What factors negatively impact collagen and how?
The common perception is that we age depending on our genes, however, DNA only contributes to around 10% of our overall ageing process! On average, 90% of skin ageing is based on our lifestyle, and this is why collagen is so important.
There are many factors that negatively impact our collagen (the skin’s protein, which keeps our skin young and plump).
A key negative factor is UVA, the ageing rays found in sunlight and other light sources 365 days of the year. UVA penetrates deep inside the skin and permanently damages the cells that make our collagen fibres. Another environmental stress that negatively effects collagen is pollution, just like UVA, pollution penetrates insides our skin through our pores and damages our collagen cells.
Another aggressive contributor to collagen cell death is sugar. Sugar breaks down the amino acid chain that supports the collagen fibres structure. This turns our collagen into stiff and brittle formations that can in fact make our wrinkles worse! Because of the sugar content in alcohol I’m afraid this also falls into this category!
Lack of sleep and stress also have a hugely negative impact on our collagen production. Without rest our collagen cells will not reproduce at the quality and speed that a well rested cells would.
The factor that we cannot change is the ageing process – unfortunately with age our collagen cell renewal slows down and eventually stops working all together, unless your skin is injured, like a cut or graze, this is the only way post menopause (for us ladies) that our collagen will reignite.
Age is something that we cannot change but most aspects of our lifestyle we can – which will have an incredible overall effect on how our collagen ages.
The image above is of a man who has been a lorry driver all of his life. One side of his face has been severely affected by the sun shining through his drivers side window where the other side of his face was always in the shade. He never wore sunscreen and you can physically see the damage and the acceleration of ageing on his face from the UV rays.
Is it true that the more collagen you have, the easier it is to maintain and even improve how collagen works?
It is true that the more collagen you have the easier it is to maintain! If we can keep the collagen that we have alive and strong the better we will age. I explain it to my clients that collagen is like scaffolding within the skin, collagen is our support structure, keeping everything strong and in place, so if you’re looking to stay young and plump you will need to make stimulating new collagen and protecting your current collagen your focus.
Why do we start to lose collagen as we age? Are there ways to slow this down?
Did you know that once the Menopause hits – your body ceases production of collagen altogether! So that stuff that keeps our skin looking young, radiant and healthy… is not produced anymore!! Very sad news for us ladies! And genetically, regardless of lifestyle, we lose 1% of our natural collagen production every year from the age of 18 – this includes you gents too!
These are my top tips of the very best ways to slow the ageing process down and keep those precious collagen cells awake and alive.
First of all you MUST protect your skin with a broad spectrum, physical (not chemical) daily sunscreen. This will protect your collagen from damaging UVA, UVB and pollution. It doesn’t sound sexy I know, but there is absolutely no point in stimulating new collagen if we are not adequately protecting the cells that we already have.
The next step depending on skin type (and professional advice) is that we should all be using a Vitamin C serum during the day, to protect and stimulate new collagen cells and a retinol and peptide serum at night to seriously regenerate new skin and to reverse the ageing process. On that note, skincare products are not all born equal – so make sure you do your research and speak a skin care professional for advise.
And my last tip for those dedicated to reigniting and renewing collagen is to seek a professional treatment. I work a lot with laser treatment and HIFU to give my clients the next level of collagen renewal simulating the cells from the inside out. Again, please move forward with caution and do your research before undertaking a professional treatment.
My final note is they say that there is good news for all – with a bit of thought and care we really can make a tremendous difference to how our collagen works.