One of the things I am often asked is if collagen can do anything when applied to the skin.
The short answer is: No.
The most you can hope for is a temporary improvement in the appearance and texture of your skin. The collagen molecule is too big to penetrate the epidermis so using collagen creams and lotions will provide a temporary and superficial effect only, which halts the moment you stop using the product. For lasting results one needs to stimulate collagen production in one’s own skin and therein lies the key.
To understand what collagen is, we also need to look at elastin, where they come from, how they differ, look at how they work in unison in the skin and why they are so vital in the fight against premature ageing.
Collagen and elastin are both manufactured by cells in our dermis called fibroblasts and they work in synergy to provide support and elasticity to our skins. They are types of connective tissue though they are different types of proteins. Collagen provides a more supportive and connective function and is found in structures like tendons, bones, the eye and the skin. Elastin gives elasticity to structures like arterial walls, intestines and of course, the skin and enables those structures to ‘bounce back’ after being stretched or contracted. So while collagen provides strength and support to the skin, elastin provides the movement network around the collagen and gives skin it’s supple nature.
As we age collagen and elastin production decreases. How quickly depends on a number of intrinsic (internal or genetic) and extrinsic (external or environmental) factors.
The slowing down of the fibroblast cells means that less new collagen and elastin is manufactured to keep the skin firm and supple. If you cannot push the collagen molecule into the skin, we need to provide the tools with which our skin can manufacture it’s own collagen and elastin and keep our skins firm, supple and youthful.
Among those ingredients are things like L-Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), Hyaluronic acid, peptides, Vitamin A and alpha hydroxy acids.
L-Ascorbic acid, which must be in a stable long release form, has been shown to stimulate collagen in adults to the levels of that of a new born child.
Hyaluronic acid is an exceptionally powerful water holding molecule and is essential to skin functioning, cell proliferation and overall systemic health in humans. Exposure to UVB rays significantly disrupts hyaluron production in the skin. Hyaluronic acid provides moisture to the skin at cellular level and hydrated skin is skin that works efficiently.
Peptides have been shown to be instrumental in the body’s response to wound healing and increasing the skin’s ability to produce collagen.
Retinoic acid is the most stable form of vitamin A. Vitamin A has a long and well documented history in skin care and has been shown to significantly stimulate cell proliferation (cell turnover). Isotretinoin, vitamin A in oral form, is still the best treatment for acne. Vitamin A in it’s many forms remains a powerful ally in the fight against ageing.
*Lamelle’s RA cream has been shown to lift elastosis (broken elastin fibres which look like white bumps under the epidermis) out of the skin and repair YEARS of damage and prepares the skin to be ‘fixed’.
Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs have a profound effect on epidermal cells and keratinisation, whereby they dissolve the bonds between corneocytes and speed up cell turnover, which means that dead cells are shed more speedily revealing a healthier and more youthful skin.
The work of AHAs is not confined to the epidermis however, biopsies show increased amounts of collagen production without inflammation. It is worth noting that inflammation is a key factor in the development of acne and hyper pigmentation.
AHAs are a key ingredient in chemical peels and these should NEVER be undertaken by anyone other than a trained professional or you run the risk of causing irreversible damage to your skin.
So with all of this in mind, choose your skin care products wisely. Using products off the shelf is money down the toilet as only 0.08% of the product is being used by your skin. Professional products increase penetration exponentially which translates to visible and lasting results that you can see.
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