Ultherapy and Thermage and last but not least Radio Frequency also called RF. While some of these procedures are resurfacing for the skin, they also help stimulate indirectly our collagen and elastin by stimulating the skin’s cell turnover and also by forcing the skin to heal, after creating some intentional micro wounds.

I hope this helps you understand a little better the collagen myth and will help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing your skin care products and in office procedures.collagen3

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Have you heard about micro-needling?

Micro-needling or CIT (collagen induction therapy) is a rather new clinical skin care procedure, easy, non-invasive  and very effective in the treatment of acne scarring (and not only), lines and wrinkles, stretch marks, and overall improvement in the texture of your skin. All these conditions are lacking collagen or the collagen in those affected areas has been subsiding.

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The micro-needling procedure helps stimulate collagen production which helps reverse the formation and appearance of scars, wrinkles, and depressions in the skin such as stretch marks.

Micro-needling is almost pain free and it works by creating micro channels through the superficial layer of skin called epidermis, which triggers an intense inflammatory reaction that begins the remodeling of the affected skin, by stimulating the formation of new skin tissue. In a word, it works by stimulating what our bodies already do naturally, the wound healing. Scar-less healing is being promoted by the release of epidermal growth factors (found naturally in our skin), which help produce “healthy collagen”.

Our bodies have a natural ability to heal when they are wounded, by new formation of collagen. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies (mainly found in the skin, bones, muscles and connective tissue), which helps hold our bodies together, like a glue. As we grow older, the naturally produced collagen decreases, which is why we start supplementing, re-stimulating its growth, and replenishing it with the help of oral dietary supplements and also with devices such as ultrasound and/or micro-needling.

microneedling 2There are a few micro-needling devices on the market, for professional and also personal use at home. The one I prefer and work with is called Dermapen. Easy to use, safe and inexpensive, it creates thousands of micro-channels in the epidermis. The healing process after this procedure is only about 1-2 days and even though the collagen is going to be produced over a period of 6 weeks after the treatment, patients report that their skin starts looking healthier and glowing starting with the second day after the procedure.

The results are surprisingly amazing and often compared with laser, chemical peels and surgery results, while it is very cost effective.

microneedlingI recommend a series of 3-4 treatments 6 weeks apart. In between treatments it is OK to do regular facial treatments.

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