Collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and helps comprise our bones, muscles, tendons, and cartilage. It is also widely present throughout our skin and is responsible for the firmness and elastic nature of healthy skin tissue. As we age, levels of skin collagen begin to diminish, resulting in signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity. However, by boosting the production of new collagen, we can delay these effects and even reverse many of the skin woes we commonly experience as we get older.
The Importance of Skin Nutrition for Collagen Production
We all know that what we eat has a tremendous effect on our physical appearance, energy levels, mood, and overall health. The same is true of skin nutrition. The substances we apply to the outermost layer of our skin influence the inner functions of the dermis and serve to either improve or harm skin health.
Understanding your skin’s unique needs can be challenging, and speaking with a trusted skincare professional can greatly improve your knowledge of the specific products that will help maintain and support your best complexion. However, there are a few universal truths that apply to us all. One of those truths is that more collagen in the skin equals smoother, more radiant, and more youthful skin texture.
Active Skincare Ingredients for Boosting Collagen
While decreased production of collagen naturally occurs in our skin as we age, there are a few active skincare ingredients that have been shown to encourage new collagen synthesis. For example, the combination of vitamins C and A has a terrific effect. Vitamin C deficiency is known to impair collagen synthesis. Topical use of vitamin C will promote collagen synthesis.The topical use of vitamin A (commonly known as retinol or retinoic acid) has been proven in clinical studiesto stimulate new collagen synthesis at much higher rates than without.
Vitamin A is found in retinoid skincare products. There is a retinoid for most skin types and skin concerns, and they will improve collagen. Retinol 5 and Bright Complex are two products under the clara by Vanguard brand that include retinol (Retinol 5) and Hydroxy pinacolone retinoate or HPR (Bright Complex). HPR is an advanced retinoic acid that provides retinoid benefits with less irritation.
Hyaluronic acid is another active ingredient that displays collagen boosting properties. This ingredient is often used in dermal fillers due to its ability to plump the skin and improve elasticity. Hyaluronic acid achieves these results because it is a hydrophilic molecule. Hyaluronic acid attracts and binds up to 1,000 times its molecular weight in water, thereby reducing trans epidermal water loss to keep the skin firm.
Lastly, antioxidant ingredients boost collagen growth by protecting the skin from free radicals, environmental stressors, and premature aging. Applied topically, antioxidant products have a similar health benefit to ingested antioxidants. Some antioxidants penetrate the skin better than others, and two of the most effectively used in skincare products are vitamin C (listed above as a cofactor of collagen synthesis) and vitamin E (which is particularly good at disabling free radicals and has been linked to tissue repair).
Advancements in skin treatments have made it possible to enhance the penetration of active ingredients such as vitamin C. Predictive Permeation Devices are FDA-approved to use energy to “push” ingredients into the skin. This deeper level of product penetration means the skin can utilize the collagen building benefits of vitamin C for up to 30 days.TheCollagenizer treatment at clara is a predictive permeation device treatment.
Protecting Collagen with Daily Sunscreen Use
Another way to boost collagen growth is to protect your skin with daily sunscreen application. The use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen will safeguard your skin from UVA, UVB, blue light, and visible light. As sun exposure contributes to high rates of collagen impairment, prevention can go a long way in reducing the effects of premature aging.
Sunscreens with the ingredient zinc oxide provide broad-spectrum protection. VanguardMD Pure-Tinted SPF 44 and clara by Vanguard’s UV Luxe SPF 40 are good options for broad-spectrum protection for sensitive or post-procedure skin, as they are comprised of all mineral ingredients.
Diet and Lifestyle Choices for Healthy Collagen Production
Lastly, it is always important to pair your skincare practices with healthy lifestyle choices to improve results. For instance, drinking plenty of water, abstaining from tobacco use, limiting exposure to harsh chemicals, avoiding foods known to cause inflammation, and increasing rates of exercise can all affect collagen levels in the skin and throughout various other areas of our bodies.
To learn more about boosting collagen or to schedule an appointment with one of our Vanguard Skin Specialists team members, call us today at 719-355-1585 or fill out our online appointment request form.