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What is Collagen? 

Collagen is an abundant structure-providing protein in the human body, important to the scaffolding of our skin. Housed in the Dermis, (the mid layer of our skin) collagen makes up part of the Dermis’ extracellular matrix, allowing our skin to be firm, full and have bounce back.  

 


The breakdown of Collagen.

Ageing can be broken down into two categories. The first being the constant, something that we cannot alter. The second being the variant, which we can work to minimise the effects of over our lifespan.

The constant: Intrinsic ageing. This is determined by an individual’s genetic makeup. It is a simple part of nature that as we age, like the other systems that comprise our skin, our production of collagen will slow too, resulting in less structural integrity and support in our skin. 

 The variant: Extrinsic ageing. This is determined by the external factors that an individual is exposed to. Gravity. UV exposure. Pollutants. Lifestyle choices. Topically and internally applied products. Stress & fatigue to name a few. 

Factors such as these that are responsible for extrinsic ageing,  stimulate an enzyme ‘Collagenase’ to break down collagen fibres in the skin at a more rapid rate than nature intends. This sped up process will also affect the overall function of our Fibroblast cell, which is responsible for the production of Collagen, Elastin fibres and glycosaminoglycans such as Hyaloronic acid.

Think of your skin like a mattress. A brand new mattress will have strong springs that give structure and firmness to the mattress but also allow for bounce, this can be compared to the collagen and elastin fibres in our skin. Fluffy, dense stuffing within a mattress will allow for volume, Our extracellular matrix full of glycosaminoglycans, water and proteins is similar in this way, providing our skin with volume and fullness.

Our aim is to manage the signs of ageing, and promote the production of these things for as long as genetically capable. Our aim is not to stop ageing.

 

Topical application.

Collagen peptides are commonly found in cosmetics, and whilst we can work to enhance and optimise the function of our collagen-producing cells through skincare, collagen peptides applied topically will not penetrate the skin and therefore will not make our skin produce more collagen. Collagen peptides, much like Hyaloronic acid, have a molecular structure that is far too large to penetrate the skin, so whilst they will provide moisture to the surface, that is as far as their benefit will reach. Unfortunately, peptides are also very unstable, so the efficacy of these in products can't always be assured.

 

Collagen supplements.

The great debate on ingesting collagen by means of supplementation, and whether or not this is beneficial for our skin and bone density is still out. HOWEVER, nutrients that will aid us in producing our own collagen include the following and these can be beneficial when part of our daily diet.  

  • Foods high in Proline (a group of amino acids essential to the production of collagen)  = Egg whites, cabbage, mushrooms, asparagus, 
  • Foods high in Vitamin C = Citrus fruits, capsicum. 
  • Foods high in Zinc = Lentils, beans, chickpeas, cheeses, nuts, seeds
  • Foods high in Copper = organic meats, cocoa powder, cashews, sesame seeds

Collagen does not make collagen. Collagen is broken down in the body into amino acids. These amino acids then produce collagen in the body. If we are deficient in our essential amino acids, this will ultimately also affect the production of collagen and thus can impact our skin's structural integrity.

  

Collagen inducing treatments.

Micro needling.

Micro needling is the number one treatment worldwide for skin rejuvenation. It utilises the bodys own natural healing mechanisms, the process is safe, simple and effective. Plus the results are natural. Skin needling can treat an incredibly large variety of skin conditions and each treatment has the ability to make the skin stronger, healthier and appear younger. In addition to this, it is very low risk, can be used on all clients, requires no downtime and respects the health and integrity of your skin at all times.

One key benefit from skin needling is the stimulation of growth factors within cells. When performing dermal needling, Fgf (Fibroblast Growth Factor) is released resulting in increased collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production from 1-3 days post-treatment, right up to 2 years post-treatment. Bare in mind that not all skin needling devices or practitioners will have the capacity to provide these benefits, so please do your research and invest in a skin revision specialist that you trust!

 

Enzyme therapy.

Enzyme Therapy is a signature DMK treatment. DMK is the only company in the world to utilise the beneficial effects of transfer messenger enzymes, working to revise the skin to function as a young, healthy skin would. This is achieved by process of encouraging blood circulation, oxygenation and lymphatic drainage, while simultaneously, through reverse osmosis, helping to flush away toxins and free radicals to stimulate collagen production. 

 

LED Light Therapy.

Proudly used in studio at The Lab, Healite II is a new, non invasive concept to maximise facial rejuvenation  by working with the body's own processes. It stimulates naturally occuring regeneration and repair processes of the skin.

Photobiostimulation (a concept of rejuvenation that works on cellular activities) is a direct action from the light on the cells that boosts the production of collagen and elastin.

Pain free and safe for all skins, Healite II is incredibly healing and will improve inflammation, redness and acne problems, pore size, rosacea and reduce the signs caused by the natural ageing process.

 

 

Our bodies will only produce and maintain as much collagen as they are individually, genetically designed to. We can aid our bodies in reaching their full potential of collagen production, and upregulate this production, through diet, rest, movement etc. However for someone who is genetically susceptible to collagen degradation, loss will still happen at the same rate. This is a prime example of intrinsic ageing. Keep in mind, that collagen, or the degradation of it, is not the sole factor associated with ageing. Ageing is defined as the gradual deterioration and eventual death of cellular function inclusive of not only our Fibroblast cell but also things like our stem cells, keratinocytes, Langerhans cells, Melanocytes and so many others.

To revise skin, is to bring it back to the way it is supposed to be by nature.

By controlling the variables, and providing our cells with the nutrients they need, we allow our skin, as a system, to function optimally and at its healthiest for as long as it is genetically capable. 

 

For more education, our experienced skin specialists at The Lab offer in-studio and virtual skin consultations jam packed with in-depth but chill skin science education, product & treatment recommendations, program planning, and of course mass amounts of chill time.  

Online bookings available.   

 

Written by Hannah Corcoran
Skin specialist & Cosmetic Tattooist.
Co-boss lady of The Lab.
Owner & Founder of Haus of Cosmetic Tattoo.
skin@the-lab.com.au
www.the-lab.com.au

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