Skin Care

Collagen across the ages

Collagen has been the buzzword in the skincare industry for quite some time now. But do you know what collagen is? And why your skin needs it? Don’t worry if you don’t! Read on to know more about collagen and how you can ensure your skin never runs out of it!

What exactly is collagen?

Collagen is a fibrous protein consisting of several amino acids. It is synthesised by cells located in the dermis, called fibroblasts. The fibres fit together in a network to support the tissues. There are around five types of collagen, which represent 80% of the connective tissue of the body. Parallel to these, there are also elastin fibres manufactured by the body, which are more specifically responsible for elasticity.

How is collagen renewed?

The renewal of collagen is constant because it has a limited lifespan. Certain enzymes, called collagenases, break down the fibres into little pieces to eliminate them in order to replace them with new, young fibres. These are the enzymes that regulate the renewal of collagen by sending out cellular signals to the fibroblasts to encourage them to produce more. This auto-regulating mechanism between the production of fibres and manufacturing cells is very sophisticated but, over the years, it diminishes and runs out. The renewal decreases, the fibres are of a lower quality and skin loses its firmness. Damn!

What slows down collagen production?

The slow loss of collagen production is inevitable, but it's also important to know that UV rays agitate the fibres and accelerate the degeneration of the skin's support tissue. Scientists reckon that radiation is responsible for 70% of skin ageing. Hence the explosion of day creams with solar filters and anti-pollution compounds.

How can you restore your skin’s collagen levels?

Cosmetic creams containing collagenous ingredients can help. These are often small active molecules (procollagen, marine or vegetable collagen), which stimulate the fibroblasts to encourage them to produce more and of better quality. Also, hyaluronic acid injections, to reduce wrinkles and fill out the face, replace the loss of substance to the skin and locally stimulate the fibroblasts to secrete more collagen fibres. Photo-rejuvenation treatments at the dermatologist, such as facial massages, also stimulate fibroblasts.