Collagen: The low-down

Collagen is one of those buzzwords that is frequently circulated in the beauty world. You can see it emblazoned on skincare packaging or evangelised in magazines – not to mention spoken about in an advert’s science voice-over.

Yes, you will almost certainly have been exposed to the term, but do you know what it means? Or why it is important for your complexion? Technological and scientific advancements mean the way you look after your skin is constantly being revised and refined. And with each new breakthrough comes a new set of complicated terms, must-have products and cult treatments.

At Marlene’s clinic, we recognise how confusing the beauty industry must be to someone who just wants a no-nonsense, wholesome path to good skin. In an attempt to de-mystify and uncomplicate everything, we’re starting a glossary of beauty words you need to know. If we haven’t mentioned it, you don’t need to worry about it. Simple. First up: collagen.

So, what exactly is collagen?

Collagen is the scaffolding that holds your skin together. It is a structural protein – one of the most abundant proteins in the human body – and can be found in muscles, bones, blood vessels, tendons, the digestive system and, of course, skin. It is what helps our muscles to bend and stretch and our complexion to stay supple.

Why does our skin need it?

Collagen is often referred to as the ‘building block’ of the skin. It is jam-packed with all the amino acids needed to strengthen connective tissue. In practical terms, collagen is what gives skin its elasticity, bounce and youthful perkiness. 

And why do we lose collagen as we age?

As we get older, our body’s production of collagen slows down. Not only that, the high levels of free radicals we come in contact with on a daily basis can actually destroy any collagen present. So, smoking, pollution and sun exposure can all accelerate the natural deterioration of collagen.  For our complexions, this means that skin starts to sag, and wrinkles start to form. Imagine a tennis net that was once taut and now hangs limply. That is what is happening to our skin’s structure internally.

Is it possible to boost collagen levels?

Yes, it is possible to ‘trick’ the skin into producing more collagen. Whenever the body suffers an injury or trauma, its natural response is to produce more collagen to aid healing. Creating teeny-tiny punctures on the face (through micro-needling or facial acupuncture) stimulates this organic rejuvenation cycle. That helps to produce collagen while bulking up your anti-oxidant intake helps to prevent it being destroyed.

If you want more information on collagen, or the many treatments Marlene offers to bolster it, contact the clinic today.